Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

As the grappa flowed freely, the members of a wedding party stripped down to climb into the hot tub.

Annie Palovcik

Sometimes things don't go as planned – and those moments often make for the best stories. Tripping columns offer readers a chance to share their wild adventures from the road.

How did my wife and I end up sharing stiff drinks in a hot tub with a bunch of nearly naked Italians?

It happened on the Italian Riviera, not long after booking into Punta Est, an elegant boutique hotel overlooking Finale Ligure.

Story continues below advertisement

The place was buzzing with people, all dressed to the nines, milling around with glasses of wine and nibbling on hors d'oeuvre. A wedding reception was just beginning.

After settling into our room, we mixed and mingled and got the lowdown: The petite, dark-haired bride was from a prominent family that lived nearby. The groom was a tall young German who was studying at Oxford.

Exploring the hotel grounds, we discovered a large natural limestone cave with stalactites and flowing water. It had been turned into a spa of sorts called the Grotto, with lounges, subdued lighting and a huge wooden hot tub.

Later that day we put on bathing suits and headed for a soak. But the tub was occupied. Already well into their ablutions were five young Italians in their late teens or early 20s. Two were sisters of the bride, and one perhaps a brother. Two others were boyfriends of the sisters.

Fortunately, they welcomed us to join them. They had brought a large bottle of homemade grappa, a powerful drink distilled from local wine, and offered us big juice glasses of the stuff. We accepted and were quickly halfway plastered ourselves. What was not to like?

Then an uncle of the bride arrived to see what the young folks were up to.

They raised their glasses, began calling his name and dared him to come in. He hesitated, but eventually undid his bow tie and stripped down. Folding his dress clothes over a chair, in he climbed wearing just his underpants. We realized then that the others, too, were only in underwear.

Story continues below advertisement

Then came the mother of the bride. "Ma-ma, ma-ma," the sisters chanted and began clapping their hands. "Oh, no, I couldn't," she objected in Italian, but her daughters kept calling, "Ma-ma, ma-ma." She, too, quickly undressed and stepped in, clad only in bra and panties, and accepted a glass of the grappa.

Finally, the father of the bride showed up in his tuxedo. "Pa-pa, pa-pa," the chanting and clapping began. Well, with his wife and brother already committed, how could he resist? He did not.

Adding all these extra bodies, the water level rose. And with the drinking, so did the revelry.

But all good things must end. And the Italians had brought no change of underwear. They patted themselves dry with towels as best they could, got back into their finery and went up to dine.

We sank back into the water, chuckling. What would the German in-laws think when they noticed the soggy clothes? Would they have second thoughts about the family and country they were linking themselves to so closely?

Kind of like the European Union today.

Story continues below advertisement

Share your 500-word travel adventure with us. Please send it to travel@globeandmail.com.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies