Now that we have been home for a week, I have had some time to reflect on our honeymoon and all of the ups and downs of traveling to the other side of the planet after the craziest six months of our lives. But before I go into the details, permit me to say what this post is NOT: It’s not about sex. Let’s just get that out of the way. I know that is what people think the honeymoon is about, but that is not the post I am writing today. I will write a sex post one day, when it is honoring to both my husband and to our marriage, but today is not that day.
So, if you are still reading, please allow me to indulge in some of the quirky, fun, difficult, inconvenient, and delightful moments that made our honeymoon incredible. There may even be a few tips in here that could help those of you planning your own trips.
We knew where we wanted to go for our honeymoon immediately. During our first date, I asked Tim where he would go right then if he could visit anywhere in the world, and he asked me to answer as well. We both said The Mediterranean, so we searched for options to see as much of it as possible for our honeymoon. After quite a bit of research, we decided to book a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines that would take us to several Greek Islands, Malta, and two stops in Italy as well. Neither of us had ever been to these places, so this would truly be a new adventure together. We thought it would be a good idea to book our flights first, then wait to book the cruise since we had been told prices drop the closer the sailing date gets. We booked flights through AirCanada and ended up booking our cruise sooner than planned because it was selling out. While we highly recommend Norwegian Cruise Lines (more on this later), we also recommended booking a few months early to ensure you get what you want.
Now, I want to share with you another important tip for your honeymoon, or any other plans you may have to travel with your significant other. I purchased a gift for Tim before we left for our honeymoon, and I am so glad that I did. It wasn’t lingerie, nor was it something he could eat or wear or use on his own. It was Poo-Pourri, and it was probably one of the best gifts I have ever given. Think of it this way: you are newly married, and up to this point, you have worked really hard to hide or at least camouflage most forms of unpleasant bodily functions and odors. Yet, you begin to realize that you are about to share a small stateroom with your love where the bathroom is IN the bedroom. You are traveling to Europe to see new things and try new foods, and both of you have somewhat sensitive stomachs. What is going to happen when one and or both of you have to visit the porcelain throne at the same time? Well, you prepare. And friends, I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who is about to travel with another human being, especially one for whom you care.
Once our travel was booked, and I had ensured that we wouldn’t kill each other with our bowel movements, were able to breathe a little and focus on what we wanted to see once we arrived in each port. Tim’s parents gifted us two shore excursions as a wedding gift, so we were looking forward to spending a day at The Acropolis in Athens, Greece and a day at the Pompeii excavation site in Naples, Italy. I wanted to experience at least one beach, so Tim and I booked a transport to the beach in Valetta, Malta as well. We decided to just wander the other cities at our own leisure, and I did research ahead of time to make sure we would at least have some idea where to go once we got off the boat.
This was a GREAT idea. We stumbled into so many local shops, cafes, and restaurants by exploring on our own. We did this in Mykonos, Santorini, and Rhodes, Greece and in Messina and part of Naples as well.
We decided to leave for our honeymoon a few days after our wedding, and I am so glad we did this. We returned to Orlando the day after our wedding and went to church and brunch the next day just to have a little bit of “married life” time. I was able to do laundry, pack, make bank runs, and pull all of the details together. Tim returned to work that Monday and Tuesday, and we flew out on Wednesday. Here we are bright eyed and bushy tailed before our first flight from Orlando to Montreal:
We had no idea what we were in for at this point! We just knew were newly married, stupid in love, and ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Unfortunately we nearly missed our honeymoon cruise due to an un-communicated six hour delay on AirCanada’s part. I won’t go into all of the details here, but we had horrible experience after horrible experience with AirCanada and will never fly with them again. By the time we arrived in Rome, we had been awake for over 30 hours and we were angry, hungry, tired, cranky, and completely stressing out over whether we would make it to the boat on time. We had to be on the boat by 3:00pm and we landed at 2:40pm. The port in Civitaveccia is a good hour drive from the Fiumicino Rome airport, but we were told that if we could get on the cruise line’s transport van after customs, the boat would hold for us. We connected with other cruise passengers on our flight (because there is power in numbers) and navigated through Italian customs only to find out the cruise line transport was full and could not take us. Tim’s parents had also graciously hired a driver for us in case we needed it, and we did. Our driver with GroundLink, Samuele, was absolutely determined to get us to out boat before it disembarked, and man did he pull through! At one point I checked the speedometer in his Mercedes and saw we were flying through the Roman countryside at 180 kilometers per hour. We arrived at port at 3:40, checked in, dumped our carry on bags in our stateroom, and scurried into the mandatory safety training on the boat just in time to see the boat pull away from port.
We had just enough energy to enjoy a cocktail by the pool, eat some dinner, and then we proceeded to sleep for about 14 hours. Thankfully, our first day was at sea so we didn’t miss any port stops. A day later, we arrived in Mykonos, a Greek island I have been dying to see for years. This was one of the smaller islands we decided to just explore on our own, and we are so happy we did. We saw all of the better known sites, but we also wandered into a shop owned by an older Greek woman who took over ownership of the shop from her mother, who opened it during the 1940s. It is called Ionna’s Knitworks, and the family makes linen clothes for men and women by hand. Tim purchased a beautiful blue linen shirt, and I picked out a coral pink linen dress. We hugged and talked to the owner for a while, and I am kicking myself for not taking a picture with her. After that we found our way to the Mykonos windmills, Little Venice, and enjoyed a light lunch just steps from the Aegean Sea.
After Mykonos, we made our way to Athens. Tim has had his eyes and heart on Athens to visit the Acropolis for quite some time now. While we were not really sure what to expect, I had done a little research to find out how to prepare. My mom helped me order two hard-sided Brita water bottles (32oz) with included filters and these saved us hundreds of dollars (we did the math) on water over the course of our trip. I had also purchased a thin, under-the-shirt money pouch to prevent theft. Both were indispensable our trip. The day we were in Athens, the thermostat read 109 degrees Fahrenheit and we felt every bit of it as we rode a bus through the city and hiked up to the top of the Athenian Acropolis to see the Parthenon and other remaining Greek temples there. Afterwards, when we had rehydrated at least half of our brain cells, we enjoyed a light lunch in the Plaka and shopped a little as well.
We took over one thousand photos and I want to share so much more. For now, stay tuned for The Honeymoon Blog, Part 2 which includes our stops in Santorini, Rhodes, Malta, Sicily, and Naples…as well as the game show I entered us in, which has now lead to Tim revoking my privileges of ever entering us into anything ever again.