Our Honeymoon Around The World!
In case you missed this one, I’m linking our honeymoon video for ya! We were just learning how to work our new GoPro and GoPro Stabilizer on the honeymoon, but the quality still turned out pretty good!
We left the day after our wedding in 2017 (I was very hungover from the night before so I slept for the 3 hour trek from our wedding venue to Los Angeles International Airport. From there, we had a 12 hour overnight, direct flight to London, a layover for breakfast, and another 3 hours until we landed at our first destination: Athens, Greece. In Athens, we stayed in a boutique, small hotel with super simplistic but comfortable rooms, in a nice part of town, so while we weren’t in the middle of the city, we could Uber most places or walk around close to our hotel. We started the trip with a nap, headed out for dinner, realized no one spoke English really, but fumbled our way through ordering and paying for food. We paid for most things with a credit card that did not have international transaction fees (highly recommend) and it cut down on the cash we needed to actually take places. You just have to make your credit card company aware of your travel plans so they don’t deny all the transactions. We went back to the hotel and slept about six hours, waking up at 4 AM. Let me tell you, NOTHING is awake or alive at 4 AM in Europe, so book a hotel that has 24 hour snacks available, like ours did. We were able to get some work in during these wee hours of the morning, so we would usually end up having coffee and snacks in the cute little cafe area downstairs in our hotel, which was perfect, because Athens was a 10 hour time difference from California, so we were able to FaceTime friends and email or call the office to check in when we woke up that early, and it was the evening before in California.
We would get ready and head out of the hotel as soon as the sun peaked out, around 7 AM each morning. We paid for access to a hop on, hop off bus tour all over the city, which we loved, and go to see 90% of the city this way. We first visited the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and got to see some of the oldest ruins in history, finely preserved. We took the bus to the Acropolis Museum and hiked up tot he top of the hill where the Acropolis, Parthenon, and Odeon of Herodes Atticus are all located (easy hike for most, totally worth it too). They actually still hold outdoor concerts in the evening at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and this was the true birthplace of democracy! We hiked back down, went through the museum, and jumped on the bus to the Temple of Olympian Zeus since it was close. We had lunch, and went back tot he hotel for a 4-6 hour nap after lunch daily. We tried to get out of the double naps schedule, but honestly, it was amazing, and gave us a break in the day that we really needed! We’d wake up in the evenings, fine a highly rated place to eat dinner, and head out again. It’s customary for Greek people to eat dinner between 9-11 PM, and to stay out drinking or socializing until 2 AM or so. We decided to follow customs and eat late, stay out until we were exhausted, and “sleep in” until a cool 6 AM the next day. The following day we took a train-type vehicle to 300 meters above sea level to have breakfast and coffee atop Mount Lycabettus. We hopped back on the bus afterwards and rode to Athenas Street where there was a daily fresh market of EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE! Fresh herbs and spices, cheese, pasta, olives (keep in mind, these were all separate family-owned shops too, so it was pretty mindblowing!), a meat market, fish market, and all the characters you can imagine! People watching was a true treat. The Greek people were insanely kind and offered us food and drink at every turn, commenting that we were American and ‘needed to try good food’ (always with a smile). We walked into a liquor store where one lady came up to me and said, “You’re American! I can tell!”. I asked how and she said “You smile. Europeans do not smile when we make eye contact. Also your hair. Blonde is rare in Greece”. I laughed and we chatted a bit, and she offered us some of their flavored liquors. Well… we were there a while, and my feet hurt pretty bad at the time. I will say, when we left (3 bottles heavier), my feet felt great! We popped next door for some olives, cheese, and fresh salami and jumped back on the bus to head to the Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first Olympic games in 1896. We spent the next day seeing most other sites from the bus as we wanted to make a full loop around the city, eating, and shopping.
The following day we took a 3 hour plane ride over to Rome, Italy! We landed relatively early in the day, but the streets were so compact and crowded that it took hours to get to our hotel, right in the hub of Rome and just a 40 minute walk from the Colosseum. Our hotel was SO fancy, and we were given champagne and treats at check in. We at some pizza, explored the surrounding area around our hotel, and around nightfall we got some absolutely AMAZING dinner at a restaurant around 8 PM (thank god the Italians ate a little earlier in the day). That night, we made the hour and a half or more round trip walk to the Colosseum to see it at night, and I am SO glad we did. There was music and young people all around, it was just a perfect little date night. We headed back to the hotel for some rest, so we could hit the ground running the next day. We woke and ate breakfast in the hotel (another money saving recommendation) and retrieved our tickets for the hop on, hop off bus in Rome. We toured the Colosseum after buying tickets that allowed us entry quicker, otherwise we would have been there all day! We got in and out, self guided tour status, and hopped back on the bus to St. Peter’s Basilisca (even if you’re not religious, this was truly a treat). We took the bus to the center of town and set out on foot after that. Most small sites like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, and St. Peter’s Square were accessible by walking only. We spent the next day in Vatican City and toured the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, which was truly breathtaking. After leaving Vatican City, we gawked at Castel Sant’Angelo from outside, but didn’t have time to tour it. We scheduled an intimate river boat dinner date in the evening and drank and ate until our heart’s content!
The next day was a train travel day to Florence, Italy! Their high speed trains are fabulously comfortable, and quite an experience for a Central Valley California couple! This hotel had some history and class! We got, yet another, bottle of champagne in our room and we were nestled in a mess of loops and twists within the city, so our room was quiet! YAY! We set up last minute dinner reservations at La Buchetta, where the owner, Italian Jon Hamm (as we like to call him), took amazing care of us. We ate some of the most delicious food we’ve EVER tasted, drank wines recommended by the owner, and then ended up hammered when the waiter set the entire bottle of limoncello on our table and asked us to finish it off for him. It was free, it was delicious, and it was homemade… how could we not?!?!?! We set up a wine tasting tour since our first day had (originally) planned on being a rest day, and we desperately wanted to eat and drink in as much of Florence as we possibly could! This was our favorite place! We visited 3 different wineries, sampled anything offered to us, and purchased as many bottles as we could legally fly home. Most wineries made their own olive oils as well, and we purchased our favorite and their 7 year old balsamic vinegar to bring home as well. That night, we’d met some other people on the wine tour, and we went out for drinks with them. We then hikes up a hill to watch the sun set and see some gorgeous city lights before heading in after dinner to take a much needed bath! The next day we went to the Uffitzi Gallery to see many of the Renaissance’s great creations, and the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze to see the statue of David! Such a truly inspiring experience!! We spent the rest of the day on foot, ducking into any of the various Piazzas (squares) in the city to catch a glimpse of everything else we wouldn’t quite have time to tour.
Now we were of to Venice, Italy on a train! We had a whirlwind of only two days in Venice, but we squeezed in private boat taxi rides (with a slow-mo hair flip), a walking tour of the city (it’s pretty small), shopping, some great seafood, and an actual gondola ride with a hilarious gondolier! We had traditional seafood the first night, but it had been nearly 2 weeks since we’d had anything “normal” to us, I mean, Italians eat hotdogs for breakfast with bagels, so life was confusing. We ended up finding a Hard Rock in Venice and had some American drinks, fries, and burgers together, which was exactly what we needed!
The next flight had us off to London, England where we got news that Nik’s grandpa Dale had passed away suddenly, so we toiled with going home to be with family and of course with the grief of losing Nik’s grandpa so suddenly. We ended up staying after Nik’s mom reassured us that all services would take place after we were supposed to be home, and we found it fitting that we had just left Venice, a place that Nik’s grandpa had talked about visiting a few times in his early life. We took the next few days truly appreciating the time we have on earth and reflecting on our lives thus far, because, what good is dreary weather for anyway?! We really only had one day to sight see in London, and it was about 40 degrees and misty so we kept most of our sightseeing to anything we could see from our bus. We were greeted with a decorated room, booze, and chocolate cake this time! We set out for a pub and had drinks and dinner at Burger & Lobster (OMG YUMMM!). We rode all over London the next day, stopping only for lunch and tea (because London, duhhh) and potty breaks. We strolled through Hyde Park afterwards, saw Buckingham Palace from outside, went to King’s Cross Station to take a basic Platform 9 3/4 pic, and we treated ourselves to Chinese food in China Town, just before heading to see the Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
The next day, we were off to Bridgetown, Barbados for some true R & R. We landed in a stick 80 degrees with the blues skies ever, and checked into the Sandals Barbados with a truly luxurious room (and a butler!!!). We shed our layers and headed for the beach! For the next 5 days, we drank fruity drinks, held monkeys on the beach, played games, made friends, and took a booze cruise! Nik and I are scuba certified, so we did some diving too!
We left Barbados and came back to reality! We used a travel agent to book our entire trip, and 100% recommend using one! They can get you the lowest prices in the nicest areas, usually with perks like breakfast included, etc. They also get paid from booking with certain companies, so you don’t pay them a dime directly. When we priced the trip and gave our agent our budget, she came in $5-7000 cheaper than we ever could have booked! Totally worth it. They also think of things like transportation to and from airports and train stations, safety and location of hotels, food, entertainment, tourism, etc. She truly built a one in a lifetime trip for us!