Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Honeymoon Highlights

We’re hitched!  I know I'm skipping over a lot of stuff that I fully plan to return to, but handsome hubby (HH) and I are officially newlyweds and after two weeks honeymooning in Greece (Santorini) and Italy (Rome and Amalfi Coast) we’re finally (and in record time!) unpacked and settling into the fun part – the happily ever after. 

Now having been on one, I’ll say that honeymoons are a funny thing.  Amazing, to be sure, but kind of New Year’s-esque in the sense that you spend gads of time planning and anticipating and planning.   And with expectations of nonstop, er,…romance (my mom's reading!) that high, it’s hard to imagine how anything could live up.  

That said, notwithstanding my obsessive compulsive tendency to plan every vacation to the nth degree, our honeymoon was the least planned trip I’ve ever taken.  Normally I’d have spreadsheets, maps, at least three tour books, scheduled activities, notes from tripadvisor and fodors, printouts of confirmations, restaurant reservations and backup plans, the whole nine.  But having been consumed with wedding details, I only got as far as the hotels, the flights, the transfers (except one crucial one!), one map, one hastily uploaded nook travel guide and one confirmed tour.  It will surprise no one that my OCD would not allow me to relinquish the entire honeymoon planning process to HH as per tradition, but who cares. I did quite happily leave the dining reservations up to him and the rest in the hands of fate.  

And we had the best time ever! Suffice to say, I finally learned that the best trips don’t have to be hyper-planned.  Admittedly, I was a little nervous that I’d forgotten to plan the romance part of the trip that I'd all ways assumed were honeymoon staples - like the moonlit private boat cruises and million-course michelin star dinners - but in retrospect, I'm so glad I didn’t.  Romance is definitely better served spontaneously and it's even sweeter when it doesn't completely break the bank.  Fresh off the buzz of the big day, and in the company of a handsome hubby, it’s hard not to feel the warm and fuzzies in a place like this

Oia, Santorini
or this


or this!

Oia, Santorini
I'll be back with more about the honeymoon (and the wedding) but for now, here's the first of my top five honeymoon favorites:

1.   Breakfast (and dinner) with a view  It's no secret that one of the best parts about European hotels are the free breakfasts.  Free food is generally always fabulous.  But then there's also the fact that breakfast in Italy is basically like dessert.  I'm usually not a fan of chocolate for breakfast but that was before Nutella.  My newly-beloved Nutella.  Who needs pancakes when you can Nutella on toast, Nutella on croissants, Nutella on get the picture.  Let's just say I had no problem waking up early on vacation.  Honestly, the breakfast at every hotel was outstanding but the breakfast at Villa Katikies and Katikies Hotel in Santorini were my favorite.  Served made to order and in the privacy of our own terrace overlooking the Caldera - what's not to love?

Our trip was actually choc full of great food and great views.  Wanda (the fat lady who lives in my tummy) was in SEVENTH HEAVEN! 

One of my favorite meals was our first night at the Greek Restaurant at Katikies.  It only has 5 or 6 tables and somehow we wound up with the whole place to ourselves!  With an open-air kitchen, a private chef, an awesome sunset (and a handsome new hubby!), I loved every minute of it. Until I fell asleep during dessert…from jetlag and post-wedding exhaustion, not the food!  The food was great!

open-air kitchen and chef!

toasting to a pretty darn good honeymoon kickoff!
And here we are enjoying the sunset once again at the aptly named Sunset Taverna in Ammoudi Bay.  Another great recommendation from the hotel and totally worth the 300+ steps we walked down (thankfully!) to get there. 

Sadly, we got no snaps of the donkeys we passed on our way down, but here is the first of many tootsie shots, here with mine dangling into the ocean as we waited for the appetizers.  How fun!

And of course the sunset wasn't bad either :) 

Our last night we treated ourselves to one of the best views I’ve ever seen in Ravello at Villa Maria.  We happened to pass by Villa Maria’s terrace restaurant on a walk during our first morning in Ravello.  The view and the music playing out onto the street were the stuff of honeymoon dreams so it wasn’t hard to settle on Villa Maria for our last dinner, even knowing nothing about the food.  What an amazing choice!  So glad we nixed the Michelin-(some say over)rated restaurant I was originally hoping for and went with Villa Maria.  The food, although not the best of our trip, was solid and the whole experience was enhanced by the fact that we were seated next to an amazing couple from FL married forty years, retired for twenty and mid-way through a 7-week Italian vacation.  They were one of those inspirational couples that make marriage (and life) feel simple fun and I walked away thoroughly excited about our next 40!

The end.  For now.

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