After a brilliant reader request, we started featuring real offbeat honeymoons: A once-a-month profile featuring an array of honeymoons, from the spendy to the budget. Don't forget: click here to submit your awesome honeymoon story.
Honeymooners: Melissa and Jared
Type: International travel
Budget: Spendy ($5000-$10,000)
Where did you go? I just got my passport and have never been out of the country before, so we wanted to visit as many countries in Europe as possible. First, we flew Iceland Air and had a full day layover in Reykjavik, Iceland. We made that our first stop.
Then we went to England because I'm a huge Beatles fan and both Jared and I had friends to visit there. From there we went to The Netherlands and stayed right outside of Amsterdam with someone amazing who we found through couchsurfing.com. There is just something about Amsterdam that is intriguing — aside from drugs and sex, of course! It was a great visit. We saw a lot of museums, vintage shops and all around Dutch cuteness!
Then after an eight hour bus ride we were in Paris! We had a couchsurfing connection there as well, and then decided to stay longer. They helped us find a cheap hotel for the remainder of the week. I've always thought of Paris as very dreamy, and it totally delivered! I look forward to returning someday.
Then Italy, sweet Italy. My family is Italian: I HAD to go there! We spent about ten days in Northern Italy and it was a dream, and another ten in Southern Italy.
Once we realized we were running out of money and could barely afford another week, we had to decide between Spain and Ireland. It was a tough decision, but Ireland won. After doing so many cities we just wanted to hang out with sheep on hills. It was a great way to end the trip of a lifetime.
What did you do? We did everything. It was two months of non stop action! Lots of sight seeing, visiting old friends in England and making new ones along the way.
We hit London, Glastonbury, and Liverpool (The Beatles!). In The Netherlands we saw Amstelveen, Amsterdam, and Haarlem. We took a canal cruise, went to the VanGogh museum, and ate delish things.
In Paris, we saw the touristy stuff and wandered hand-in-hand through The Louvre. It is a magical city. Italy was the best! We rented a car and toured Tuscany, relaxed on the beaches of Cinque Terra and splurged on a night at an agriturismo for the best food and drink ever! In Southern Italy we discovered a small town that matches my last name, AHH!
P.S. Prior to this "splurge" we were super cheap, in order to make this trip last we had to find free things to do, stay in hostels, eat on the go, etc. Couchsurfing was a gift, not to mention the friendships that came out of it.
Unfortunately, we had to wrap it up… Ireland was our place to quiet the buzz of the cities, after Dublin of course (Dublin has amazing live music, inside, outside- everywhere!) Again, we rented a car and drove west. It only took two hours to get to the other side of the country! Jared was my hero driving on the opposite side (eek!) We visited the cliffs of Moher, hiked the Burren, rented bikes and ran around on the hills of Tara and Knowth. I'd say I broke in my passport proper!
What was the most meaningful moment of the trip? There was one night in Tuscany, where we were camping, and by camping I mean sleeping in our rental car in a campsite). I was wide awake at two in the morning. Normally that really annoys me, but I just started thinking about our wedding and all the love we have in our lives. I was watching a star make its way across the sky and I was so moved. I mean, I was watching the stars in Tuscany! Who wouldn't want to SLEEP under that?!
What would you have done differently? Not a thing. We were literally booking things and making plans days before. Then, I began to think maybe we should plan better and not fly by the seat of our pants. When we did that, we ended up miserable and trapped in Naples for a week. I think traveling is hectic regardless of wether you plan a year or a day in advance. So just hold on– it's an adventure!
What's your advice for other offbeat honeymooners? Everyone warned me "Europe in the summertime, so hot!" So I packed sundresses, sandals, things for "so hot" weather. I found myself buying socks and long-sleeves. Poor packing on my part. I mean who doesn't even bring one pair of socks?!
Also, Jared and I had been together and had a home together for five years so we really didn't need any stuff for wedding gifts that people are so quick to drop on you. Thanks to Ariel's "tutorial" on how to tactfully ask for money as wedding gifts, we felt great asking our loved ones to help us make this adventure possible.
And we sent our photo thank you cards from Paris, everyone LOVED them!