Don’t hate me, but our honeymoon was just as magical as our wedding. I know!!! I don’t know how we got so lucky, but we had three weeks of travel without a single day of rain and no snafus! Well, we did put a pretty big dent in one of our rental cars…but that’s why you get insurance! Here’s a little recap, in case you’re looking for some European travel inspo!
First of all, traveling in September is wonderful because it’s the shoulder season. There are no crowds, the weather is still amazing, and Josh and I brought the average age of every restaurant or hotel we walked into down by about 30 years. Yep, we spent September with a bunch of retirees living our best life in Italy, France and Spain. It will do a lot for the ego, and you’ll get seasoned marriage advice by European vets, so I highly recommend it, if you can swing it.
The other thing I’m going to advocate for—take your honeymoon after your wedding. I know it’s hard with requesting time off of work, and Josh and I are both incredibly spoiled in that we work for ourselves so we had the flexibility to take the time. But do it!!! An adventure like that requires time, and as much as a mini moon sounds lovely, if I had to come back to reality after only 4 or 5 days, I think I would have been seriously depressed. So, do what you can to make it happen!!
The day after our wedding, with zero sleep, we embarked on a European road trip. We packed up our station wagon (good for lots of luggage, bad for small European cities) and headed north to the Italian Riviera. We spent two nights in Santa Margherita Ligure. It was more affordable, and more quaint, than the tourist run Portofino, which was just a leisurely long walk away. [Thank you for the recommendations on Facebook, our faithful readers!] We feasted on delicious fish, Ligurian style, and lots of pasta and took our first dip in the Mediterranean on a completely deserted beach. And we slept. A lot.
From there we headed to France. Driving was a real treat because we were on our own schedule, we got to pack as much as we wanted, and we got to see so much of the Italian and French coast. We’d make stop offs for a coffee here and there, and for the wonderfulness that is Italian gas stations, and went at our own speed. Josh enjoyed driving through the windy roads and tunnels. Our plan for the week was not to spend more than four hours in the car at a time, so we picked cities along the way to Barcelona that would keep our driving time minimal, while still covering a lot of land. We stopped for lunch at the Hotel Du Cap in Antibes which was an extravagance, but this trip was not without a little glamour.
We eventually made our way to St. Tropez where we stayed at Villa Marie in the hills for another two nights. It reminded us of Wellfleet, which couldn’t have made us happier! Full disclosure—we spent our first night eating dinner from the mini bar and watching the Emmys in our bathrobes. You can take us out of New York but… The next morning we drove to the beach and spent the day at Club 55—which would have been great if we hadn’t been total idiots and figured out that the restaurant was behind the beach. You can imagine our disappointment when we thought the snack bar was our only food option…after 20 Euro for a ham and cheese sandwich, we felt a little cheated. It wasn’t until we were back at the hotel when I realized that we missed the whole restaurant. Oh well! We walked around St. Tropez, sampled Tarte Tropézienne and I finally bought myself a pair of Rondini bikini sandals (my only purchase of the whole trip!).
From St. Tropez, we headed for Arles, stopping in Aix for lunch only to meet the sweetest bookstore owner who was getting ready to retire. He gave us free books, shared stories about his time living in Santa Barbara and sent us on our way. We arrived in Arles to the Hôtel du Cloître. We loved exploring this quaint Roman town where we ate so well and took in a fair amount of culture at the Van Gogh Foundation. Our second night here we ventured out of the city to La Chassagnette where we had our most extravagant and delicious meal of the whole trip. If you’re in Provence, go!!!
After two nights in Arles, we packed up again and headed to Barcelona. Driving through the Pyrenees, listening to the playlist from our wedding and feeling totally relaxed, we cruised into the city. We dropped our bags, dropped our car, and jumped on a plane to Mallorca.
Ok so this is the craziest thing we did on our trip—we chartered a boat to sail around Mallorca for the week—something we’ve never done before. We had a captain and a hostess, but neither of us had ever done an overnight on a boat. We were lucky in that neither of us got seasick and we had incredible weather. For 7 nights we sailed from bay to bay around the island, dropping anchor to take a swim, visit a cave, have a bite to eat. The second day I started to go a little crazy, but after I talked myself off of a mental ledge and did a little meditating, I managed totally fine. We only got off of the boat 3 times for no more than an hour. This was our favorite part of the honeymoon because it forced us to completely relax. We slept late, went to bed early, I finished 6 books…when you’re on the water there isn’t much to do but just do nothing. It was complete bliss and we’re already planning our next charter trip, this time with friends.
Once we got back on (wobbly) land, we picked up a convertible and drove around the island, taking it all in from land rather than sea. We spent two nights re-adjusting to being off the boat at Pleta de Mar, which may be one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at in my life. We had a beautiful room with a big outdoor bathtub where we did lots of soaking. It also had the best breakfast buffet of all of the hotels we visited, and we did our fair share of breakfast buffet-ing. The staff was incredible and I would go back in a heartbeat!
Finally after two weeks of sea and country, we had to start to re-integrate ourselves into city life, so we finished our trip with 3 nights in Barcelona. We stayed at the Soho House there, which felt familiar—much appreciated after the shock of being in a city. In Barcelona we went on cultural overload, visiting 5 museums and the Sagrada Familia in three days. And we indulged on tapas and paella—our favorite restaurant was Bar Cañete for the sheer madness of it. By the last night, we couldn’t bear another 10pm dinner, so we ordered room service and started watching Maniac on Netflix. Our version of heaven.
We finally made it back to New York and started to catch up with friends and family about our wedding, which felt like it had just happened, even though it had been three weeks. We had an incredible trip, which we capped off with Bruce Springsteen on Broadway when we got back. Now that we’re back, we’re looking for our next project, and also questioning our lives and living in New York City. But for now, we’re not going anywhere…we’re just going to start with redecorating our house, and we’ll see what’s next from there!