Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Italian Honeymoon, part XIV: This is it!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sticking with me thus far. I can't believe I dragged on my honeymoon recaps for 14 posts(our honeymoon was only 11 days long!), but I have finally come to the end of this journey.

In conclusion, I wanted to share some notes of advice for traveling and honeymooning.

Obviously, a European honeymoon isn't for everyone. It is taxing physically and emotionally, it present challenges (especially with the language barrier) we weren't really prepared for our first week of marriage, we were completely out of our comfort zone for almost two weeks.
It is equally thrilling and exciting to see new things in the world, be in romantic foreign places, and drink lots of wine where it came from.
After I left the country for the first time, traveling to Africa two years ago, I knew I had been bit by the travel bug, but this trip gave me a million reasons to love it even more. We got to see incredible sites together, relive history, enjoy food, wine and our love in some of the romantic places on earth!

Here are a couple lessons we learned along the way (this is by no means an exahaustive list!)
  1. You can travel to a foreign country without knowing one single word of their language! but you should expect to be courteous, kind, and patient if you run into people who don't speak English. Learning a couple words and making an effort makes all the difference!
  2. Don't be afraid to ask, and ask twice. We would have been screwed if we hadn't been very careful about asking the conductor about the train procedures! In addition to purchasing your train ticket in Italy, you must also reserve your seat (additional cost). We were able to avoid angry conductors by asking, and consulting guidebooks.
  3. Research a LOT, and plan ahead when possible. One of the main reasons we were able to fit in as much as we did was from making reservations ahead and doing our research. From our ravel books we knew it was best to make reservations to see the big art museums. We saved ourselves 2-3 hours of waiting in line by paying 4 Euro a month ahead of time to reserve a spot!
  4. Be Flexible. I repeat, BE FLEXIBLE! Traveling to a different country with different time tables, unfamiliar transit situations, and tourists makes for imperfect itinerary keeping. Let your self explore something new if it seems fun. Go off the beaten path and step out of your comfort zone (for us, it was seeing art!) I promise you won't regret it.
  5. Talk to the Locals. We got some great recommendations for food to eat and sites to see by asking our hotel concierge, waiters in restaurants and people on the street. They always know the best places (especially to eat) and most seemed more than willing to share!
  6. Pack lightly. I spent a significant amount of time planning outfits before we left so that I could pack as lightly as possible. I brought only 4 pairs of shoes (two of them sandals) and left room to bring home souvenirs. Dragging around luggage in europe is no fun!
    As a side note to this point, be careful of what you pack--modesty still matters [in italy anyway] I packed a lot of summer tanks and shorts only to find in Italy (
    as Palindrome Bride did via this funny sign) that women must cover shoulders and legs down to the knees in every religious place (cathedrals, etc) I couldn't wear half my wardrobe because of this!
  7. Be Cautious. Keep your personal items with you at all times (ie. don't set down your backpack). If possible carry things in front of you (I carried a tote in front of me when we were out). Buy a luggage lock to lock up your suitcases when you leave the hotel for the day or check your luggage before checking in. Store your cash in several different places,or take out money periodically at ATMS. When possible, avoid asking others to photograph you (handing them your camera). We didn't encounter any difficulties with thieving, but we were very careful!
  8. Journal! If I hadn't made a note of places we dined, what we ate, and where we stopped on which days, these posts would have been much harder to write, and our album would have been a disaster!
Here are some books and materials we found helpful:
Rick Steves

If you want to trek back into our Honeymoon posts, check them out
Our Italian Honeymoon:

Or check out the link on the side bar over there ----->


And thank you, patient people, for joining me on that very long journey!


Island Gal said...

Beautiful pic!!!

Unknown said...

thank you so much for your recaps! i am more excited than ever to go on our italian honeymoon (still 6 months away!). i did want to ask one thing about your advice- when you do ask someone to take your picture, who did you normally ask?! I saw a few pictures of you and your husband and i know i will want the same thing. Thanks!

Caitlin said...

Love the tips. And good ol' Rick Steves [when Annie's parents came to Spain they thought Rick Steves was the only way to travel].
Love and hugs,

Katie said...

this might sound crazy, but we usually would stand around looking for an american couple that was also looking for their picture to be taken.
Then we'd swap cameras, take a snapshot for them, and get one of the two of us.
It's not foolproof, but it made us feel safer!

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