Wednesday, August 25, 2010


D. and I have been thinking, talking, daydreaming about honeymoon plans. (Yes, I know we're so far away from the wedding that we cannot yet book travel through most major airlines, but, come on, this is an excuse to plan a vacation - a totally amazing, blissed out vacation at that). For a while now, there's been a fairly clear vision in place: a romantic, lazy honeymoon in the south of France or elsewhere in the Mediterranean. Sounds awesome, right? Lazy days, eating cheese and drinking wine, visiting art museums, maybe logging a day at the beach. Perfect. We both knew we wanted somewhere that would allow for downtime and a little laziness but that also offered new experiences and daytime activities (other than the ubiquitous honeymoon beach). The plan seemed perfect... until we were recently reminded that the Mediterranean in August is about a million degrees* and absolutely full of tourists.

So... we're considering alternatives. D. has set out some requirements: there is the aforementioned heat problem. Summertime locations are acceptable as long as they are not of the million degree temperatures variety. D. would like to go somewhere I've never been, or, barring that, somewhere I haven't been to so many times that I will be bored, or, worse, an expert tour guide who will plan our every moment.** We have both expressed a desire to travel somewhere where we can be reasonably confident in the quality of the drinking water.*** These requirements have led to a running list:

Budapest: In the interest of full disclosure, I have been here before, on an absolutely terrifying solo backpacking excursion (Ask - I'll tell you about it sometime). As a result, my version of "seeing" Budapest involved seeing the Castle and then promptly running back to my directly-above-a-strip-club hostel for the rest of the day. The internet tells me that Budapest is far lovelier than my initial experience might indicate. Budapest is, they say, the Paris of the East, and, let me tell you, I love me some Paris.
Pros: Off-the-beaten-path; cheap (for Europe); the architecture (even if that Parliament Building looks remarkably like Westminster); wine (apparently Hungary is a great place for wine? I'll take it).

Scotland: I have also been to Scotland, but under much more pleasant circumstances, and I'd love to go back and see all that I missed the first time (including my favorite queen's summer residence, pictured above). D. has always wanted to go to Scotland (the land of his forefathers), and we can't deny that the Scottish highlands would provide an exceptionally romantic backdrop to some honeymooning. A few years ago, when I was living in London, D. visited, and we spent an incredible week in England's Lake District, cooking, hiking, hanging out together. This feels like a return to that vacation.
Pros: Unlike Hungary, Scotland has always been on our to-do list; awesome scenery; adventurous foods (one of D.'s great delights in life); the Edinburgh literary festival (this is both a pro and a con - amazing that we could experience that, but not amazing for our wallets when everything in Scotland becomes 1,000 times more expensive).

Munich: Have any of you ever been to Munich? I've heard awesome, awesome things. This would be a real city trip, but I've never been to this part of Germany, and, seriously, that view looks amazing.
Pros: *Plenty* to do; it seems that Munich may have near perfect weather in August; some amazing options for day trips (Neuschwanstein Castle, Salzburg, Ettal Monastery)****

Sweden: This is a fairly unresearched option. I've seen Stockholm in the winter time, but I can't imagine how beautiful it must be in the summer. As an Irishman, D. has a proclaimed hatred of Vikings, but Gotland Island still sounds pretty incredible. Plus, the Ice Hotel is here.
Pros: Daylight pretty much 24 hours per day; Lots of water (D. and I both love being near the water, even if we're not total beach people); very easy on foot (neither of us are drivers stateside - God knows how we'd fare in Sweden); apparently Stockholm is one of the few cities in which you can take a hot air balloon directly over the center - seeing those 14 islands from above... that's pretty romantic.

California: I am aware that most of you reading probably live in California,***** but for this New Englander and Midwesterner, the west coast has a certain, exotic appeal. Neither D. nor I have really spent any time in California, and a meandering visit to the wine country could approximate that earlier vision of the South of France, without the insane tourists. If we stayed in the US, I think D. and I could probably handle driving as well, which would certainly make California one of the most accessible options.
Pros: did I mention the wine?; I hear from every wedding blog in existence that the light and weather in California are perfect... may as well see it for ourselves; cheaper flights may mean a longer honeymoon - fine by me!

Nova Scotia: By far the closest to home, and we could do it all without flying if we traveled through Maine. I'm envisioning lots of seafood, quiet days on the water, beautiful scenery, and, if I'm lucky, a little jaunt over to Prince Edward Island for a tribute to Anne of Green Gables. This would be the easiest and most affordable option, and certainly on the lazier side of somewhere like Munich or Budapest.
Pros: close to home; inexpensive; great food; lots of boats (I have a thing for boats... boats and water).

So, friends, there we have it - the top 6 - phone lines will remain open for voting for at least 2 hours after the show.

But, seriously, did you go on a honeymoon? Are you planning to? To what wild and wonderful locations? Tell me all about it!

*The heat does not sit especially well with D., by which I mean sometimes it's hard for him to form coherent sentences when he's too hot. Oh, and he's hot in November in Boston.
**Why, no, I don't have the slightest idea what he's talking about. Me, overextend myself? Ha.
***This, for me, is the distinction between what I want out of this honeymoon, and what I want out of the many hypothetical vacations of my future. D. and I are dying to so many places for which this would not be true, but we are reserving those for a time that is not our honeymoon.
****Many websites also list the Swarovski Crystal Palace in Innsbruck as an exciting day-trip from Munich. I have been to the Swarovski Crystal Palace - it was not exciting - it was the most ridiculous place I've ever been.
*****Sometimes I wonder whether people even plan weddings outside California.

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