As I read Jodi's blog post recently about her upcoming honeymoon in Europe, I was taken back in time, remembering our own European honeymoon 8 years ago.
The first thing I remember are all the good things, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the cold!
It was wonderful.
But on further pondering, I remembered that that wasn't how we felt at the time.
It was very difficult, a lot of the time.
The first thing we both said when we returned home and were asked the inevitable "How was it?"
Neither of us spoke any French, Italian, German or Austrian.
Both of us were not confident to try to speak it, even if we could read it.
It sounds silly, but you just feel plain stupid when you can't understand anything you read or hear.
We didn't hire a car so we walked everywhere.
We travelled by Eurail between cities which was wonderful, but once we arrived...we walked...and walked...and walked some more.
Sometimes that was more than an hour to find our hotel, with very big and heavy backpacks.
Because we didn't catch public transport around any of the cities, after about 4 - 6 hours of walking and looking buildings and museums every day, we'd had enough.
So we spent a lot of time in our hotel rooms, watching MTV or CNN because they were often the only things on TV in English.
It also gets very cold and very dark very early in Europe in Winter so that sent us indoors as well.
We didn't eat out very often due to the language factor and the dollar factor.
So we also ate a lot of takeaway or baguettes, salami and cheese from little grocery stores.
And you can buy wine in supermarkets, so we drank a lot of wine in our hotel rooms, too.
(They have 1.5L bottles of wine!!)
For someone who is a homebody and doesn't care if I don't leave the house all day, it was very difficult for me to be out and about every single
I have a very clear memory of sitting on a park bench in Florence, crying. I'd just had enough. I didn't want to walk any more. I didn't want to not understand every single thing I read. I didn't want to feel stupid anymore. I just wanted to go home.
There is nothing like that 'Oh My God!' feeling when you see the Eiffel Tower or Leaning Tower of Pisa or Michelangelo's David for the first time....incredible.
It was the most amazing experience, and it's even better viewed through hindsight from the comfort of our own home.
We love seeing places on TV or in books or magazines and being able to say, "Remember when we were there."
And we love being about to say to our kids, "We've been there."
One day we'd love to take them.
When they're old enough to learn and speak French and Italian fluently!
I transcribed my tiny travel diary entries and added all our photos (and some that aren't mine) to a travel blog last year. It's very stilted but there are some good photos. It was pre-digital camera days (for us) so some days I don't have many photos. I'd go nuts with my camera if I went over again.
If you want to check it out it's here...
Our travel blog
If you've travelled, how was your experience?
Were you great big sooky chickens, too?
Or was that just us??