Well, I know that you guys wanted to know all about the honeymoon and to see some pictures, so yeah, I am going to post some of them here. Be warned, there are going to be a lot of pics here – which is unusual for us. My husband (eeeeep) and I don’t do the pictures and camera thing at all, but made the concerted effort to do so when we were out there.
Now, Italy was an experience, let me tell you that. We had such a blast!
Alright, so we got married on a Saturday, and on Monday we drove up to Johannesburg to catch our flight to Dubai, and from Dubai to Rome. We were on those planes forever! Luckily there was a really great entertainment system on the planes, so I managed to watch some movies and what not. Arriving in Rome, my phone hit up the Wi-Fi and I had a super freaked out Natasha demanding to know where I was making my connecting flight, to find out that Brussels had been attacked that morning. It was really not nice, but explained the tightened security at the airport.
Navigating a new, foreign country is pretty daunting when you do not have a working phone or the ability to belt it in Italian, but we managed to come right and organise a shuttle to our apartment. We arrived and the first thing that we thought was that we were in the ghetto and were going to be killed. Seriously. Back home, areas that have that much graffiti in them are super sketchy, the kind of places you avoid. We learned fast enough though that in Italy, but especially Rome, tagging things is sort of like a right of passage or something. There is graffiti everywhere.
We ventured out that night and got a sim card, which automatically made us breathe easy because we could at least communicate. Walking around the neighbourhood was amazing. We pretty much can’t walk anywhere here at home, not even kidding. It was the most liberating feeling in the world to get up and walk out of the apartment whenever we wanted and it was safe to do so. Also, another thing to note is how clean it is out there. I was shocked. There were thousands of people, but no trash and junk lying around. Amazing. And such a police presence!
We downloaded an app and we marked all the points we wanted to explore for each day on there, and took a bus from where we were staying to where we needed to be, and spent each and every day walking to all the different sites, seeing all that was around us. It was truly an amazing experience. Rome really is a lot smaller than you would think – once you are at any given site, the others are a stone’s throw away. One thing that did suck, however, was our currency exchange rate when we went over. Urgh. Thanks to our delightful fuckwit President Zuma, the exchange rate went up from R12.50 for €1.00 to R20.00 for €1.00. It was sheer lunacy, but we made it work and had tons of fun, though it did limit a lot of the things that we could do.
Also, the pizza out there. Like oh my goodness. I am not usually a pizza fan because (I am saying it) there is usually too much cheese going on and a sloppy base. In Italy? Crunchy, wood fire pizza, minimal cheese and delicious toppings. You can taste everything! I must say though, the few pastas we did eat out there were really bland, which surprised me. Soda is also super expensive out there, and it is not refrigerated (just the little cans are). I was shocked, too, by how you can buy liquor (and not just beers, the hard liquor, too) anywhere. I mean it. Cafés, grocery stores, sweet shops, anywhere, they all had liquor. Like, everywhere.
Let’s not forget to mention the architecture out in Italy, because that would be a crime. You know, pictures are all impressive and stuff, but it just doesn’t compare to seeing the actual buildings, statues, monuments, doors, etc. I was overwhelmed by how tiny I felt – the architecture, the age, it all drives home how ancient and amazing things are. I travelled thousands of kilometres to see this, and so have millions of other people, over so many years. It really is something to take in.
From Rome we went to Florence, and man, I fell in love. While Rome might have been the more entertaining of the two purely because there is an inordinate amount of things to do, Florence is hands down the more beautiful. It is clean, the people are insanely friendly, it was cheaper there than Rome or Venice, and it, too, was small. Totally more my speed. We drank wine, ate pizza, explored every day, and I loved every moment of it. We did the tours, the photos, the walking… seriously, I walked through two pairs of shoes while I was out in Italy. I was so stoked to be able to walk anywhere at any time, so I took advantage of it like crazy. I have also always wanted to see the Duomo, and I was not even remotely disappointed. It was so beautiful and vast and impressive and… I don’t actually have words for it. WOW.
Lastly, we moved on from Florence to Venice, and that was something I was interested in seeing. I remember my wedding photographer asking how long we would be in each of the places (she had gone to Italy before), and when we told her we were in Venice for three days, technically four because our flight was leaving so late, she sucked in her breath and said that even two is overkill for Venice. Now that I have been there, I can see what she meant. Venice is beautiful and magical and an experience, it really is, but Venice is also really small. We spent four days traipsing all over Venice and hiding out in the apartment when we just couldn’t anymore, and when we left on the last day, we were actually really looking forward to coming home. That is how I knew we had a proper holiday – when you get to the end and you have had a great time and you are all good for exploring more, but you are also perfectly fine with going home, sleeping in your own bed, on your own pillow, not living out of a suitcase anymore or burning through ridiculous amounts of money. We were there.
Anyway, there is just way too much to say on the adventure, too much for one post. The experience was overwhelming and awesome and heck, so much fun! I do not regret it, and would go again in a heartbeat!
Gelato… you can’t go to Italy and not live off the stuff. It is GLORIOUS.
BUT there was one thing I missed so much while we were out there it was like a physical pain, and it was the first thing I purchased when we got off the plane back home, even though the airport is crazy expensive about it.