I genuinely enjoy planning. Whether I am planning a meal, a day, or a three week vacation, I am almost always thriving off of the “Thrill of the Plan.” (Do you not experience that? Is that just me? Someone please reassure me it isn’t just me.)
While it is traditional to have the Groom plan the Honeymoon, I was more than happy to volunteer to start the planning process. Charlie and I had discussed before that we wanted to go to Europe for our honeymoon. Charlie studied abroad in Germany, and has traveled around, whereas I did a European trip in college as well as an Italian trip with my beloved Aunt Sue as a high school graduation present. (No, my Aunt Sue is not interested in adopting you.)
I chose Germany as my destination country, because I love beer and Germans. Charlie chose Italy, because wine and food, obviously. We figured while we were abroad we may as well hit another country or two. Our first inclination was to do a little country square dance and hit Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and then Italy. I really had my heart set on seeing Switzerland, as it was one of the countries I did not make it to in college. Charlie wasn’t necessarily that pumped, but I had high hopes!
Because beer is delicious, and there needs not be another explanation, we decided to start off our adventure in Munich. We had both been there before and had our favored spots (A – Augustiner, C – Spaten) and wanted to spend a few nights in the city. After that we were between Salzburg and Vienna, however Vienna had WAY more convenient train routes to Switzerland, so we settled into Vienna. Then we got a call from Aunt Sue that we just had to go to Salzburg, and if we did she would put us up in The Hotel Bristol. Haven’t heard of it? It is where Christopher Plummer stayed in the Sound of Music. Clearly, we said yes and adjusted our travel plans. We still had the issue of somehow getting to Zurich, and entertained the idea of one night in Salzburg, one night in Vienna, and then one night in Zurich before heading to Italy. That seemed like a lot of travel, and trains, and Charlie carrying our bags around… so I started to do some research into Zurich. I knew we would be in a city with Munich and also Pisa, and realized the “Swiss Experience” I was really after was hiking. After some ill-fated attempts to find easy access hiking trail from Zurich, I gave up. (Sidenote: I am sure they exist – I just couldn’t find them.)
I started to do some further research into both Austrian and Swiss hiking towns and came across Innsbruck. Not only does it look absolutely gorgeous, but there are hiking trails EVERYWHERE! So we booked an AirBNB and are going to be staying two nights. Conveniently, there is an overnight train from Innsbruck to Italy, so that will make our travel to the villa much much easier.
The villa! We found the most magical beautiful villa in the world while on AirBNB. It is right outside of Camaiore, near Lucca and Viareggio. We rented a car, and Charlie is learning how to drive stick. His darling instructor’s (our dear dear friend Whitney) motto is “When in doubt, peel out.” During one of their “lessons” the people from PetSmart came out to reprimand them for doing donuts in their parking lot. But Charlie’s teacher rolled down the window and yelled “First timer!” The employees gave Charlie a hearty thumbs up, laughed, and went on their merry way.
Anyway we hope to explore lots of towns while in Italy, and also drink a lot. The villa has a full kitchen (or appears to on AirBNB) so we want to get to know the local butcher and live off of Prosciutto. At least, that is my plan.
After a week in the Villa we are heading to Pisa – a town neither of us has been to. We were originally just going to do one night there, but I kept running into trouble booking our car – it appeared that almost every car rental agency was closed on June 2nd. After some research I realized – it is a national holiday! Festa della Repubblica! Thank goodness we hadn’t made reservations for that day – we could have been stranded!! Our favorite local café is owned by a family originally from Pisa, so we plan on picking their brain for where to stay and eat etc…
I am just SO excited to go on this adventure, particularly with Charlie, because I love traveling with him. I have, however, learned some hard lessons during this travel process. So here are some “P&C Honeymoon/Travel Tips!”
P&C Travel Tips
- Check the country you’re going to for National Holidays.
- Hotwire makes no sense. (If you’re doing a ‘Secret Rate’ bid, note that the star rating on the ‘Secret Rate’ page will most likely differ than the ‘Standard Rate’ star rating – even on Hotwires page. This infuriated me, as we bid for a four star in Munich and ended up with a 3 ½ star. I called customer service and after an hour and five minutes they actually hung up on me. It was unbelievable.)
- If you find an AirBNB/Hotel/Apartment you like BOOK IT! We missed out on some great deals and places because we couldn’t firm up our plans fast enough.
- Look into Eurail Passes. (We’re in that process now.)
- Look at bargain airfare. We ended up booking through Norwegian Air. You literally pay for everything, but the base rate is so low it ended up being a great steal. Hopefully all will go smoothly on our actual travel days.
- Don’t buy anything in Euros. Request that it be priced in USD or use a Capital One card (no foreign transaction fees). You’ll save yourself confusion, and also $30.
I am sure there will be MANY more to come, especially once we actually FINISH the trip. Seriously cannot wait to give million page recaps.