In September of 2017, I did something I never would have believed a few years ago. I got married. My wife Rebecca and I have been together for a few years now, and fairly early on, we began to travel together. There are many reasons why we work so well as a couple, but one is definitely our ability to travel well as a pair, a team. We’re both adults with an established life. We didn’t need appliances, or cookware, or any of those things newlyweds are traditionally gifted (though we got a few cool things, including a sweet griddle/waffle iron). So, instead of doing a traditional wedding registry, we did Honeyfund, a way for folks to buy us parts of our honeymoon. Thanks to generous gifts, her job’s flexible nature and my employer’s largess (actually, it was the slow season and I’m able to shift the use of paid holidays within certain limitations), we didn’t take the two week trip we’d originally envisioned. We took 28 days. 28 frickin’ days. It was magnificent.
We’d gone back and forth for some time about where we would go. We debated Australia VS Europe for a long time. As we originally thought our trip would be no more than two weeks, we eventually dropped Australia, as that’s something we’re going to want to take a long time with. So it was going to be Europe, but how and where? We’d been to Lisbon, Portugal, and loved it. We’d been to Italy, and loved it. Rebecca had been to Paris and Berlin in college. So, where? Our first idea was a wine tour, starting in the Porto region of Portugal, going across to Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, then up into Southern France, down into Tuscany, and maybe up into Austria to end in Vienna, with the caveat that if we were able to get a bit more money or cut a few costs, maybe we’d extend things and spend a couple days in Prague. Two things happened to make us scrap that plan. First, we knew we’d be traveling in February and early March. That’s not a good time for wine in Europe. A lot of vineyards are closed down, or at least aren’t doing tours. The second thing reshaped the whole concept of the trip. Rebecca found a sweet deal on a cruise ship out of Barcelona; a ten day cruise. This was going to be the capper on our trip. For a more in-depth discussion of how we developed our itinerary, take a listen to a podcast interview on Scuttabout that Rebecca did before our trip here.
So the plan was reversed. The trip would now start in Munich, where we’d spend a few days, including a day trip to Salzburg, Austria. Then down to Venice, Italy, the only city on this itinerary that we had ever been to before. From there we’d go up to Geneva, Switzerland, where we’d also take a day trip to Gruyeres. From Geneva, to Lyon, France, where we’d take a day trip to Aix en Provence. Then down to Barcelona. We kept going back and forth on doing a day trip to Madrid, but finally chose not to, and to give Barcelona some time. I’m glad we skipped Madrid, as even doing so, Barcelona got shorted. From Barcelona, we’d set forth on a cruise that would take us to Morocco, the Canary Islands, Madeira, then back to a couple ports in Southern Spain and back to Barcelona, before we flew home. Things didn’t quite work out as expected on the cruise, which I’ll go into in a later post.
There were a lot of moving pieces involved in this trip. A lot of things could have gone wrong. A few things did. Mostly, it went off swimmingly, and was absolutely the trip of a lifetime. In future posts, I’m going to explore each place we visited on our journey, and hopefully speak to traveling in general, and how you don’t have to be rich to do it. Also, I want to get into how things might not always go as planned or expected, but that’s no reason not to have a good time. Mostly, I hope the posts will encourage you to get out there and travel!