Let me start by saying Justin and I are very blessed. When we started dating we discovered that we both had a desire to travel. As the saying goes, "I rather have a passport full of stamps, than a house full of stuff." This could not be more true for us. So we wanted to start our adventure together as a married couple by going on our first big trip.
When we started planning our wedding and honeymoon, I worried about the expense and the stress of it all. Thankfully, our parents were more than willing to chip in financially and help ease some of the burden of the wedding costs. That left Justin and I with the ability to really go all out with our honeymoon. That is how the Europe trip was planned.
My mom was able to connect me with her travel agent, Shannan. Travel tip #1 from me is always going to be: Use a travel agent! When it comes to traveling abroad, it is difficult to know the best deals and when you consider the fact that you have different currency, an unfamiliar location, and the language barrier to deal with it just makes sense to go through someone that can help you put it all together. I was dealing with planning a wedding already, so having Shannan plan the honeymoon (with input from me) just made my life easier. She handed me a book full of travel documents (airline tickets, train tickets, hotel reservations, and a full itinerary) and all we had to do was show up. Talk about convenient.
So with our stuff all packed and our passports ready we departed from BNA ready to see the world (or at least part of it).
When we got off the plane at Heathrow it was almost midnight London time. We were exhausted from a full day of travel and jet lag and the only thing on our mind was getting some sleep. Our first hotel was right near the airport, for convenience sake. After getting a good night's sleep we woke up refreshed and went to meet Justin's family. He has an aunt and uncle that live near London and his grandmother was currently visiting them as well so I met all of them at once. We got to visit their beautiful home and they took us out to a local pub where I had Pimm's and Leeks for the first time. They were both yummy.
After visiting with his family we stayed in a beautiful hotel in the middle of London. The two days we were there we mostly just walked around the city. Of course I had to make some stops at the planner and stationery stores!
After our time in London we took the train under the English Channel to Paris. This was a "bucket list" trip for me. I have dreamed of going to Paris since I was a little girl so it was so exciting to be able to really take it all in. This was hands down my favorite stop on our honeymoon. The city was gorgeous, the people were friendly, and the food was amazing! We visited the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triompe, and Notre Dame. I was able to do some more shopping and we also enjoyed fantastic service at our hotel. I hope to one day go back and stay longer, but I'm so glad that I have had the opportunity to at least go once.
Out of all our stops on this trip, this is the one that I learned the most from. In Munich, Germany we took in all of the history we could. Also, beer. We took in a lot of that too.
I learned a lot about World War II and the devastation that took over Germany and a lot of Europe during that time. We visited a concentration camp and stood in the same spots that the prisoners of that camp stood in. It was extremely sad and powerful. We went on a tour to learn more about a group of young college students that tried to fight against the propaganda that was spread during that time. They called themselves the White Rose and they were put to death for their honorable actions.
On a lighter note we also visited a few beer halls. If there is one thing Germany is known for it is good beer and my husband is a craft beer connoisseur. I ate things I had never eaten before. It was my first time having duck and lamb. It was all so hearty and full of flavor. A truly delicious and pleasurable experience.
The final leg of our journey was in Amsterdam. The Netherlands was high on my husband's priority list of places to visit, because his Mom and her family were born there. While in Holland, we took in the beautiful and old buildings, ate Vruchtenhagel and delicious pastries, and of course visited the stationery stores! We also took a short train trip to the town Justin's mom was born in - Hilversum. It was small and sweet and full of bicycles. Actually, all of Holland was full of bicycles, as you will notice from my photos.
From beginning to end this trip was truly amazing. I really do hope that we go back to Europe some day, to not only visit the places we already have, but also to take in more countries and cultures. One thing is for sure - there will never be a trip like this one. You only get one honeymoon and I am glad that we made the most of ours!