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Showing posts with label Vacation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vacation. Show all posts
On our last night in Rome we made sure to take another walk past the Coliseum. So far on the trip we had seen it at sunset, early in the morning and then we finished off with it lit up at night. Such a great way to say goodbye to Rome!

We also found a pretty blue door during the day and took some photos. I wasn't planning on doing an outfit post with this look since I have worn it so many times but I like the pictures. Enjoy!

Sweater Tank: Made by Grandma, Shorts: Banana Republic (shop more green shorts), Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals 'Alethea' (shop Ancient Greek Sandals),  Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Natural Selection Mini Messenger Bag' (shop more Marc Jacobs bags), Sunglasses: Chanel

On our second day we took a day trip to Pompeii. It was quite the journey getting there. Our train from Rome to Naples was fine, but then it was time to take the metro to Pompeii. There was supposed to be a train 10 minutes after we arrived but we stood on a hot, full platform for an HOUR before the right train came. It was insanity. That meant we got a bit of a later start than we wanted (we got up at 6:30am hoping to get to Pompeii a little after 9 but that didn't happen.)

We still made it to all the places we wanted to see and made it to our train back to Rome a couple hours before it was set to leave. Then THAT train was delayed by an hour so we got back to Rome quite late and had dinner around 11pm. But when in Rome, right? Funnily enough, this was one of Christian's favorite meals and we just happened upon the spot since it was close to our airbnb. I'll share where we ate in the guide next week!

Top: Mexx (shop printed tops), Shorts: Banana Republic (Clinton Crossing), Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals 'Alethea' (shop Ancient Greek Sandals),  Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Natural Selection Mini Messenger Bag' (shop more Marc Jacobs bags), Sunglasses: Chanel

Starting my honeymoon posts a couple days later than planned because the photographer (aka my husband, haha) has had a rough back to work week and hasn't had time to edit photos. We're starting at the beginning of the trip - ROME!

I wore this on our first full day in The Eternal City where we walked a whopping 11.7 miles. I don't think our feet ever fully recovered. We started early in the morning at the Colosseum where we were pretty much alone for the first 10 minutes, which was amazing! Then we saw most of the other big sites of the city (we're overachievers) throughout the day. I'll be going more into our itinerary in a travel guide after the outfit photos!

This romper is always perfect for hot weather, I'm covered up but it's still nice and breezy thanks to the cutout in the back.  My blue Marc Jacobs bag is the perfect travel purse because it's not too big yet it can fit everything I need (including a water bottle! except that does stick out a bit.) It got quite the workout on this trip so it will get a much needed break for a while.

Also, as a side note, this is the first post at the start of a partnership with Shopbop! I'll be receiving gift cards in exchange for including them in posts from time to time. Super excited as I've been a Shopbop fan for years - bought one of my first real designer purses (my purple Marc Jacobs) there!

Romper: Greylin via Gilt (shop rompers), Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals 'Athena' (shop Ancient Greek Sandals),  Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Natural Selection Mini Messenger Bag' (shop more Marc Jacobs bags), Sunglasses: Chanel

Venice, Italy by boat

It's almost honeymoon time! Christian and I intended to go on our honeymoon this past May but he wasn't able to get off work at that time so we pushed it to September to celebrate his birthday and our first anniversary on the trip! Here's how we went about planning our honeymoon and some guidelines for you to keep in mind.

*This post was made in partnership with Nakturnal.

View of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo

Funding the Trip

Will you save up the money on your own or use gifts from your wedding? An easy way to do the latter is to use a honeymoon registry site like Traveler's Joy to let friends & family choose a part of your trip to contribute to. Since we had a simple wedding party Christian and I opted to not focus on having a registry - we had one with maybe 10 items on it - and allocated cash gifts from our wedding to the various items we needed. This meant anything from small home appliances, a couch for the basement and a security system all the way to our honeymoon fund. We also added some of our own money because we wanted to take a long trip. If I had to do it over again I probably would have included a honeymoon registry too. It's such a fun way to let guests give money knowing what it's going toward.  What do you think of using a honeymoon registry?

Deciding Where to Go

Picking your honeymoon location may be the hardest part about the planning process. So many places to go, so little time! When we discussed locations we thought about a shorter trip to somewhere like London or Aruba but since this is Christian's first big international trip I wanted it to be AMAZING. He's a big fan of Ancient Roman and Greek history so I suggested we do a 2 week whirlwind tour of Italy and Greece!

We'll head to Rome for a few days, including a day trip to Pompeii, and then head to Florence for a couple nights. After Florence it's off to Venice for a few days - where we will celebrate our anniversary. After Venice we're off to Santorini, Greece for  three blissful days in a cave house! Our trip finishes up in Athens to visit as many of the ancient sites as we can and eat some tasty lava cake (if the restaurant still sells it!)

View of Santorini from Airbnb

When to Go on Your Honeymoon

Most people will go on their honeymoon right after their wedding. This means you need to have the money already saved up before the wedding. This is where a registry website would come in handy. Your guests could fund the pieces of your trip before your wedding so you don't have to worry about fronting the money.

Christian and I decided to wait a year to go on our honeymoon so we could save up more and he could get extra days off work. We will be gone 16 days (10 work days) and 2 of those are almost full travel days.

View of Venice from San Giorgio Maggiore

Booking Transportation

One of the biggest expenses of your trip will be transportation. How will you get there and what forms of transportation will you use after you arrive?  When to book the flights is also important because you want to get the best price! Unfortunately for us we hit some roadblocks when booking our flights because prices kept going up and down. We ended up panicking and buying tickets with a layover because the direct flight was 3 times the flight and then 2 weeks later the direct flight went down. That's the risk you take though, if we had waited we may have missed out all together. So decide what's important to you and take a leap of faith (and then don't keep checking prices or you'll just upset yourself.)

Christian and I will get to Italy by plane and travel to the different cities by train.  Most of our city travel will hopefully be walking distance so we won't have to worry about using public transportation. After that it's another plane to get to Santorini and to Athens.  Since we will arrive in Santorini late at night we're going to be using our Airbnb's shuttle service which will cost a bit more than other options, but we want the convenience.  The same goes for getting from our Athens Airbnb to the airport. Since our flight is super early in the morning we have to take a taxi because public transportation won't be running when we leave.

A lot of companies offer coupon codes so be sure to check for those before making any purchases! I saved some money on our Italy train tickets by checking the company's Twitter. Every Friday they release a coupon code for 25% off select trips and a couple of ours happened to be discounted with the code, yay!

Traveling by Train in Italy

Hotel, Hostel or Airbnb

After buying flights, the next big step is figuring out where to stay. Do you want to go super cheap and stay at a hostel? Or do you feel safest when you're in a hotel? We went for the middle-ground and opted for Airbnb's so we could stay in a nice place but not pay as much as a hotel (in most cases.) Plus you can feel more like a local this way by spending your time in an actual home rather than a stuffy hotel room. Another great thing about Airbnb is you can choose to stay in a single room or rent out an entire apartment so you don't have to feel awkward about being in someone else's home and clashing with their routine.

For our honeymoon we went on the cheaper end in Rome, Florence & Athens and splurged on our lodging in Venice and Santorini. We booked the same cave house I stayed at on my first trip to Santorini in 2015!

Airbnb in Santorini, Greece

You've Made it There, Now What?

Planes, trains, cars and lodging booked, what's next? Time to figure out all the places you want to go within each location.  I love the planning process and figuring out how we'll be spending our time but I don't want to have every second planned because that can be a little stressful.

What I like to do is create a spreadsheet with where we'll be, and on what days. Then I fill in the important details like flight/train departures and arrivals and hotel check-in/check-out times. This gives us a basic guide of what our days look like.

Italy and Greece Honeymoon Itinerary
Honeymoon Itinerary

After that I'll start searching travel blogs and Instagram for must-see places and create lists for each location. This includes everything from the major sites (The Acropolis + Colosseum) and off the beaten track finds (The Aventine Keyhole) to where to find the best gelato or pasta.  One of my favorite travel blogs is World of Wanderlust, Brooke has so many different guides from all over the world so no matter where you're going she's sure to have some tips!
Honeymoon in Italy and Greece To-Do List
Honeymoon To-Do List

My next step is to create a google map with all of those locations pinned so no matter where we are I'll be able to see what we're close to.  We will have some things timed out but for the most part we will be wandering and popping in and out of museums as it suits us.

We considered booking some Airbnb experiences but we want to be free to do what we want, when we want and, as we only have a couple days per location, it's hard to book out 6 hours for an excursion.  We may still try to do a bike tour or something in one or two locations, but that will be decided right before.

Google Map for Venice
Personal Google Map of Places to Visit in Venice

The main thing I purchased ahead was tickets to the Colosseum. You can book through the official website - COOP Culture. Unfortunately we didn't nail down our dates early enough so all the Underground and Panoramic View tours were booked up.  (I was able to grab just 1 Underground tour but the release of new tickets is super competitive so I ended up having to buy regular tickets and we'll waste the Underground tour unless Christian wants to do it alone.)

NOTE: If you're interested in the special Colosseum tours I would recommend visiting this thread on TripAdvisor, they are very helpful in letting you know about ticket availability. There are quarterly releases for the big tours and then monthly releases with just 25 tickets per day for those tours. Regular entry tickets are fairly easy to purchase even the day before, I booked them early so we don't have to think about it.

Other Tips

Cash vs. Card

Make sure you know when you'll need to use cash vs a credit card. Most credit cards now offer no foreign transaction fees.  While many places will take credit cards some locations overseas are still cash only so make sure you have cash on hand.   Some examples of when you'll need cash:
  • City Tourism Tax Fees - Airbnb hosts in some cities are required to collect a tourism tax per person per night. This may need to be paid, in cash, to your host on arrival. Some include it in the cost of your Airbnb, Make sure to read the fine print to know what you'll owe! (Airbnb took out our occupancy tax when we paid for our stay in Florence but we'll pay for Rome and Venice)
  • Taxis/Car Service - One of my Airbnb hosts is helping us with booking a car service. He warned us beforehand that we will be paying the driver directly, in cash upon our pickup.
  • Restaurants - Some restaurants, like one we'll be visiting in Florence, are cash only so be prepared and read signs before entering restaurants to avoid awkward situations.
  • Public Transportation - Some forms of transportation will only take cash. When I used the bus system in Santorini in 2015 we had to make sure we had Euros on us at all times.

Phone Plans

Most phone plans will now let you use your own data for a daily fee. I have AT&T and they charge $10 per 24 hour period. I'm opting to do their international plan which is $120 for 3GB over 30 days. Since we're there for 16 days it's cheaper that way.


    No packing guide here, but I will say - leave room for purchases in your luggage! You know you'll be buying some souvenirs for yourself and family so plan ahead and save some extra space. This way you don't have to worry about stuffing it all in an already packed suitcase on the way home.

    I won't go into more itinerary details now, stay tuned for my travel guides after we return! Do you have any questions on traveling to Italy and Greece? If so, leave them here and I'll try to answer them in those posts.
    I was a little crazy on our last day in Montreal and wore my heeled boots even though I knew we would be "hiking" up Mount Royal. But here's the thing, they're actually pretty comfortable and they have a grippy bottom which would help if there was slippery ground (which there some mud.) I was more bothered by the fact that I'm super out of shape and could barely breathe while walking up. The shoes weren't too bad, except when we decided to go off the paved path down a hill, that's dicey even in flat shoes, ha ha. But I survived and got one heck of a calf/thigh workout! Totally worth it.

    I love the colors of this cropped sweater, they're so perfectly fall and go with pretty much everything in my closet so it's easy to layer. I actually found one on eBay if anyone is a size small!

    Crop Top Sweater: Zara, Sweater Dress: Miss Selfridge (Lord & Taylor), Faux-Suede Leggings: H&M, Boots: Cordani (Roundabout),  Wedding Band: Sofia Zakia Altair Ring (Catbird), Engagement Ring: Custom Sofia Zakia Wandering Star Ring, Opal

    Coat: DKNY (old), Hat: bought at Kensington Palace, Scarf: NOMA (now LOUMA)

    We only had 3 full days in Montréal and it was raining on one of those days so our options for sightseeing were limited. One of the major things on my list, the Biodome, is also closed until Summer 2019 so that was a hit on our itinerary as well. But here's a quick list of what we fit into our 3 days in Montreal.

    What to Do

    Mount Royal

    Our last day in Montréal was spent hiking/climbing stairs up to the Chalet du Mont-Royal. It has a beautiful view of the city and the Chalet has a small cafe and some places to sit and rest inside. I was crazy and wore heeled boots to walk up but you'll want to wear more comfortable shoes for lots of climbing steps and/or sometimes actual hiking trails. There is also a longer route to the top that is paved road, but it snakes all the way up and will take much longer.

    The Biosphere Environment Museum

    On one of the rainier days (we had multiple) we headed to the Biosphere, an interactive museum dedicated to the environment. The Biosphere was pretty cool, even though the rain made it hard to view one of the cooler parts of the museum. Christian absolutely loved it because he's a sucker for science and being environmentally friendly.


    Unfortunately I only have photos of the outside of Montreal's Notre-Dame because it was just closing when we arrived in the afternoon on our last day. So I recommend heading there earlier in the day so you can take a tour of the interior.

    Where to Eat

    We actually only ate out 3 times, and one time was McDonald's because it was rainy and we were too cranky to find a real place to eat after his cousin accidentally led us to a mall food court for lunch. WHOOPS! BUT his cousin did get some tasty poutine at the food court.

    Geppetto Pizza

    Geppetto Pizza was our first experience dining out in Montreal. We were walking around the area and as we were getting hungry for lunch we happened upon this place! The inside was very fun, and you could see the pizza oven but unfortunately we were on the other side of the restaurant. We shared their chicken pesto pizza while his cousin and his wife had the meatlovers. I tried both and they were both great.

    Christian says this was one of the best pizzas he's ever had. I've had a bit more pizza experience (thanks to traveling Italy and other places more well known for pizza) so it isn't my favorite ever, BUT I do agree it was very tasty!

    Méchant Boeuf

    On our last night we decided to have dinner near Notre-Dame in Old Montreal. We decided on Méchant Boeuf because it was close and the menu appealed to everyone. Christian's cousin got their Brisket beef poutine and said it was the best of the trip (we only tried 3.)  His wife got the Chicken Supreme with sweet potato and asparagus and I just had a Wagyu Burger. I know, I'm boring.

    Christian was the winner of the evening. It was restaurant week in Montreal and they were running a 3 course special for $33. So he got Québec Beef Jerky salad, Beef Sirloin with cheddar mashed potatoes, asparagus and for dessert he had Churros with dulce de leche.

    Atwater Market

    Since we stayed in an airbnb we wanted to take advantage of the kitchen and decided to do some home cooking. Rather than going to a regular grocery store we decided to visit one of Montreal's many public markets. Atwater Market was located near one of our stops so we headed there to buy some fresh veggies and meats. For dinner on our second night we made chicken with peri peri rub (we still have a bunch to use now that we're home, YAY!), potatoes and broccoli. We also picked up some fresh bread, for under $2! Can't beat that.

    Cacao 70

    My friend Kristen told me we had to visit Cacao 70 while in Montreal for some delicious hot chocolate. They have a ton of locations in the city and we chose one that was near a location we were visiting on our first day. It wasn't as crowded as many others we walked by later in the week, probably because it was in a less dense area. I'm wondering if other places would have had more fun options to choose from.

    For our visit we just stuck with plain dark hot chocolate, which was DELICIOUS. I was still a little full from lunch so I didn't try one of the various snacks. But I bought a dark chocolate bar that I have yet to try, I'm sure it will be very tasty. Our two travel partners had cookies and said they were really good. I'll share some photos of the inside in my mini travel guide later this week!

    Point G Macarons

    Everyone who knows me knows I'm obsessed with french macarons. I first learned how to make them in 2010 but didn't try "real" ones until I went to Paris in July 2011. My mom and I continue to amke them for special occasions including my cousins wedding shower and my wedding. This means I ALWAYS find macarons when I travel. Someone recommended Point G to us and it didn't disappointing! I got mostly chocolate but I also tried Raspberry Litchi, Cherry, Blueberry, Poppy Flower and Raspberry. Christian tried the lemon and chocolate caramel. They were all delicious! And very well priced compared to higher end brands like Ladurée. It was $18 CAD ($13.78 USD) for 12, which worked out to around $1.15 per macaron, a steal!


    Another must-do for people in Montreal is to have some poutine. Basically fries, gravy and cheese curds. I don't do cheese or gravy (except on my Thanksgiving turkey) so I left this to my travel buddies. They had some at a food court, McDonalds (HAH!) and at a restaurant we ate at. Sadly I only got pictures of the first 2 and not the one from Méchant Boeuf, which was voted the best by the group. I blame last night of travel fatigue.

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