Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Planning Our Honeymoon

I think I can speak for Jamie in saying that getting the opportunity to visit Spain and Portugal on our honeymoon is a big dream come true for us.  When we began thinking about where we wanted to go we didn't have too many demands.  Jamie wanted to be somewhere sunny, preferably on a tropical beach; how could I argue with that?  We initially began looking in the Caribbean but the all-inclusive resort scene is just not our thing.  Central America always presents appealing destinations but I think we have too many recent memories of Belize in June, in a tent, that makes something more "polished" for our honeymoon more desirable.  One night during this process, as I was beginning to think we would have to settle on the Poconos, Jamie came across a picture of a beach in an alcove of a craggy cliff in the Algarve, in the south of Portugal.  A light immediately went on in both of our heads.  We both loved our trip to Europe last summer, I wanted to defect to England I liked it so much.  

The Iberian peninsula has everything a person could want in a destination:  an historically rich and inviting culture, a mild yet varied climate, siestas, great food, mile after mile of picturesque beaches; and did I mention siestas?  The trouble with having so many options, so many places to see, is that you have to choose what you will, and won't be able to see.  Luckily, Jamie and I have jobs that allow us to take a few weeks off for our honeymoon but that doesn't leave us nearly enough time to see everything we'd like to see. It's been our philosophy to choose the top sites of a destination (with the idea that we'll be back to see what we missed later) and then begin to look at the logistics of traveling to each of the sites.

With that in mind, this is our honeymoon itinerary:

May 23rd--May27th:  Arrive in Barcelona.  We're staying in a little apartment triangulated between the Parque de la Ciudadela and the Museu Picasso.

May 27th--May28thGranada;  We fly from Barcelona to Granada, where we'll visit the Alhambra under the stars.  The Hotel Zaguan del Darro looks amazing, with views of the Alhambra in some rooms. 

May 28th--   We pick up a rental car on our way out of Granada and head south for the Costa del Sol where we'll be staying in Nerja for three nights at the Hostal Plaza Cantarero.  Don't mistake a hostal for a hostel; we won't be sharing our room with four French kite surfers from Marseilles.  From Nerja we'll make a day trip to Ronda, a stunning Andalusian white hill town atop a massive rocky outcrop.

May 31st--  Hitting the road out of Nerja we head west along the Mediterranean to Tarifa, but not before visiting Gibraltar and hanging out with monkeys atop the famous rock with the same name.  From Tarifa we'll take a day trip to Cadiz, Europe's oldest city.  In Tarifa, we'll be staying in another small apartment at La Casa Amarilla.

June 2nd--  On the road again, this time to the North, to Seville.  On the way to Seville we'll make a little side trip to the picturesque Arcos de la Frontera, another one of Andalusia's many white hill towns.  We'll drop off our rental car on the out skirts of Seville and take a taxi to our accommodations, Hotel Casa 1800.  Jamie and I have been looking forward to this hotel since we booked it, it's old, romantic, and right in the middle of Seville's Santa Cruz neighborhood a romantic and compact maze of narrow streets near the Real Alcazar, the Seville Cathedral, and La Giralda.

June 4th--  After two nights in Seville we'll catch a bus (not the most desired mode of transportation while on a honeymoon but the bus systems in Spain and Portugal provide a service far beyond what we Americans are used to in Greyhound) for a two to three hour bus ride to the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal.  We pick up another rental car in Faro and drive west along the craggy Atlantic coast to a fishing village named Salema. While in Salema we're staying at the Romantik Villa B&B, naturally.

June 8th--  After four romantik nights and five days of R&R in Salema we head for the decidedly more metropolitan Lisbon.  Depending on how we feel, and we'll probably be feeling pretty darn good, we may make a side trip on the way north, or just take the smaller west coast roads through the country/beach side.  We'll drop our rental car off at the Lisbon airport and take a taxi to the apartment we'll be staying in.  It would be remiss of me if I didn't include a picture of the funiculars that are used for transportation up and down the steep hills of the city.

June 10th--  Back to the Lisbon airport to catch a flight to Madrid, the last leg of the honeymoon and the completion of our lap of southern Spain and Portugal.  We decided to really do it up with our hotel for the last leg, we're staying at the Hotel Plaza Mayor in the Suite del Palomar.  A weekend of fine art, wine, siestas, and tapas in Madrid; sounds like a good finale to a honeymoon to me.

June 13th--  We fly back to Richmond and start our married lives with our friends and family!

In the next days, weeks, months and hopefully years to come we'll be updating this page with more info on our honeymoon and all things travel and cultural.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Itinerant:  adj. Journeying; travelling from place to place: not fixed or stationary (OED).