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Journey of Belle Bride Hollydawn: Honeymoon Planning!

Happy Monday lovely people!   We are starting the week off with an update from Real Life Belle Bride Hollydawn, who will have you dreaming about far away travels and holiday destinations as Hollydawn tells us all about her honeymoon planning!

The post had me checking my planned trips for this year and searching for space to fit in a couple more adventures.  Bet those Monday morning blues as we go honeymoon planning with Hollydawn:

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Globe·trot  (glbtrt)

intr.v. globe·trot·ted, globe·trot·ting, globe·trots

To travel often and widely, especially for sightseeing.

This is a word that needs no commentary: two euphoric syllables that succeed where travel and adventure fail.  This tried-and-true nine-letter compound mocks trendy portmanteau (like blog and Wikipedia).  But how exactly does it fit in with wedding planning?  Only in the most fabulous way possible, the honeymoon!

It is no secret that G and I work to live and live to travel.  In our 3 short years together, we have explored 11 countries.  Our travel style is 10% see the big sights, 90% revel in the local delights.  With that, I present to you our honeymoon (alternatively titled ‘vincation’).

Basque-ing in the Sun

Unbeknownst to G, our vincation will begin just 2 days following our wedding.  The tentative plan is no plan. For one week, we will explore the Basque Coast in our iconic VW Camper (secretly rented from Belle Vie Campers).  The tech specs for the gearheads: 1971 Volkswagen Transporter Type 2a Kombi. Standard 1600cc air-cooled manual 4 speed unleaded petrol engine.

honeymoon planning campers francehoneymoon vw camper

Images courtesy of Belle Vie Campers

The destination details for the frequent flyers: Basque Country, or Euskal Herria, stretches nearly 100 miles from Bilbao, Spain north to Bayonne, France.  While generally shadowed by its Southern counterpart, Basque Country is a myriad of colorful fishing villages, defined by a unique national and cultural identity.

The Bay of Biscay just past the French border, and on the foot of the Pyrenees, is popular for its green hills and rugged coastline.  Not far from here, La Rioja is a name you may hazily recognize from a wine bottle.  What I find particularly interesting is that Basque Country is an autonomous state with their own language (not Castilian, but Basque).

G and I have a very close Basque friend who prides himself on teaching me simple Basque words in exchange for English lessons (episodes of Friends).  While I am less than a star pupil, I can count to five and am always eager to use ‘muxu’ (moo-shoe) which is the Basque equivalent of the French ‘bisous’ or English ‘xoxo’.

In terms of our honeymoon, the most intriguing Basque word is definitely: txiquiteo.   Txiquiteo is an unpronounceable verb that refers to characteristic Basque barhopping while enjoying pintxos and local wine.

Local bars compete by laying out the most attractive spread and serving the largest glasses of red.  I am certain in 5 days our travel thirst will be adequately quenched.

Pour me another Porto

As if Basque Country was not enough, I present to you part 2.  While this stretch of the vincation is not a surprise for G, it is still just as exciting.  To keep the holiday within our budget, we are flying low-cost carrier Ryanair and staying at an apartment we found on AirBnB.  As if in a twist of fate, our gracious hosts Olivia and Andre have just recently launched ‘Porto Sweet Home’, a travel guide of the city made by locals.

porto honeymoon

Porto Image from Porto Sweet Home

A quick browse already has me salivating over this cidade. It is the 1 European tourist destination of 2012, the 36th must-see city of 2013, home to the 10th best sandwich in the world, and houses the 3rd best bookshop on Earth.  Did I mention it is also a UNESCO world heritage site and the (obvious) source of Porto wine?  Tawny, ruby, rose, white, vintage, reserve, crusted, single quinta in a martini or served with shaved ice.  Like lyrics to a song, this list is stuck in my head.

honeymoon porto

Livraria Lello mage from Porto Sweet Home

Whilst I tend to ignore people who say ‘your wedding day is the most important day of your life’, I am embracing the honeymoon as our most important holiday.  G and I found focusing on the following 4 points made honeymoon planning a walk in the vineyard, it may even help some of you…

How Long

Whether you go long haul or local may very well be dictated by how long you have to honeymoon.  For G and I this decision was ruled by work.  With only 2 weeks we decided the closer to home, the better.

How Much

As with every aspect of wedding planning, establishing a budget is essential.  If it is low like ours, it takes a lot of the decision making out of the decision.  But don’t give up on what you want.  We secured flights that were originally double our budget for slightly below.  The trick is in the Ryanair Roulette.

Time of Year

On the heels of how much, this one is easy! If you have a wedding date, then you have your honeymoon season.  For us, Stockholm was a close contender but we both decided we would enjoy it much more with our snowboards.

What You Want to Do

Make a list, and check it twice.  Can you figure out what four-letter word topped ours?

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Be sure to check back in with Hollydawn in her last couple of posts in the final run up to the wedding.

Monique xx

Information:

Belle Vie Campers www.belle-vie.fr

Porto Sweet Home www.portosweethome.com