(cross post - see link at bottom)
Rye finally decided that the time had come. That’s right folks, he was ready. (a little rye commentary: It's not that I wasn’t ready. I told you…. "AFTER CHRISTMAS"… I am a man of my word!!)
This week we sat down and started putting some serious thought into what we would like to do on our honeymoon and where we would like to stay. We had ideas, but now we just needed a plan that was sure to work. We only had one place outstanding, and that was Llafranc, Spain. This tiny coastal resort town (I’d even venture to say, village), is beautiful and serene. I visited there as a child (about 10, I think) for 3 weeks with my aunt and while I didn’t really know it at the time, it was a location I would never forget. 17 years later, I’m itching to return, so much so that I am honestly not sure how I will wait patiently until August. I was so happy when Ryan agreed that it was a good idea to make this not only a stop but the very first leg of our trip.
There is altogether nothing to do in Llafranc, which is fabulous. There are some coastal hikes, and snorkeling, which we haven’t ruled out - but to really visit things, you would have to leave the village and we don’t want to…our plan is to spend our three days there, relaxing on the beach and enjoying the Mediterranean. This is where we will recoup from the wedding just three days earlier and the flight, so we can really make the most of the rest of the vacation because it’s going to be fast paced (Rye and I have trouble sitting still on vacation)! If I could make a recommendation, it would be to encourage all of you to Google Streetview Llafranc…so fresh, SO adorable! I’m as giddy as a 6 year old!
After our time there we will head up the coast towards France visiting a little along the way but ultimately ending up at our next home base in Fréjus, France (right next to Saint-Raphael). As you may or may not already know, our hotel is an establishment that my parents have frequented a couple times now and are big fans of. It is run by a couple who, rumour has it, dote on their guest incessantly…obviously, I can’t wait! From Fréjus, we plan on day tripping to Monte Carlo, Monaco and some surrounding villages that flaunt Roman ruins and beautiful sights. We also plan on visiting Nice, taking a 2 hour cruise out of Cannes and hanging out to see the fireworks there one night as well. We also want to visit a vineyard, the ruins in Fréjus itself and *possibly* doing some relaxing on the beach while we are there too! (Hence, why the relaxing was slotted at the beginning of the trip!) After our week in Fréjus, we will be moving towards Italy, Lake Como to be specific.
We will be setting up camp (I almost spit out my coffee…Camp! like hell!), or rather dropping our copious amounts of luggage off at the Hotel Bellagio in, well, you guessed it, Bellagio. Apparently, there isn’t a whole lot to do here either, but to take in the sights and sounds of the lake nestled in the mountains. Needless to say, we will certainly get some variety out of the trip! We can take the ferries around to the other villages, and eat and shop and do whatever other mindless wandering we want… because that’s what there is to do there – and that’s perfect too! We can use these few days as a way to recoup from the week we spent scouring the Cote d’Azur.
From Lake Como, we head back towards France. We are going to drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel, which is so very exciting, and head towards Chamonix-Mont Blanc. This is home to (the Mont Blanc) the highest peak in Europe and we’re going uppit!! From Chamonix there is a Gondola you can take part of the way up the mountain, then there is an elevator of sorts to take us ‘most’ of the rest of the way (you didn’t honestly think I would climb it, did you?). I’m anxious for snow in August (don’t groan, it’s only at the top!!), only to be able to watch it disappear again on the way down. From the top though, there is also a 45 minute (each way) gondola ride over the mountains, to Helbronner point (read: mountain station in Italy), how fun to cross the border via gondola high above the world! After all that we head back to Chamonix by retracing our steps. I’m sure Ryan will be fine with the heights and not have a heart attack…it will be fine, really. Also from Chamonix we can take the train to Montenvers, where we hitch a ride on another gondola to go to the Mer de Glace Glacier. Every year there is a tunnel built into the glacier which can be visited (and WILL be visited…because really, how cool?). After all that is said and done, I plan on either some raclette or cheese fondue a la Suisse because Chamonix is very swiss, and right next door.
From here, we head north and land (park) in Strasbourg, France, on the German border. We will spend a couple days here, and intend on using this as a bit of a home base as well. We may venture into Germany a little, aside from strictly visiting Strasbourg. We haven’t decided exactly what to do here yet, but it’s sure to *not* disappoint!
On the final leg of our trip we will be heading back towards Paris. We will stay with my Nannie and visit a little (although she is flying in for the wedding too) and visit some things in Paris that we either didn’t get to do last time or that we would like to do over. On the way back though, we intend on making a pit stop in Reims, where my dad was born. I want to, finally after all these years, visit the Cathedral and I would also like to stop in, to Veuve Clicquot to see how the liquid gold is made…if they’ll have me!
That’s pretty much it; we’ll be flying out of Paris a few days later and heading home to face the music. After being gone all that time (both physically and mentally after executing the wedding), I’m not sure how I will function anymore… I guess only time will tell!
Stay turned for more when we get back…I am hoping to flood you with pictures!
ETA: I wanted to add in some information regarding our favorite travel dvds, they have been our go to source for info during our planning of this fantastic trip. Rick Steves' Europe series is a great resource and oh so tempting!
Cross post on wedding website - http://www.mywedding.com/ryeandmich/blog.html