In the weeks leading up to the wedding and at the wedding, I was asked hundreds of times, “where are you going on your honeymoon?”
To which I answered: “I don’t know! It’s a surprise!”
Those who know me well were concerned…they know I don’t like the unexpected. But this was different. I knew J2 had planned everything to a T, and Ruthie (who was in on all the secrets) told me what to pack.
We headed to Charleston on New Year’s Eve. I had guessed this part of the week, as J2 had originally planned on flying out of Charleston. We stayed in a quaint bed and breakfast downtown and enjoyed the warm weather and walked all over the city I love so much. I forgot to bring the camera on all our excursions so we have no pictures from this portion.
New Years Eve we enjoyed the most amazing meal I’ve had in a really long time at Charleston Grille (also the location for Gwen and J1’s engagement three years ago to the day). Can I just tell you about the venison they served? I like venison…as a rule, but it’s kind of gamey, and can be tough. This, however, was absolutely-melt-in-your-mouth-tender, not at all gamey, and much tastier than the beef tenderloin that they served in the next course. Wow. And the ceviche…oh good heavens. I wanted to drink the broth in which it was served. And then there was dessert. By this time, J2 and I are absolutely stuffed and not fully able to enjoy it, but they had this chocolate hazelnut, umm, thing…I do not know what it was called, but even J2, who claims he isn’t a chocolate guy, was pretty amazed, and finished mine for me. And that was the extent of our New Years Eve celebration. We were asleep by 10:30.
Sunday morning, I introduced J2 to Sanctuary, the church I love so much. Shawn, the pastor, is the one who conducted our ceremony, and since we were in Charleston, how could we not go? It was a small crowd due to the holiday, but it was good to be home.
And then we were off, bright and early Monday morning, before light, headed towards Charlotte, and then J2 couldn’t keep it in any longer and made me guess where we were going, using clues that I didn’t get. So I guessed Switzerland or Austria, and Vienna, Austria it was, with a promise of one of Mozart’s operas and touring churches and castles.
Side note: We flew Charlotte to Toronto and Toronto to Vienna. J2 and I are experienced travelers and we both agreed that the flight from Toronto to Vienna had the weirdest vibe we’d ever experienced. The man directly in front of us stood the WHOLE time in the aisle (well…anytime the seatbelt sign was off). Then, halfway through the flight, the man two rows in front of us passed out…but his wife didn’t speak English or German, and we couldn’t tell if he was choking and he was next to the window and was hard to reach, so this random woman and I ended up pulling him (all 250+ pounds of him) into the aisle….he came to on the way and was very angry to find two random strangers yanking on him. They moved him to first class where the flight attendants kept an eye on him and alerted Viennese authorities. They had an ambulance waiting when we landed. He seemed to be ok and his wife was calm when we got off the plane. WEIRD situation. I don’t know who the other woman was, but we worked well together without much communication. (J2 couldn’t believe that the two of us pulled this man out into the aisle without assistance….apparently adrenaline does work as a strength booster).
Anyway, we landed in time for breakfast, which the hotel kindly served us. 🙂 We spent the next couple of days walking all over Vienna, getting lost up and down streets, walking in and out of churches, seeing the monument to the Holocaust and the Hapsburg “apartments,” and eating Wiener Schnitzel (yum) and potato salad. Thursday night was the climax, with the Marriage of Figaro, in the theater where Mozart first introduced it.
Friday morning we headed towards Vicenza, on the train. We were supposed to change trains in Innsbruck and then Verona. About an hour outside of Innsbruck, they informed us that the line was broken and we’d have to take the bus. We stood on a packed bus for over an hour and missed our train to Verona by about three minutes. So we sat in the train station and ate McDonalds cheeseburgers and drank their coffee until we caught the next train to Verona. The two and a half hour train ride turned into four hours as we sat at the top of the Alps on the Brenner Pass (I would have enjoyed it had it been light and if I could have taken pictures, but it was dark and snowy.)
We landed in Verona at I don’t even know what time and discovered there was a train leaving in three minutes headed towards Vicenza. So we ran downstairs and then upstairs, dragging our fifty pound suitcases, and walked onto the train…a minute before it left.
And then we were there, in Vicenza, at 11:30 pm, 16 hours from the time we left the hotel in Vienna. We walked home through yellow lit streets, with Christmas lights still hung, to J2’s sweet old apartment.
The honeymoon was officially over when J2 went back to work on Monday. But, I’ll let you in on a secret: we’ve made every weekend a continuation of the honeymoon, and we’re making the most of it. 🙂