Friday, November 9, 2012

my life : the honeymoon

Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read:


The wedding was over.  All that planning and preparation and anticipation - done.  We were both very thankful to have a vacation happening immediately after all the stress of the big day!

After our Saturday evening wedding celebration, we had all day Sunday before we left on our honeymoon Monday morning.  We spent that day enjoying an awesome brunch with my family and a few other out-of-town guests, then doing gift opening back at our house with various family members.

That night there was some last minute packing, and in the morning we were off!

Where did we choose to go?  Well, the trip was completely on our dollar {which we didn't have any actually dollars actually saved yet} so we couldn't do anything too extravagant.  We had yet to pay off all my student loans, a car, a credit card or two, and not to mention the wedding loan we just had to take out.  We had yet to save up an emergency fund, car funds, and travel funds.  Pretty much we had to keep it fairly simple in order to not add a lot to our current debt.  So no private villas on an island, or pricey European getaways.  We had already done a cruise recently, and been to Mexico together, so neither of those options interested us.  

So, in keeping with the "wine theme" we planned an seven day trip to California, to spend four days in Napa, and three days in San Francisco.   Neither of us had been to 'wine country' and since we were both really into wine,  it sounded unique, romantic and fitting for us.  We were both really excited!

One thing I am really thankful for in our relationship is how compatible we are as travel partners.  There is no one I would rather adventure with than Paul.  We knew this going into our marriage, as we had done plenty of travel together beforehand.   While we both love to see the major sights, explore, and try new things...we also enjoy the simple things.  Sitting on the beach for hours, drinking and people watching.  Camping.  Vegging out in the hotel room and even ordering a pizza.  

Our honeymoon was no exception.  We really had a wonderful time together.   It was the relaxing, indulgent, and blissful week that I'm sure most newlyweds enjoy.  

We flew into San Francisco and rented a convertible.  It was a terrifyingly blinding bright yellow Mustang...but as long as we could feel the wind in our hair, it would do just fine.

I did not drive.  At all.

We drove from San Fran to Napa, stopping in the actual city of Napa to check it out and get dinner.  We ate tapas and drank wine {of course} at this lovely little place:

We arrived at our first bed and breakfast we would stay at in Napa, which Hubby had carefully chosen, in the early evening, just as the sky was turning from pink to purple.  It was a lovely chalet-style building, surrounded by vineyards.  Grape vines as far as the eye could see.

That night we explored the grounds, took a dip in the jacuzzi, made a fire in the large stone fireplace, and relaxed after our day of travel.  The next morning we enjoyed a huge breakfast in the dining room, visited with the owner and the other guests, and then made our way to our next destination - a completely different style of bed and breakfast.  This one right in the quaint town nearby, a lovely old historic home, with very antique decor.  I'm not sure it was necessarily Paul's cup of tea, but I adored the place.  Absolutely lovely in every way.  Nice pick for your new bride, Hubby!

Vintage picnic basket filled with breakfast was left by our door each morning.
The basket had three compartments filled with deliciousness...
After we had checked in and gotten settled, our limousine arrived.  I state this not to sound fancy, but to point something out:  If you plan to visit more than four wineries in one day, it is a really good idea to have someone else driving.  You may get intoxicated really fast!  So limo it was, which was a really fun and romantic way to do it.  {If you'll remember I never went to prom, so I never got the fancy limousine experience then.}  I relished every moment of our day in the limo!
oh no!  gaucho pants!

Drinking in the beauty of California's wine country...

during a gondola ride up to a hillside winery
The next day we took it a little easier, decided to drink less and drive ourselves around.  We went to a lovely winery with a modern design with art adorning the walls to match{Artesa}; a quaint, very private winery that we got a nearly private tour of and was set in the woods {Chappellet - our favorite!} the massive, amazing vineyards of Robert Mondavi, and then, because it was one of our favorite wines at the time, we ended up at Clos Du Val.

Here some photographs from that second day...

sniffing the bunghole.  yes, they are really called that.

nerdy honeymoon pose!
in the mondavi tasting room
had to walk through the woods to get to one winery - so cool!  Except that I was wearing four inch heels...
1981 - a good year

Our last night in Napa we did a fancy, romantic dinner.  Considering the night before we had ordered pizza, we were both excited for a big night out!  (Don't be shocked, we end up ordering pizza and watching a movie one night of every vacation we go on, no matter where it is.)

I don't remember what restaurant we dined at, but when the wine glass is as big as my head (and I have a large head) then I know I like it.

um, clearly I am tired and intoxicated.
After our time in Napa, we headed back to San Francisco, where we would finish out the final three days of our trip.  On the way we stopped in a beautiful ocean town for lunch:

Made it to our hotel in downtown San Francisco, the Westin St. Francis.  The weather for most of our time in the city was pretty foggy and very windy!  This view from our room shows the foggy skies.

One night in San Fran we had dinner at a crazy, yet fabulous dinner theater show, recommended to us by one of our friends that used to live there.

We also, of course, went to Alcatraz, which was pretty interesting.  Hubby especially loves the historic audio tours when we go places like this.
Hubby loving the audio tour of the jail.

Fisherman's Wharf was fantastic for fish fanatics like us.  We feasted unapologetically on large quantities of seafood and beer...
and fresh bread.  Gotta have my carb fix...
And then it was time to venture home.   To our new life.  It had been six years of on-again, off-again dating and a nine month engagement culminating in a beautiful, yet improbable, marriage.

After all that, the honeymoon, as they say, was over.

The adventure of marriage was beginning...and oh, what an adventure those first few years were!

You know those couples who always look picture perfectly happy, who claim they never fight, and everything is simply blissful?

Yeah, that's not us.  Just keepin' it real, folks.

Marriage be hard.

And beautiful.  And sometimes more beautiful because it is so hard.

Up next: Newlyweds