5 years ago to this day, Ellen and I left for our honeymoon in Europe. All in all, we went to 5 cities in a little over 2 weeks and it is still one of our favorite trips ever (though of course we do love all our trips together haha). We often look back at that trip and talk about going back, and hopefully over the next couple of years we’ll have the opportunity to do so.
If you’re interested to read about all the places we went to and what we did, you can check out Ellen’s blog for detailed notes on each city. Today since I found myself thinking about that trip from 5 years ago, I decided to document it by listing down some of the memories that still stand out to me:
- I still remember arriving in London at night and having to navigate the subway station which had stairs and stairs and more stairs (where’s the escalators!). I laugh when I think of it because there I was at the bottom of the a long stairwell struggling to lift all our luggages (4 in all) when Ellen was already up ahead of me excitedly taking photos and taking it all in. This was 3 months after our wedding, 9 months since I went on a pre-wedding diet (Cohen Diet) and I lost a lot if not most of my muscle mass during that time due to not being allowed to exercise while on the diet. So as a result, my arms, shoulders, and back were so sore the whole trip especially during our transit from city to city having to carry our stuff across train stations and more stairs! Even our hotel in Paris had an elevator that can only fit two persons and no luggages were allowed. I tease Ellen about not helping me at all but in reality I wouldn’t want her to have to carry those heavy luggages too. I still remember laughing while carrying up the luggages because really, what other choice did I have without an elevator lol.
- On our first night in London after almost 24 hours traveling, we had tickets to watch Les Miserables. We were so excited to be exploring the city. We had a nice dinner (pasta and a soft chewy cheese pizza) right before the show. As soon as we finished dinner and sat down in our seats in the theatre, jet lag set in for us (but really more me) bad. The show was barely starting when my eyes were already feeling heavy. We laugh a lot when we talk about it now because we were really looking forward to watching Les Mis and there we were (or there I was) already snoozing (and yes even snoring) in the first act. We also had a hard time with the accent of the actors (or maybe we were just really sleepy) but either way it didn’t help matters. We ended up leaving midway otherwise I told Ellen she might have to carry me home to the hotel lol.
- We met with a lovely Filipino couple and their kids in Venice through the introduction of Ellen’s sister Ella. It was really heartwarming to experience Filipino hospitality across the world, from strangers who welcomed and treated us like we were long lost relatives. They even insisted on cooking dinner for us which we were initially hesitating on accepting as we did not want to inconvenience them. But they were very insistent (being that it was rare for them to have visitors from the Philippines) so we accepted their gracious offer. I’m glad we did because they made us Italian porkchops that were bigger than my face and it was so good and juicy!
- I ate so much tiramisu during that trip I think if someone tested my blood it would have been positive for mascarpone. In both Venice and Rome, every meal or snack, wherever it was, if there was tiramisu on the menu, it was getting ordered. Almost all of it were so good though and really makes you appreciate tiramisu made with the right ingredients.
- We went to Brussels for a day and ate in Chez Leon, which is famous for their mussels and fries. When the waiters found out we were from the Philippines, they excitedly showed us their guestbook where apparently two days ago, Jejomar Binay dined in as well. I guess they were disappointed when we didn’t show much enthusiasm about the whole thing haha.
- Paris was cold but we were so not ready for how much colder it was in Versailles. We wanted to take more photos of the palace grounds but we were freezing to death already so we kept going inside to warm our hands and faces then stepping outside for a few minutes then going back again. We stood beside a heater giggling and laughing most of the time we were there.
- We witnessed the Canonisation of Pedro Calungsod, a Filipino saint! That was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in my life. Despite not being Catholic, it was still an incredible experience to be there to celebrate the life of a person who lived a life in service of others. And what made it more fun was running into our wedding godparents Ninong Alex and Ninang Pat with their church group right there at the Vatican grounds! We knew they were going to be in Rome around the same time but we did not coordinate or make plans to meet because we figured what are the chances of seeing each other there amidst thousands of people. But as we went down the cab and walked towards the square where people were lining up to get seats, I looked forward at the same time Ninong Alex randomly looked back from where they were waiting in line and we somehow saw each other. Talk about luck!
Thinking back to all those moments though, what stands out to me the most is that we were in a way lucky that social media was not as it is now. We had our roaming on in case we need to reach our families as well as for work since construction for the first Early Bird branch was starting at that time. We’d check emails and chat with people back home when we’re in the hotel. But we weren’t on our phones much during the trip when we were out except to take photos from time to time. We’d look at each other while we’re eating and had good conversations uninterrupted by the need to update or post something or even notifications. We took in all of the surroundings wherever we went to, whether we were at a cafe in Paris watching people rush by or in Venice watching the sunset while listening to a string quartet performing nearby.
That’s something that makes me look back fondly at that honeymoon trip. Being around the world but also being in a world of our own, finding new places and experiences while getting lost in the moments only the two of us shared.