I haven’t even written about our wedding, and here I am writing about our honeymoon. I think I’m saving that post for our 1-year anniversary which is closer than I even realised. I lost my phone a few weeks ago, and with it a whole bunch of images. It’s sort of terrified me about backing up photos, memories and thoughts in other places other than my phone and external hard drives. I didn’t actually LOSE my phone. Someone followed me (and my kids) through a shop and stole it out of a bag in my trolley but hey. It’s gone.
I’ve always loved the feeling of journaling because it makes all your feelings and memories that much more tangible. As I sit here, I’m worried that I won’t remember all the beautiful and perfect little details of our honeymoon and it was only a few months ago? Like literally 2 or 3 months ago… and it’s already faded.
So anyway, Francois and I went to Italy together when we were semi-serious boyfriend-and-girlfriend. I remember that we had a big fight in Florence and I sulked for hoooooours, which is why I will absolutely never see the Arno river again. Traveling as husband and wife is sooooo much more fun (and even more romantic). For this Italian trip, we headed straight for our favourites: Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. I mean, we love Venice but we had been there twice before. I remember my first night in Venice, I ran to our hotel room to charge my phone and woke up the next day. I was so tired. Francois was furious haha. I’d always traveled alone before that trip, so it was really weird for me to do things WITH someone, but now I love it. I love experiencing destinations through him and his enjoyment, too. My favourite is after a long day of sights, we would pour a drink, watch the sunset and go through our photos of the day. That daily recap was the best!
So anyway, if you’re thinking about seeing Italy, then definitely see Venice. If you want to see the Amalfi Coast (Positano etc) then 100% stay in Sorrento and take ferries everywhere. Avoid Capri unless you’re a hardcore Camps Bay / Cafe Caprice type fan in which case you’ll love it. We hated it. Enjoy spending (literally, honestly) R350.00 on a drink for a mediocre view. I don’t want this post to be too “advicey” but you can go to Italy in the HEIGHT of season and you won’t be crowded in Sorrento or Atrani which are by far the most beautiful in Italy. If you’ve never been: go to Venice, Sorrento, Positano and Atrani in that order. You can land in Venice, take a train /ferry/road trip to Naples, then Sorrento, then a day trip to Positano, then a ferry to Amalfi and then Atrani is literally walking distance from there. T R U S T M E. If you’re super into art or history, then throw Rome in there. The Sistine Chapel and Colosseum are literally… colossal. I found Florence to be very hipster and undeservedly overcrowded, but hey. Maybe it was that fight. It’s *extremely* Cape Town.
Anyway, we headed straight to Sorrento for our honeymoon and checked in at the sweetest little (weirdly affordable) private, penthouse apartment.
Wait, sorry – backtrack.
We flew out to Italy and our plane stopped in Zambia to refuel or something. And then the plane wouldn’t start again. Hilariously, they did the whole “put it off, put it back on again” thing while we were grounded which was alarming but still didn’t work. We disembarked after a very short flight from Cape Town. This sucked for various reasons, but mostly because of Francois and I’s “travel tradition”. We like to hang at a bar and get pretty decently drunk before a night flight because 1. fun! and 2. you sleep better. This has led to circumstantial issues in the past, like when we flew from Venice to Cape Town and had an *extremely* boozy “goodbye Italy” lunch. That led to us having to disembark a ferry from Venice to the airport because they wouldn’t let Francois urinate off the side of the boat. Look, when you need to go – you need to go. We had to make a stop, then (obviously) had more drinks there, VERY nearly missed our flight and led to F getting so ‘joyous’ on the plane that he couldn’t understand why the air hostess (he literally referred to her as a waitress) wouldn’t serve him gin and tonics while we were still grounded. He then got all the passengers around us to join his party, which they obviously did.
We had such a fun time before our Cape Town -> Italy flight that we were fully prepared to pass out right after dinner, which we did. Very rudely, we were woken up about 2 hours later, bleary – boozey eyed and then had to face the bright lights of the Zambia airport. Even worse? Small airports’ coffee shops, restaurants and shops close at like, 6? There wasn’t a bottled water or cup of coffee in sight, so we just sat on the airport floor for like 3 hours while the airline tried to figure out where to put us all. It really, really, really sucked.
Positive side: They ended up putting us into a hotel, which I realised was literally RIGHT next to Victoria Falls and on the Zambezi’s doorstep / river bed? so I was in my element! I’ve always wanted to see both the abovementioned. We ended up spending 2 more (fully paid and fed) nights in Zambia while they booked new flights and honestly, we were fine. We made friends with other stranded passengers, did a magical Zambezi sunset cruise, went into Zimbabwe, saw Vic Falls, went to the Royal Livingstone and even the Vic Falls Hotel. We had so. much. fun. It was a very welcome and unexpected honeymoon surprise.
When we finally got to Sorrento we were buggered, elated and relieved. It was the first time that we booked a self-catering house and it was the BEST. We shopped at the local grocer and made our own dishes from Italian tomatoes, truffle oil, buttery pasta and parmesan. The best part? On our first night as Casa Correale, our stupid umbrella wouldn’t open (it was HOT) and I couldn’t figure out the airconditioning. I knocked on a neighbour’s door for ‘damsel in distress’ assistance and met our downstairs neighbour, Gerardo. He is a fantastic old man (late 80s) who lives alone in his g o r g e o u s apartment. It ended up that he owns our flat and he assisted us with everything we needed. We loved him so much that he invited us to see his apartment the next day (I die) and we invited him for drinks at our place, which ended up as a sing-along at HIS place (he used to be in a jazz band) and thus began a lifelong friendship between us. We still stay in touch with him with regular phone calls, voice notes and an open invitation for us to stay in that glorious penthouse apartment again, as his guests. We’re already planning our next trip! We love that man deeply and want to get a long-stay visa so we can pop over to him if he ever needs us.
Anyway, Sorrento is magical and if I can recommend ONE restaurant it would be what Gerardo recommended to us: The Five Sisters. You have never in your life had such authentic Italian food, which such a good view and the absolute worst service (depending on which sister you get). The 5 Di Leva Sisters restaurant is situated at Marina Grande which also happens to be the BEST spot in Sorrento! Honestly, I get teary just thinking about it as it was by far my favourite day in Italy, ever. The restaurant has been visited by the likes of Jamie Oliver and Sophia Loren, and it’s run by 5 obnoxious, charming, irritable, gorgeous and rude Italian mamas. They aren’t tourist-friendly. Nobody tries to upsell you. They aren’t interested in English. It’s kind of “come eat or go home, we don’t really care” attitude and it’s just so authentic and awful and wonderful all at the same time. Please go. Ignore the thousands of Trip Advisor reviews from the snooty English and just go. It’s definitely my most memorable dining experience of all time and the food is phenomenally authentic. We ended up having limoncellos with the sisters and they looooved Francois / Franco (everyone in Italy calls him Franco or Francesco)
From Sorrento, we did our usual (frightful, anxiety-clad) bus trip to Positano as a day trip. A bit later in our trip, we headed to Amalfi and then walked up the hill to Atrani which is (my God) the most beautiful, picturesque place I’ve ever seen. In my life. Ever. Atrani is tiny and consists of exactly what you see in the photos: One beach, one square. Maybe 5 restaurants and like 800 people. That’s it. And it’s magic. On our next trip to Italy, I’m heading straight for Sorrento and Atrani, without a doubt.
After Atrani, we headed to Rome. I was surprised at how much I loved this city. The Vatican City was mind-blowingly beautiful, but the queues are by far the worst I’ve seen in my life. Worse than the Louvre. Literally times it by a hundred. If you plan on going, please just pay the jump-the-line fee because nobody has time to stand in the sweltering heat for 2 – 3 hours. The Sistine Chapel is B R E A T H T A K I N G. I will always be extremely and wholeheartedly grateful that I got to see it in person. Everyone should. We didn’t go inside the Colosseum because it felt weirdly touristy, but just walking around it is magical. We also did a red bus tour of the city which really helps you gather your bearings. The Trevi Fountain is an actual joke in terms of tourists. But… having sundowners on a rooftop bar, overlooking the Colosseum is something that I will treasure foractualever.
Italy is insanely romantic. I have never perved on my gorgeous husband more. Seeing him all tanned and muscular, sporting vests and breaking a sweat in the heat while sipping on Spritz was… rewarding. You will feast on pizza, pasta, seafood, limoncello and spritz. You will swim in warm oceans, tan, love, feast and inhale the entire atmosphere of the beaches lined with lemon groves and sunshine. I could not have asked for a better honeymoon (or husband) and I can’t wait to do it all over again.
<side note> I gained somewhere around 7 – 10kg in Italy over two weeks. Yes, it’s possible. And it’s 100% worth it. You cannot go to Italy and not eat pizza, pasta and spritz every damn day. Three times a day. The food is carb-loaded, the drinks are sugary and it doesn’t matter how much you walk… you’re going to ROLL out of there happier, chubbier and tanned. Enjoy every living second! I just started losing all that extra weight and now we’re off to Paris and Portugal this week. I can’t wait to get fat and happy all over again! Right now, I’m still in the honeymoon phase of our marriage and I suspect I always will be.