Friday, 12 July 2013

Come with me on a journey to exotic lands -- Honeymoon travel possibilities with Denise.

Hello there RFWers and friends.

One of my other writing outlets is as a travel writer. I've been published in travel magazines in Australia but I've yet to hit the big time, like Conde's Nest, lol, but as I get more time...ah, when is that?...I will be submitting more...and another of my goals is to write a travel narrative to add to my huge collection!

There was a clunky, funky hit song on the radio when I was a kid -- "I've Been Everywhere, Man" (I think it was originally released, like, in the sixties, man...but was picked up by Johnny Cash of all people at a later time.) Well that song sums it up -- Aussies are intrepid travellers, probably because as one of our Prime Ministers said, "we inhabit the "'a?r**se' end of the world". So we jump on planes with great regularity and meander through the delights of Asia, the mind-boggling history and architecture of Old Europe and exotic African and Middle Eastern lands etc. As the plane fares to just about anywhere are atrociously expensive (takes about 21 hours to get to Paris from Brisbane!), when we hit the ground we go like blazes and eat it up, a bit like Crocodile Dundee in New York, hahahah.

So I've travelled to many lands, and hopefully I will travel to many more. I've been to the UK several times, Western Europe even more times, and Africa once, but have never put my feet into the good ole USofA, sorry Donna. Those Homeland Security guys scare me big time, haha.

Anyway, my point is to point out that there are many countries to travel to and enjoy, but not all are great honeymoon destinations, unless you're both into danger, sleeping rough and difficult customs to get your head around. If you're going to be true to the meaning of 'honeymoon' where you hide away and drink mead as Donna explained to us in her history post,

Let's face it some of us probably had our 'honeymoon' many moons ago -- I got married at 19, yes, I repeat, 19 -- and am still married to the same fella. We grew up together and have had several honeymoons, but the first one was low-budget travel up and down the Queensland coast. Well, many of the Great Barrier Reef islands we visited now have very ritzy resorts for well-heeled honeymooners, but back in the day, we had all that paradise to ourselves. Queensland is a big state, so we travelled 4,000 miles in our classic Customline.



A long way from...

France or Italy, two of my favourite places...

So thinking of honeymoon destinations today, I would want more of a fantasy -- like some mead-drinking time in a pretty French village with trips to Paris thrown in, (La Roche Guyon is a favourite -- 6 kilometres from Monet's Garden and 1 hour from Paris). Driving through country France is delightful. A sunset stop at Chartres is memorable as you'd swear the cathederal was crafted, as is a walk through the bottom of town to see where ladies once washed the clothes in the river.

The River Eure in Chartres, France, where the washer ladies once did their laundry

What a delight to see Monet's Water Lilies out of the frame - Monet's Garden is magical no matter what the season. I've been there in both winter and summer.

La Roche-Guyon - friendly locals to play petanque with, stunning setting along the Seine, best  regional food in France at the hotel/restaurant we stayed at overlooking the river, IMHO

How about visiting Juliet's garden and standing on her balcony or writing her a letter  in the gorgeous Verona, Italy. Such an under-rated destination.

My husband and I have had fabulous trips to Italy, completely fascinated by the gorgeous medieval hill towns and all that history. Remember, Australia was not even discovered until late medieval times. Who can ever forget seeing Ancient Rome, seeing Verona, Romeo + Juliet's hometown, or boating to some of those gorgeous Italian islands like Capri?

Capri, Italy, a short boat ride from wild Napoli (Naples) We wintered there once and it was still magical.

Oh, how about an island off Italy for that first, second or third honeymoon? Sounds good to me. I've found an island which is simply a fantasy waiting for fairy dust. It was good enough for Napoleon, so it's good enough for me.

I often choose travel destinations according to books I've read -- I visited Tuscany before Frances Mayes wrote her Under the Tuscan Sun, but I went back and visited Cortona just because of her gorgeous descriptions (which describe hundreds of Italian medieval hilltowns), but it added a little fillip to the trip.

Cortona, a medieval hill city, full of history and great coffee
But how about visiting a place made famous in a spy novel for a change -- The Isle of Elba, a small Mediterranean island famous as Napolean's getaway and as the setting for John le Carre's The Constant Gardener (Ralph Fiennes).

THE ISLE OF ELBA



Honeymoon heaven. Lovers strolling hand in hand, cyclists with wobbly legs pumping up and down cliff-like paths, old ladies hanging washing out of windows and absolutely gob-smacking scenery -- wine and olive estates running down to the sea below the ruins of a medieval fortress. Cool. The perfect hideaway. Maybe you could find a spot to curl up with your laptop and write?!

John le Carre's reluctant hero hid out here in a beautiful old estate called La Chiusa di Magazzine. There are a few cottages to rent. If you're lucky enough to find the other cottages empty, you will be in seventh heaven if you like rustic quarters with grapes ripening in the sun, birdsong in the morning, a limpid blue sea and the sound of waves lapping on a pebble beach (well, I prefer golden sand, but I'd be happy to slum it just one time). There are glorious sunsets over the ancient fortified harbour of Portoferraio, and you must wonder why Napolean ever left for St Helena. Crazy little guy.

When to go. This island is at its best in spring and autumn, with hills swathed in chesnut and pine,  throbbing with colour. Everyone is languorous (love that word) and you can spend your days walking up a thirst which you can slake at the restaurants and bars lining quiet quays and beaches.

Ah...sounds idyllic, doesn't it? But, really, we don't all have the desire to travel to exotic places, do we? Some of you may be happy in your own little paradise...or perhaps you'd like to travel, but due to commitments or lack of funds, it's out of the question...for now. Reading about exotic places can transport us to places we'd love to see, watching videos can also bring places to life. But wherever you honeymoon, or would choose to honeymoon, a loving partner by your side guarantees a wonderful experience. A sunset in Capri is best shared with someone you love. (I have so many gorgeous photos of this experience but they're on another computer.)

So just this morning my good fella and I finalised our planning for our  next Grand Tour for the end of 2013 beginning of 2014 -- Paris, Crete, Spain and Portugal. What are you doing for Christmas?? Any trips planned?


21 comments:

  1. Would love to visit both Australia and USA both someday. And South America and more of Africa, haha where to stop? If honeymooners are both into history then a trip to ME (not at the mo though), India, China is absolute heaven!

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    1. Nilanjana it would be great if you visited Australia...and the US of course. The world is mighty big and we can only hope to see a small part. Any trip is exciting!

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  2. Lovely places, I've been to France a few times and loved it - Paris with kids and without. Italy is somewhere I would love to visit but funding is short - maybe one day.

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    1. Italy is amazing but Paris touches something in me. Different places resonate with different people.

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  3. Great choices all, thanks Denise.

    I've got my characters and location. I can guarantee that no one on planet earth has ever traveled to my location. Intrigued? I'll be writing it over the weekend so it will soon be posted. No money or passport required, just a great imagination.
    Nancy

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    1. Aha, exactly what I expected from you Nancy!

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  4. Travel writer! So awesome and the pictures - beyond that! We haven't even had a real vacation in years, something has got to change cause several honeymoons. Envious!

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    1. I hope you get a real vacation soon but I am sure you are pretty busy with your books!

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  5. You know my travel habits, but maybe I'll photoshop myself into some of your photos, they look great!

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    1. To each his own Charmaine. Maybe in the future we will be transported magically to places so we don't have to fly!

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  6. July 13th, 2013

    Great post about places that I would love to visit.

    As a tourist, I have visited both Paris and Rome. But I think I would really enjoy visiting the UK, and meeting some of my blogging acquaintances there.

    Lots of work to do at home. I wish I could write a story about it all, but it is just too bizarre and does not fit the theme of 'Honeymoon' at all! Maybe I should write it down anyway and save it for October's Challenge!

    Best wishes,
    Anna

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    1. Honeymoon can be used in other contexts too...such as you had a honeymoon period with all your kitties but now the honeymoon might be coming to an end, lol!

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  7. Someday I want to visit the Great Barrier Reef. I think it is best explored underwater, but not sure I'll ever be brave enough for scuba diving. My brother was a navy frog-man and he said it was one of the most beautiful sites he ever saw. He never wanted to come up. Luckily he met no Mermaids . .

    I wish I had been able to visit Capri when I was in Italy. God, it was so long ago - about 30 years - I barely remember it. Except the exotic feelings in my memories.

    Awesome that you have been able to travel so extensively. When we lived in Germany we traveled several European countries, but I really haven't traveled the US as I should. Someday when I retire I'm hoping load up in a travel trailer and head to where ever the mood takes me. I may be too old to drive by then though, lol.

    Awesome post Denise. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    .......dhole

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    1. Hey Donna, if you ever get to the Great Barrier Reef that would be awesome. It is under threat from farming and other environmental problems, so I hope it lasts the distance.

      Like Australia, the US is a mighty big country, and would take a long time to explore. Many Aussies dream of hiring a classic car and driving Route 66. I'd be happy to! Have seen most of Australia I"m happy to say. Any bits I've missed can wait till I'm 80, lol!

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  8. What a lovely blog, Denise! I will need some time to explore it properly, but I loved this post, especially with the descriptions and photos of places I haven't yet been to in Europe. I've never been to Australia, but you are now adding to the reasons why I should make that momentous journey. I'm a bit afraid of really long flights, but who knows, I might make it one day! I lived in South Africa for twenty years and loved it there. I miss it very much as well, but as you say, there are so many wonderful places to travel to!

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    1. Thanks so much Val! Please visit! The flight is definately killer! But so worth it.

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  9. Hi Denise .. you have been many places and from the travel posts you've written - you tell us much.

    Elba is gorgeous I had a holiday there as a late teenager .. we were lucky with all things ..

    There are so many fabulous places to see - and England on days like today is glorious .. full sun, beautiful tiny fields ... and green - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks so much for your visit Hilary. So exciting to know someone who has been to Elba.

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  10. Wow am I jealous! Don't get me wrong, i'm grateful for the places I've been. But it's a small list in comparison to everywhere you've traveled to! This makes me long for another stamp in my passport so badly.

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    1. Can't wait to get more stamps either!

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  11. Oh, those water lilies! How I'd love to see them in person. I enjoy Monet so much. :)

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