Sunday, July 05, 2009

secret 5 - honeymoon(s)

i've been on three honeymoons. two were my own and one was a friend's. (and i'm going to present them out of order.) EDITED: i'm highlighting the friend's honeymoon. because it's really unusual for someone to go on their friend's honeymoon (there have been misunderstandings on this point so i felt i had to explain, tho' one would have thought that was rather obvious).

honeymoon #1: the starter husband and i went to vancouver for our honeymoon. that trip is when i had the only good white asparagus i've ever had--in a restaurant called the hermitage, where the chef was the former chef of the king of belgium. other than that, all i really remember is a trip to a japanese garden that was so peaceful and beautiful the memory of the atmosphere stays with me very clearly even today.

honeymoon #3: what i think of as my real honeymoon, when husband and i went to london for a quick weekend getaway after we got married on his birthday in 1999. he was at the military academy and could only take one day off, so we got married in a very small, very private ceremony then shared a glass of champagne with his solder friends who had shown up to make an arch of swords for us and ran off to the airport. we had a wonderful weekend wandering around london and being madly in love.


honeymoon #2: my friend gabi's honeymoon. in truth, i wrote about this a long time ago before anyone was reading my blog, but it's such a good secret, i had to use it anyway. i also previously told the story of getting my visa for the trip in this post if you're interested.

it sounds a bit strange to say i went on someone else's honeymoon, but in all fairness, gabi and i had planned the trip to visit our friends in kazan together and then she suddenly decided to marry her longtime boyfriend. since she already had the trip planned and the friends were expecting us, they turned it into their honeymoon. however, i already had tickets and my visa, so i went along too.

it was a wonderful trip. we flew to moscow and took the 13-hour train ride to kazan. you can see us drinking tea on the train above. i completely adore russian trains and some of my fondest memories are from journeys on trains in russia. i can highly recommend them.


we met up with our friends in kazan and i went off with my pals and left the honeymooners to themselves. i vaguely recall that we bought some vodka in a kiosk (big mistake) and proceeded to have an evening full of toasts and laughter. the next day, some other friends came to pick me up and take me to their dacha, but i couldn't really stop throwing up after all that really bad vodka. i meekly took some truly awful black substance that i think contained a lot of coal which was handed to me to try to help me stop throwing up (i was weak and defenseless) and then spent the rest of the day recovering at the dacha, which was beautiful and idyllic.

a few days later, i rejoined gabi and her husband and we boarded a beautiful old 1950s steamer for a cruise up the volga river to moscow. that was a truly wonderful trip. long, beautiful summer days, interesting stops along the way. i still have a handmade basket that i bought from an elderly woman all clad in black who was selling baskets and mushrooms she had found in the forest.

we were the only foreigners onboard the cruise and i remember a long conversation with an elderly gentleman who informed me that all americans are black, tall and played basketball, because that was the impression he'd gotten from the NBA. he was surprised and a little disappointed that i was none of those things and i think he may not really have believed me that i was american. he kept asking if i wasn't from the baltic states.  that probably had more to do with him not expecting an american to speak russian and my strange accent, which was always being called prebaltika by various russians. i don't know why i'd have a baltic accent in russian, but apparently i do.

time slowed down there on the volga. it stretched out in a very good way. there was time for writing in my journal, sketching, reading, exploring long-abandoned old manor houses and churches along the banks of the volga. lots of time for talking to people, hearing their stories. drinking countless cups of tea and the occasional glass of vodka. the locks were fascinating, as were beaches where people swam next to signs saying "danger zone." all of the contrasts and beauty and vastness of russia were there. i loved every minute of it.


in some ways, it was actually my friend's honeymoon that was the best of the three i've been on. that's a little bit funny, isn't it? maybe because there were far less expectations attached to it than to the "real" ones. and maybe there's a lesson for all of us in that. tag along on your friend's honeymoon. you'll have a great time.

15 comments:

Eternally Distracted said...

Didn't want to mention that fact that your 'real' honeymoons were summed up in 6 or 7 lines and your friends one was an epic tale!! I am due to be married next year so will spend the rest of the afternoon deciding who to take :0)

julochka said...

ED - that was the intention. i thought it was best to highlight the unusual one. :-)

B said...

I was thinking exactly that before I read your last paragraph, that your friend's honeymoon sounded great, but probably because there were no expectations!
Although walking around London madly in love sounds good to me too!

Upon-Request.com said...

Love this post! I had a starter husband... got married in Vegas and never went on a honeymoon per se. Maybe that was a telltale sign in itself?? ;)

Kamana said...

i went on my aunt's honeymoon with her too. she is only 5 years older than me and she got married the year we finished school. so somehow my sister and i also ended up accompanying my aunt and her new husband on their honeymoon. now i think its absurd, but then it was brilliant!

spudballoo said...

Fantastic, I love this secret! THREE? Fabulous....I kind of wish someone had come with me and my first husband on our honeymoon. TBH it was a bit dull. Should have known...

Honeymoon in SA with MrSpud was amazing, we cried when we flew home!!

C. E. said...

I've only just come across your blog, but what I have read I love. This secret here is wondrous. Going on a friend's honeymoon (which I at first thought was highly unusual) seems to allow one the freedom and calm to actually enjoy the smallest aspects of the experience. You're right: there are no expectations.

Maybe when I get married I will have a double honeymoon. Two couples enjoying their new marriages together and possibly having a more joyous time (a stronger marriage?) because of it.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
A Newcomer.

Polly said...

Sailing down Volga river is very unusual, not just at honemoon. It must have been fascinating and a totally different world. I remember I was in shock when I visited Ukraine in 1990s and I come from Eastern Block country...

Romantic weekend in London sounds wonderful... I want one too!

Char said...

love the stories - I can remember we were so poor when we got married we went to Bham (about 90 miles away) and stayed in a Hilton (we thought that was such a big deal).

Mary Ellen said...

I'm having such fun being taken down your memory lanes. Thanks!

McGillicutty said...

I too went on my friends honeymoon but her hubby wasn't there!!! He chickened out a month before planned wedding and honeymoon which he'd already paid for, Lisa and I turned it into a girls holiday and I met my husband on there in Mallorca!!! kinda ironic huh??

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

Even though it was with the starter husband, you really did start out well on your first honeymoon picking Vancouver and all!

Sammi said...

That is quite random, actually. Nice secret, fantastic pictures

Amanda said...

What a great trip with your friends! I love how peaceful and seren it sounds by your description.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Three great stories! Thanks.
I never really had a honeymoon. We got married and then my husband left the next day for a business trip in Paris-- without me :-) Believe me, I've never let him forget that fact :-) Maybe I need to start checking my friends' honeymoon plans and tag along. your sounded great!