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How To Survive Your First Cruise Ship Experience

This weekend we spend three days and two nights on the MSC Sinfonia cruise ship. Glen was invited to perform at a charity event on the ship and I got to tag along. You have to understand how amazing the timing was: the cruise was on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and then on Monday we celebrated our two year anniversary.

When I was a kid I joined my parents on a five hour ferry trip from England to France. We didn’t have a cabin, and I was so young that my brother and I spent more time in the kids facilities than anywhere else. A couple of years ago, Glen and I also did a sunset cruise at the V & A Waterfront, which was a couple of hours long. Other than these two experiences, I had never done a “real” cruise until this weekend. So I thought I’d share some tips on things to be aware of before you embark on your own cruise experience.

We took a lot of photos [because I’m usually “that person”] and I hope you like them!

1. Don’t park at the harbour

If the harbour you have to find is anything like Cape Town Harbour, there is limited parking and it’s not secure. If it is secure parking, you’re most likely going to pay per hour for three days of parking. Rather get dropped off or take an Uber.

2. Remember to keep your ID and printed tickets with you

I didn’t realise that getting onto the ship would be such a process. The harbour has terminals, security and everything else you’d expect to encounter at an airport. You don’t just hop onto the boat, like you might have imagined. Keep your ID easily accessible and have your printed tickets at hand too. Once you’re on the boat, there are a few things you might not be able to access without a cruise card (which is usually not going to be available immediately). This is where your printed ticket comes in handy.

3. Handle seasickness before it occurs

It doesn’t matter if you usually get motion sickness or not, just follow my advice and take some kind of medication before getting onto the ship, and carry on doing so during the cruise. Glen and I didn’t feel seasick at all while we were on the ship, but I began to feel sick once we were back on land. My body is still adjusting to the swaying motion, but things could have been so much worse if I wasn’t taking anything on the ship. I was told to look for Trip-Ease, which sadly wasn’t available, so I found something else that works the same way. It’s a natural motion sickness medication that worked really well and didn’t leave me feeling like I had to take a long nap.

4. Take a look at the ship’s floorplan before you get on

This will give you an idea of what to expect when you arrive. For example: is there a gym or some other form of physical activity which might require gym clothes? Is there a fancy restaurant you’d like to try? Are there any activities that you’d like to plan ahead of time? Those sorts of things can be chatted about before the cruise begins, and knowing about them beforehand might help.

5. Find the right plug points

The ship we were on is European, and if it wasn’t for someone who pointed this out to me beforehand, I wouldn’t have thought to take the correct plug converter. Make sure you find out this type of information before you embark on your journey so you can plug in your hairdryer or charge your phone. If all else fails, you should be able to purchase a plug converter on the ship, but it’s cheaper to get one elsewhere.

6. Pack a day bag for day 1

When you first get onto the ship, there’s a period of time in which you won’t have access to your cabin or your luggage. It might be handy to have a day bag with your essentials (sunblock, medication, deodorant etc) to keep you going until you can get your luggage. Some passengers were clever enough to have their costumes in their day bags which allowed them to explore the pool before everyone else could.

7. To wi-fi or not to wi-fi

My advice? Don’t connect to the wi-fi. Use this as an opportunity to unplug and not be reachable. Make this decision beforehand so you can set up the necessary out of office responses to emails that might come in, and you can tell your family that they won’t be hearing from you.

8. Pick a meeting point

If you are planning on not connecting to the wi-fi, remember that you won’t be able to message or phone your family if you get lost. Pick a meeting point (your cabin, or the reception area, for example) where you could meet if one of you gets lost. We had one situation where we got split up and I ended up having to leave a note for Glen to meet me somewhere. The note worked but we could’ve prevented that by having a more solid plan.

9. Make the most of the activities

The ship we were on had loads of fun activities and we got to take part in some of them. Glen performed in the evenings so we didn’t get to enjoy the theatre, but there were a few other fun things happening. There was a trivia quiz, live music in various venues, sports shown on TV in different lounge areas, a library, theme parties, a casino, and so much more. Familiarise yourself with the activities for the day and plan accordingly. You probably won’t want to spend every waking moment out in the sun.

10. Get to know the food and drinks arrangements

Our ship had complimentary food, buffet style, in two restaurants, which both offered free tea, coffee and water. There was also a burger joint and pizza place that stayed open until midnight. There were a couple of fancier restaurants that weren’t included in the ticket price, and all the bars and coffee shops provided drinks that get added to your bill to be settled on your last day. Know what’s free, what you’re paying for, and where to get food at various times of the day.

11. Choose your cabin wisely

We were guests on the cruise so we didn’t choose our cabin. I’ve heard that people who get motion sickness should select a cabin that is in the interior of the ship, lower down. You won’t have pretty views, but you’ll sway less.

12. Take a couple of bags

If you are a woman who likes to have a bag with you, take two different sizes. I had one backpack (my day bag) which I took to the pool with me and one small handbag which I used for more formal dinners and events. It helps to have bags that are suitable for different occasions if you need to carry things that don’t fit into your pockets (such as your cruise card, lipstick, phone, and so on).

13. Take the stairs

After one day of waiting around for the lifts, we started using the stairs more often. Granted, we took over 10 000 on day 1 (thank you fitness watch for keeping track), we walked more on the second day and used the stairs more often. It ends up being quicker to take the stairs if you are only going up or down a couple of floors. If this is your plan, you will also want to wear comfortable shoes.

14. Pack your bags wisely

Knowing what the ship has to offer and what activities you’d like to participate in will help you to pack wisely. Don’t anticipate that you will only sit outside at the pool. You can’t wear a bikini to some of the restaurants, so pack beach clothes, relaxing clothes, warm clothes (for chilly evenings outside), fancy clothes, and you’ll be good to go!

15. Get outside

Spend as much time as you can just soaking up the view and the fresh air. There is something really magical about watching the sky turn from blue to orange, with the sea air blowing through your hair. If this is a relaxing holiday (and not a working holiday), enjoy just doing nothing for a little bit.

I would love to hear about your cruise ship experiences! Please leave a comment and tell me if you have any advice you’d like to add.

Honeymoon: Straight away or wait a bit?

When it comes to going away on honeymoon, no matter how long you are going away for, the decision remains: Do we go away straight after the wedding or do we wait a bit? For the purposes of this post, this is what I mean:

Straight away = anything within 48 hours of the wedding

Wait a bit = more than a month after the wedding

Honeymoon straight away or wait a bit

The perks of leaving straight after the wedding

  1. The very first thing you do together as a married couple is celebrate your relationship by going on holiday together. You don’t have to go back to work and think about real life for a little while.
  2. People actually leave you alone. Because it’s so common to go on honeymoon immediately after the wedding, your boss isn’t going to be calling you and generally people are going to leave you the heck alone (unless you accidentally forget to tell your parents that you landed safely overseas, and cause a mild panic amongst everyone you know and love – oops!).
  3. You can avoid post-wedding admin. Cleaning up your wedding venue? Nope. Returning hired items? Nope. Figuring out what to do with leftover food and drinks? Nope. All of this can be taken care of by loving friends and family or hired professionals.
  4. Decompress from all the wedding stress. That is more than just a catchy line; it’s a really great way to get your energy back. Go on holiday and don’t think about planning anything.
  5. Prolong the wedding excitement. Nothing says “wedding blues” like returning to a house full of boxes on your wedding night. However, sipping cocktails on a beach with your new husband sounds a lot more fun.
  6. You’ve still got things to look forward to when your honeymoon is over; opening gifts, decorating your home and starting your new life together as a married couple.

Why it’s cool to wait a bit

  1. You’ve got more time to save up. Being able to go on your dream honeymoon and have your dream wedding can come at a cost, particularly if you are fitting both bills. Splitting these two huge milestones by a few months will give you some financial breathing room.
  2. You can split up your annual leave. For those who only have a certain amount of annual leave, using it all up in one shot can have lasting effects.
  3. You’ll be more energized. Planning a wedding is a pretty huge task, so having a few weeks or months to get yourself focused again means you’ll have more energy for that amazing holiday.
  4. You’ll get to spend more time with out of town guests. It seems like a bit of a waste to have everyone you know and love in one city for a weekend, so you can make the most of that by enjoying a few days with your loved ones after the wedding.
  5. You can focus on wedding planning and then switch your focus to planning the honeymoon. Having to focus on both at the same time can be pretty stressful.
  6. Your chosen destination may have better weather six months after the wedding.

A few other options

  1. You could share the wedding planning and honeymoon planning stress. A lot of couples choose to have one person spearhead the wedding planning, while the other takes charge of the honeymoon planning.
  2. How about taking a minimoon right after the wedding, so you get to extend your “wedding high”, avoid some wedding admin tasks and then have the big honeymoon a few months later?
  3. You might want to stay local for the weekend and then do all the overseas travelling a few days later.

What we did

Option 3 worked best for us. Glen booked us into a lovely spot about twenty minutes away from our wedding venue, where we spent three nights just chilling and relaxing. We literally slept a lot, ate a lot and just enjoyed being together without having to travel immediately. I woke up with what felt like the beginning of a cold (thanks wedding planning stress!) so having a few days to be lazy really helped with that. Our wedding was on a Friday, and on Monday morning we headed to the airport and flew to Spain. You can read about our honeymoon adventures right here:

Part 1: Casa Mori

Part 2: Fuengirola, Spain

Part 3: Malaga, Spain

Part 4: Granada, Spain

Part 5: Madrid, Spain

Part 6: Barcelona, Spain

Part 7: Paris, France

Our Honeymoon // Part 7: Paris, France

This is my final post in my honeymoon series and I’m excited about it. We spent a couple of days in the City of Love and it was the perfect end to a perfect honeymoon.

Our honeymoon Part 7 Paris France

Arc de Triomphe

Remember I told you about the smaller Arc de Triomphe in Barcelona? Well, the real deal is in Paris and it is majestic. Pictures really don’t do it justice but here they are anyway:

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The Champs-Elysees

Aside from the fact that I still don’t know how to say this word, it was a fun experience. The Champs-Elysees is a street in Paris that has all kinds of shops, restaurants, cafes and street performances. It drizzled a little bit while we were walking but that didn’t stop us from enjoying one of the most magical streets in the world.

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The Louvre

The Louvre is the world’s largest museum, so we knew that it would take more than two hours to see everything. So, we did research into the “must see” artworks so that we could get the most out of our very short experience. There are so many things we didn’t get to see, so we will be going back! Here is a short highlights reel of our experience of The Louvre:

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The Seine River

You can’t go to Paris without walking along the Seine River!

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The bridge of locks

We just so happened to walked past the bridge of locks and we also just so happened to have a lock in our bag. It wasn’t planned, but we got to add our lock to the bridge a couple of weeks before the bridge was taken down.

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Notre Dame

We were in Paris over a weekend and we visited Notre Dame when they were having Saturday Mass. It was a really beautiful experience!

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The Eiffel Tower

If you go to Paris and you don’t get to see the Eiffel Tower, you haven’t really seen Paris (in my opinion). We didn’t walk up the Eiffel Tower because the queues were pretty long and we actually wanted to see it, not be on it.

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Euro Disney

The absolute best way to end off a honeymoon is to go to Disneyland! We had a magical day of going on rides, hanging out with cartoon characters and watching the parade.

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Our Honeymoon // Part 6: Barcelona, Spain

One of the highlights of our honeymoon was the three days we spent in Barcelona. We’d spent a lot of time relaxing and doing things at a slower pace in smaller towns, so being able to explore a bigger city was incredible and kind of daunting.

Our honeymoon Part 6 Barcelona Spain

Getting around Barcelona

We hired bikes and cycled around the city during the day, which was really fun. There are bicycle lanes on all the major roads and everything is very cyclist friendly. Glen managed to cycle, look at the map, navigate and make sure I was alright all at the same time. At night time we’d keep the bikes in our flat and use the bus or train to get around.

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Santa Maria Basilica

We found an Air Bnb flat that was less than 100m away from the Santa Maria Basilica, so the first thing we did when we arrived was explore it!

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The Gothic Cathedral

In the historic district we found the Gothic Cathedral, which was the biggest cathedral we’d seen thus far on our trip. It was a reddish hue and it had a completely different feel to the other cathedrals. There were even geese in the cloisters.

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The streets within the historic district

We really enjoyed wandering through the tiny cobblestoned streets between the tall buildings.

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Plaza Reial

We had supper at the Plaza Reial and stopped to buy a Barcelona jersey on our way home.

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The Column

At the start of La Rambla (below) there is a beautiful statue called The Column.

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La Rambla

La Rambla is a really big street in Barcelona, where there were thousands of people walking around in the street. We couldn’t cycle through the street because there were so many people there, so we pushed our bikes for that stretch. The first thing we did was stop at the Wax Museum before popping into the market for a snack.

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The plaza

A couple of years before we got married we went to England with Glen’s parents. One of the things we looked forward to was running around Trafalgar Square chasing the pigeons. Well, when we got there we were disappointed to see that there were no pigeons and a whole bunch of signs around the place telling people not to feed the pigeons. So, when we arrived at this plaza in Barcelona we were pleasantly surprised to see hundreds of pigeons!

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Camp Nou

The Barcelona soccer stadium was a little bit out of the way but totally worth the trip. We didn’t end up going inside because it was so expensive, but I was kind of hoping we’d bump into Lionel Messi just chilling outside. We didn’t.

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Arc de Triomphe

In Paris there is the “real” Arc de Triomphe (which you’ll see in next week’s post) but in Barcelona there is a mini version, which is also beautiful!

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Parc de la Ciutadella

Just down the road from the Arc de Triomphe is this beautiful park full of amazing plants and people doing exercise (like this hula hoop class).

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La Pedrera

One of the Gaudi sites is the La Pedrera, where you can really see the amazing architecture. We did the tour so we got to see the place from the outside, inside and on top of the roof.

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La Sagrada Familia

If you are ever in Barcelona and you get to see just one Gaudi building, let it be this one. Also, buy your tickets online so that you can avoid the crazy long queue. I can’t describe to you how incredible this cathedral is, so look at the photos instead.

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Park Guell

This park is an ode to Gaudi and is full of beautifully designed buildings and lookout points with amazing views of the city.

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Churros!

If you go to Spain and you don’t eat churros you should be ashamed.

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Font Magica

We ended off the day with an incredible fountain show with lights and music. I’ve never seen anything like it and our photos definitely don’t do it justice!

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Next post: Our Honeymoon // Part 7: Paris, France

Our Honeymoon // Part 5: Madrid, Spain

We originally weren’t planning on spending any time in Madrid, but when we looked at the map of Spain, we realised that travelling from Fuengirola to Barcelona (our next stop) was going to take us through Madrid. We decided to spend one less day in Fuengirola and spend a day and night in Madrid and I’m so glad we did!

Our honeymoon Part 5 Madrid Spain

Getting to Madrid

We woke up early and took a train into Malaga and then another train into Madrid. It was a whole morning of travelling and looking at the amazing scenery.  We spent a lot of time trying to find our Air Bnb spot but when we did, we connected to the wifi and found hundreds of messages from our friends and family (so much for being off the grid).

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Relate: Our Honeymoon // Part 3: Malaga

Santiago Bernibeau

Glen is a big soccer fan, so naturally our first stop was at the Real Madrid soccer stadium. We started by having lunch at the restaurant and then did the whole tour. We saw the stadium from its highest vantage points, went to the museum and got to stand on the pitch.

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Plaza Mayor

We took a train to walk around the Plaza Mayor, which was actually pretty underwhelming because of the construction taking place. From there, we found an amazing market and got churros for the first time!

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The Cathedral

By now you should know that if there is a cathedral in a European city, Glen and I will find it!

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The Palace

Next door to the cathedral is a beautiful palace. We didn’t see the interior, but from the outside it looked a little like Buckingham Palace. There was a musician outside and a really fun vibe on the steps outside the palace.

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The Jardine Garden and Templo de bod

We made our way through these beautiful gardens en route to the Temple de bod. We noticed that these gardens were like the equivalent of the beaches. There were people tanning, playing sports and relaxing everywhere we looked. There’s also a really cool Egyptian temple in the middle of it all.

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Botin – the oldest restaurant in the world

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Botin is the oldest restaurant in the world. We didn’t book a table, but we arrived early and squeezed in before all the other tourists came through and tried to do the same. I ordered the Filet Mignon Botin and Glen ordered the Suckling Pig. The food was very simple and served in what we would imagine was a similar way to how food was served years and years ago.

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Next post: Our Honeymoon // Part 6: Barcelona

Our Honeymoon // Part 4: Granada, Spain

Up until this point, we had only visited two fairly small places in Spain. Our first stop was Fuengirola, which is where we spent our first week in Spain. From there we took a day trip into Malaga and today I’m going to share stories and photos of our day trip into Granada.

Our honeymoon Part 4 Granada Spain

Getting to Granada

We really enjoyed the public transport, because it’s fairly easy to understand, super affordable and it actually works. So, we took a 45 minute train ride into Malaga and then a two hour bus ride into Granada. Just looking at the countryside and change of scenery was amazing.

The cathedral

I told you that every city in Spain has an ornate cathedral. Well, Granada isn’t any different. We love that every aspect of the cathedral was carefully thought out.

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Our electric bike tour

An electric bike is sort of halfway between a bicycle and a motorbike. That said, Granada is known for being quite hilly and it was still tiring cycling around. We did a bike tour, where our tour guide took us around Granada. We got to see parts of the city that we would never normally be able to see. We saw the gypsy district, where their houses are built right onto the cave and we had incredible views of the Alhambra, all while cycling through narrow, cobble-stoned streets. Did you know that drinking tap water in Europe is quite dodgy… but Granada is known for its awesome water that you can drink right from the springs (like I did in picture #2).

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The Alhambra

This beautiful palace is only accessible to a certain amount of people each day. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it inside, but we got to explore the grounds, known as the Generalife.

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Next post: Our Honeymoon // Part 5: Madrid, Spain

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Our Honeymoon // Part 3: Malaga, Spain

I am having the BEST time reliving our honeymoon and sharing stories and photos. If you want to know why we chose to go to Spain (hint: we won a competition!) and how we spent our first week relaxing, you can catch up on the first two posts:

Related: Our Honeymoon // Part 1: Casa Mori

Related: Our Honeymoon // Part 2: Fuengirola, Spain

Our honeymoon Part 3 Malaga Spain

The place we spent our first week was a little town called Fuengirola, which was only a 45 minute train ride away from Malaga. During our relaxing week we decided to take a day trip into the gorgeous city and do some exploring.

Walking through the streets

There is something so special about roaming in the streets of a foreign city. Admiring the architecture, watching the people and of course, stumbling across a film set in the middle of it all.

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Little cafes

One of my favourite things about Spain is that there is a little cafe pretty much around every corner. One of the first things we did in Malaga was find this cute little cafe which had tables and chairs wedged between two buildings. Coffee and chocolate churros were some of our favourite things.

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The cathedral

One of our first stops was a major landmark in Malaga, the cathedral. It was incredibly huge and ornate, and the inside and outside of the cathedral was breathtakingly beautiful. Our photos don’t do it justice.

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The Picasso Museum

We got to explore the Picasso Museum and marvel at his incredible works of art. Picasso was born in Malaga, so there was a lot of information about his life and how revolutionary he was in the art world. You aren’t actually allowed to take photos of the art, but we didn’t know that. Oops.

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El Pimpi

We had read about this incredible restaurant, but we didn’t know where it was. By chance, we stumbled across it while roaming the streets. El Pimpi is a restaurant in the heart of Malaga, best known for its local wines and celebrity guests who regularly pop in. There were wine barrels lining the walls, full of celebrity autographs and photos on the walls of familiar faces, like Antonia Banderas. Glen and I ordered adventurously, with choices like octopus and kid goat.

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The Roman cathedral

This ancient outdoor cathedral is where performances are made, while spectators sit in amphitheatre style seats and watch.

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The Alcazaba

The Alcazaba is an ancient moslem castle. We took a walk to the Gibralfaro, which is right at the top of a steep hill. Just look at the amazing views:

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Next post: Our Honeymoon // Part 4: Granada, Spain

Our Honeymoon // Part 2: Fuengirola, Spain

A little over a year ago, Glen and I went on honeymoon. We started off by relaxing in Stellenbosch for three days before flying out to Spain.

Related: Our Honeymoon // Part 1: Casa Mori

Our honeymoon Part 2 Fuengirola Spain

When we arrived in Spain, we did the “Spanish thing” and ordered tapas immediately. We also spent a lot of time exploring the area around our hotel, eating prawns on the beach and enjoying the fact that the sun only went down at 21:30. Take a look at the view from our hotel room:

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A few things we really loved about our week in Fuengirola, Spain:

  1. Our hotel, Las Palmeras, included a buffet breakfast and supper which allowed us to try some Spanish delicacies without spending too much additional money.
  2. The hotel was also conveniently located right by the beach, so we went for lots of walks and explored the coffee shops and cafes on the beachfront.
  3. The city itself is quite small so everything was within walking distance, cutting transport costs in half.
  4. The train and bus station was a five minute walk from our hotel, and situated in the middle of the town, making it easy to access for most people. This helped us plan day trips into nearby towns.
  5. We were able to have a mix of touristy experiences and relaxing ones too. It was the perfect way to spend our time. We didn’t get bored from doing nothing or tired from doing too much.

The Biopark

One of the popular attractions in the area is the Biopark. We saw all our zoo animal favourites: the flamingos, bats, leopards, tigers, orangutans, gorillas, sleeping monkeys and lemurs fighting with the birds.

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Walking along the promenade

Stretching across the 8km span of beaches, the promenade is the perfect place for a nice run or a casual stroll.

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The food

Something we put on our travel bucket list was “Eat Paella” and we did! There’s something really special about eating fresh, local seafood and we tried out the sardines, which were smoked on the beach. Amongst the local delicacies, we also tried “All you can eat” Chinese food at Wok City, which was amazing. There was so much food and so many ways it could be prepared.

A boat trip

A boat trip to see the dolphins? Don’t mind if I do. The trip was two hours in total and we absolutely loved being on the Mediterranean sea.

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The Pueblo Lopez

If you, like us, enjoy marvelling at foreign architecture, you’ll appreciate the Pueblo Lopez. This district is in the heart of Fuengirola and shows off the oldschool architecture of Spain.

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Spanish plazas

If you ever do a Google search of things to do in various Spanish cities, somewhere on the list there will be someone strongly suggesting that you visit a plaza. Plazas are everywhere! One of our favourites was Plaza de Constitutione.

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Spanish Night

“Spanish Night” is a night of all things Spanish. There were three parts to this experience; Part 1 – the horse dancing show, Part 2 – dinner, and Part 3 – the flamenco dancing. It was a really magical experience that I would do it all over again if I could.

We really had the best time in Fuengirola, and we made the most of the fact that Malaga is only a 45 minute train ride away. In next week’s blog post, I’ll share some stories of the day trip we took in Malaga, Spain.

Next post: Our Honeymoon // Part 3: Malaga, Spain

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Our Honeymoon // Part 1: Casa Mori

On 1 May 2015, Glen and I got married in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Related: Our Wedding Story

I spearheaded our wedding planning and Glen was part of planning everything with me. So, when it came to planning our honeymoon, Glen was the overseer but we planned most of our honeymoon together. We initially wanted the honeymoon to be a surprise for me, but on the day we got engaged we won a holiday (lucky us!). We were walking around in Camps Bay and a man approached us and asked if we’d like to take a scratch card. I was in a good mood (I got engaged an hour before, can you blame me?) so I was like “heck yes!”. We scratched the card and ended up winning a 7 night stay in either Mauritius, the Canary Islands or Spain. We picked Spain! So our “surprise the bride” honeymoon was out the window.

We had such a fun time on honeymoon and I’m excited to share stories and photos with you!

Our honeymoon Part 1 Casa Mori

Because we had planned an overseas trip, we thought it would be practical – and SO necessary – to spend a couple of days resting before flying out of the country. About 20 minutes from our wedding venue, Glen had found a beautiful Italian-inspired villa, called Casa Mori. It was there that we spent three nights getting our energy back and relaxing together.

On the night of our wedding, we arrived at Casa Mori to this special surprise from our hosts:

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We spent our days napping, watching series, going for walks in Stellenbosch, eating out, eating our wedding cake (we had a slice of each cake packed into a box for us to enjoy on honeymoon and I am so thankful for that!) and soaking up the beautiful views.

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We took the time to research the spots we’d be staying at in Spain and made a bucket list of the things we’d like to see.

By the time we left for the airport, our two days of rest had kicked in and we were ready for adventure! I’m so happy we took the time to do nothing and I would seriously urge couples to do the same. Do you really want to wake up early the morning after your wedding to get on a plane and fly to another country? We certainly didn’t.

Next up: Our Honeymoon // Part 2: Fuengirola, Spain

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The Virgin’s Guide to the Wedding Night

If you are reading this, you are either intrigued by the title of today’s blog post and wondering how on earth someone could actually wait until their wedding night to have sex, or, like me, you made the choice to save yourself for your spouse and now you don’t know what to expect.

Today’s blog post isn’t going to be about me sharing my personal experience of my own wedding night because, as beautiful as it was, it belongs to me and my husband. We learnt a few things before getting married that really shaped our wedding night and ultimately, the sex life that has followed. I’d love to share some of those things with you so that your wedding night is anything but awkward, uncomfortable, painful and heartbreaking.

honeymoon night

1. Share your expectations

There is a brilliant book by Kevin Leman, called Sheet Music, that talks about this in great detail. Here is an excerpt from the book:

When Sande and I first got married, my expectations were about as high as you can get. I had saved myself for her – and now she was going to get all of me, several times a day! Surprisingly enough, Sande didn’t share these same expectations. She thought we might actually sleep most of the night. Imagine that!

Please, please, please, sit down with your future spouse a few weeks before the wedding and get very specific about your expectations, including the first night. So much pain and heartbreak could be spared if couples would simply talk about what they want and don’t want. Let’s face it: If you can’t talk about sex, how intimate is your relationship, really?

Don’t be afraid to get very specific with your spouse about your expectations for that first night: “I’d like us to go out to dinner, and then I’d like to take a bath first to relax. When I come out of the bathroom, I’d like you to be wearing some silk shorts and a robe. Let’s spend some time kissing, then we can start to undress each other…”

Don’t stop there. Particularly if you’re virgins, this is not the time or place to try every sexual position and practice know to man and woman. Tell your future husband or wife what you would like to do – and be just as specific about what you think would be going too far on your first night.

This will do two things. One, it will avoid unfortunately common misunderstandings between couples that often get them off to an argumentative start, sexually speaking. And second, it will help the future husband to curb his expectations and get a more realistic view of what the wedding night will be like, avoiding potential disappointment.

2.  Be prepared

If you are planning on taking birth control pills, consult your doctor three to four months before your wedding day. If you are planning on using condoms, learn how to apply them so you are ready for the wedding night.

Think about how much you’re drinking on your wedding day. Don’t arrive at your hotel room completely drunk because you were nervous and ended up drinking on an empty stomach.

Speaking of hotel rooms, please do yourselves a favour and stay somewhere special on your wedding night. Going home to a house full of boxes and wedding decor really isn’t romantic and doesn’t exactly set the tone for a special night. If you’re staying at a hotel or bnb, avoid the ones where your wedding guests will be staying. Loud, drunken laughter in the middle of your, uh, performance can dampen the mood.

Wear something that makes you feel desirable. Buy yourself something pretty and lacy so that you feel confident and beautiful, because that’s how your spouse views you!

3. Go shopping first!

Here is a short list of things you should take with you on honeymoon so that you are ready for all the sex you’ll be having:

  • Lube
  • Tissues or handkerchiefs
  • Scented candles
  • Citrosoda [to prevent a Urinary Tract Infection – read more about that right here. Funny story: I didn’t do my research so I didn’t know what Citrosoda actually was. For the duration of my honeymoon, I thought that drinking any kind of fizzy citrus juice would be ok. Thankfully, I didn’t get an infection]
  • Condoms [even if you are on birth control pills, you may experience breakthrough bleeding, particularly if you skip your placebo pills]

Happy honeymooning!