Ankita and Aakash, Turkey and Finland
After a traditional wedding in Chandigarh, honeymooning in a winter wonderland was a dream come true for Ankita and Akash.
From taking a stroll along the Marmara Sea in Turkey to witnessing the dazzling display of the Northern Lights in Finland, Ankita and Aakash’s honeymoon was replete with culture and natural beauty. The couple tells us all about their adventures and share experiences from their romantic getaway.
How we met
“We’d known each other in college since 2006 but started dating during our internships in 2012. We endured a long distance relationship for five years before we got married this year.
How we decided to go from Turkey to Finland on the same honeymoon requires a little backstory.”
“In 2014, I was a big fan of Turkish serials that were popular in India. ‘Feriha’ and ‘Fatmagul’ were my absolute favorites. I was fascinated by their culture and I wanted to experience what I saw in these shows; the Bosphorus, Galata Bridge, have Turkish tea, hear the ‘azaan’ at the Blue Mosque. So going to Turkey was on me.
As for Finland… when we started dating in 2012, we both got smartphones and the newly launched Whatsapp was a lifesaver for long distance lovers. Our chat wallpaper was a log cabin in the snow, the northern lights in the sky.
Fast-forward to 2018, when we decided to get married, we both just knew our honeymoon would be in a winter wonderland. Beach destinations were being done to death by honeymooners and my husband wanted something different with less crowd. Finland was his choice mostly.”
“In Turkey, we stayed at the beautiful Hotel Rose Garden Suite (Sultanahmet) and Lazzoni Hotel (Golden Horn). We decided to only explore Istanbul on this trip and save the rest for later. We managed to see the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Galata Bridge/Tower, Marmara Sea, Istiklal Street, Taksim Square, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern and Kucuksu Palace. Most of these places were covered by foot so we saved a lot of our money on transport and instead invested in a Turkish rug which now graces our bedroom wall.
In Finland we stayed at the Arctic Snow Hotel and in a Glass Igloo for two days in Sinetta! The resort in Sinetta (10 km from Rovaniemi) is made entirely of snow and ice. There is an ice bar, an ice chapel where weddings take place. They have rooms and suites in the ice hotels which you can rent only for one night. On completion, you’re given a certificate. They serve meals at the ice restaurant and the warm log cabin. There are reindeers you can feed or play games or sit by the fireplace and do absolutely nothing. For the rest of the trip, we chose an AirBnB in Rovaniemi.
Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus celebrates Christmas 365 days of the year. Here, the Arctic Circle runs through Santa Claus Village, located eight kilometers north of the city center, where it is clearly marked. We visited the Santa Claus park/village as well and met the man himself. It was a fun experience. We also did a husky and reindeer ride crossing the Arctic Circle.”
Best meal of the trip
“In Turkey, the meats were excellent everywhere. The portions were ginormous; one dish was enough to be gorged on by two people. But the clay pot lamb we had in Galata Kopru Alti – Sanat restaurant was extraordinary. Located under the Galata Bridge, the service was good, quick and the food was full of flavor. The restaurant manager got friendly with us and also gave us honeymooners free Turkish tea and baklava.
And while in Finland, it has to the salmon! The salmon soup and grilled salmon served in the Arctic Snow Hotel and Glass Igloo was out of this world; fresh, juicy and tender. Also for dessert, they served some local blueberry pie and it’s unlike any pie I’ve ever had!”
Most Romantic Moment
“We were walking along the Marmara Sea where the view was absolutely gorgeous. My husband had downloaded the official soundtrack of my favorite Turkish serials and played them while we walked on this very beach. My husband is an introvert and hates anything filmy so this made my trip even more special.
Another romantic moment was when we kissed under the Northern Lights in an igloo with snow outside. Is there anything more romantic than that? It was like we were living a dream. Also, it was minus 20 degrees outside! I don’t think we’ll ever experience anything like that again.”
“The northern lights, the igloo and the Snow Hotel experiences are a must. Also, people pinpoint safety issues in Turkey, but it’s an absolutely safe place to visit and there’s so much culture, beauty, and history to explore.”
“In Finland, they say the reindeer meatballs are yummy but they are not. You can certainly avoid them. In Turkey, avoid carrying heels since Istanbul is hilly and you want really comfortable shoes to walk around.”
“Booking anything last minute, especially transport.”
Hotels we stayed at
Hotel Rose Garden Suites, Istanbul
Lazzoni Hotel, Istanbul
Arctic Snow Hotel and Glass Igloos, Finland