Saloni Patel and Smit Deliwala – Europe
Saloni and Smit tell us how to let it go with the flow after 33 days of romantic spontaneity around the European Riviera.
From Chicago, Smit is enrolled at medical school while Saloni works with a corporate law team. They met in November, 2011 at Smit’s cousin’s wedding in Ahmedabad (more on their ‘how we met’ story here) and got married in Udaipur on April 9, 2015.
They flew to Paris the next day with no fixed agenda. Smit shares their honeymoon experience here:
“The honeymoon was not planned at all. We wanted to relax and not be rushing around. We also wanted to soak up the unique vibe of every city we visited. My dad suggested we fly into Paris and just figure the trip out from there. So, every Monday at breakfast, we’d use all the apps and technology we had and with just 30/40 minutes of planning, and we’d figure out the next 7 days of the trip. We had just 4-6 peaceful planning sessions during the entire trip, at our own pace. This included booking flights, cars, trains, hotels etc.
We knew which locations we wanted to see. In our differential we were considering regions of Europe eg: Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Mediterranean and other countries like Turkey, Fiji, SE Asia or French Polynesia. We decided on the European Riviera (mainly Spanish, French, Monaco & Italian) and everything else would be an extra. Our itinerary ended up looking like this: France, Spain, Gibraltar, Monaco, Italy, Sweden, Netherlands & Iceland. Cities we visited were Paris, Bordeaux, San Sebastian, Madrid, Malaga, Marbella, Gibralter, Xavi, Valencia, Palma De Mallorca, Barcelona, Marseille, St. Tropez, St. Maxime, Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo (Monaco), Ventimiglia, Genoa, Naples, Amalfi, Positano, Capri, Ravello, Rome, Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Reykjavik.
Planning a honeymoon during the whole preparation for the wedding can get a little stressful with the hundreds of things going on so we decided to wing it. This method may not work for everyone, but we’re glad we did it this way. It allowed us to enjoy each country and make spontaneous plans, getting locals to advise us about the most intimate places. One of our nights in Amalfi was under the moon with the most beautiful night sky I can think off while sitting in a hot tub being served food and drinks.
We also visited the nicest clubs and beach bars in France and Spain partying well into the night.
Hotels you stayed at
We stayed at an array of hotels – Hilton, Novotel etc. but for more than 70% of the trip we stayed at private beach side villas, penthouses etc as we wanted the feel of our own extended space.
Our stay in cities would range anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on how fond of the place we were.
Best meal of the trip
To pick a favorite meal is really hard because the regions we visited have some of the best cuisines in the world. Every region provided a unique experience. We loved the world renowned Nobu at Monte Carlo. At Flauto Di Pan at Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, the entire property is a remnant of the great Roman Civilization, completely secluded, overlooking the Riviera in the most discrete of locations. Used to hosting celebrities and royalty, this Michelin star restaurant made a special vegetarian menu de novo for us consisting of egg plant and zucchini fritters with pea puree and yogurt chutney, tomato and brie salad, mushroom risotto and pastas with and an over the top desert selection. We’re foodies and what we really enjoyed were the non-touristy restaurants perched on a mountain or nestled in a beautiful location with fresh food made with local produce all recommended by locals. We stayed away from hordes of people taking pictures, loud sounds, cars etc. and it was breathtaking to say the least.
Most Romantic Moment
There were two moments that were particularly romantic. We had a boat to ourselves in Capri (an island 30 minutes away from the Amalfi coast in Italy). We had it for 4 hours and it was a phenomenal experience – just me, my wife and the open sea.
We set up a little picnic on our boat, turned off the engine and let the boat drift. The view of the Capri coast was incredible. There wasn’t a soul around us and the water was quiet as well with the sun beating gently on us.
Advice for Couples
– A honeymoon should be the most intimate moment of your life – you don’t get a second chance at it.
– Don’t waste your time doing touristy things or signing with tour companies – we live in an age where all this information is at our fingertips.
– Do something different – go to remote areas experience something new, take risks and just travel.
– Eating at a fast food chain in Europe would be the same as having it in any other metropolitan city. Every city has tall buildings, shopping malls etc. but this is a period of self-discovery with your partner. I recommend all couples to believe in exclusivity.