Exhausted. Overworked. But ready for 19 days away. We planned our honeymoon to be one of a kind. Well the truth is I planned our honeymoon? While my husband was asleep on the couch. We had kind of discussed where we should go, and when we should go but nothing was set in stone, until I booked everything in the 2 hours my husband decided to take a nap. My then fianc? was quite shocked when he awoke from his nap with 20 emails of flight reservations. So the big question? Where did we go?
Well we started with 6 days in Maldives.?? We flew Emirates from LAX to dubai which was a 16 hour flight. My ipad was filled with things to read on the plane, movies to watch, tv shows to catch up. But once I got on that flight, I slept for the entire 16 hours! I might add that fliying Emirates business class was the best flight experience my husband and I had ever experienced. The food was great, they had a bar/lounge on the plane, and they made you a bed with a little mattress and everything!
When we landed in dubai we had to take a 4 hour flight to the island of Male, and from there we flew on a seaplane to the St. Regis Resort which is on the island of Vommuli. The seaplane experience was interesting and so intimate. There?s only seats for 8 people, and it?s a little scary, but a really fun experience.
NOTE: Do not make the same mistake I almost made. I thought that the Maldives were like Bora Bora and you could take a boat from island to island. I almost booked to stay at 2 different hotels (which were on 2 different islands apparently about 3000 miles away from each other). The only way to get from one island to the other is through the sea plane? which if you charter a sea plane for this the cost is about $17,000!!!!!
Everything about the island and the resort was incredible. We had our own butler, our villa was right on top of the water so snorkeling, scuba diving, and floating around on my pineapple floatie in the Indian Ocean were some of our daily activities. One of my favorite things to do was to sit on the hammocks on our villa balcony and watch the sunset everyday. Moments like these are priceless. There is just something so peaceful about the endless teal colored water and watching the sun go down.
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About the hotel: Breakfast was a mix of everything; From bagels and fresh fruit, to seafood, to Indian cuisines, and even some Chinese food. It was delicious and so fresh. All the restaurants at the resort were phenomenal, but my favorite was their Indian restaurant. Water activities are a must: We enjoyed parasailing and jet skiing in addition to the snorkeling and scuba diving. The spa was amazing. The spa room had a bathtub you could get into at the end of your massage that sat on top of the ocean. Also, the spa itself had a huge pool that sat on top of the ocean. There?s nothing quite like it. When it was time to say good-bye to the Maldives, I was really sad. ?I definitely left a little part of my heart there.
After 6 relaxing days in the Maldives, we headed off to our next location?an arctic adventure through Finland, Norway, and Denmark.
We flew for 11 hours to land in Helsinki, Finland, where it was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Doesn?t sound like a big deal, but when you just came from 100 degree weather, it?s quite a shock for your body!
How did we pack for this?
We used a company called luggage forward and shipped a suitcase to our first hotel in Finland.
Anyway, we stayed at Hotel Kamp, which had the best breakfast parfait I?ve ever had in my life. I still dream about the yogurt and granola mix they had!!
The next morning we left Helsinki and flew to Levi. There we stayed at hotel Levi Panorama and enjoyed a little bit of a Porsche experience. I learned that the Finnish language is very unique, and that bataattiranskalaiset means sweet potato fries!
After 2 days here, we drove for hours to get to a tiny little mountain lodge in the middle of nowhere. This is where the temperatures started to get cruel. It was about -10F for the rest of our trip. The lodge was cool because we saw a ton of reindeer (my favorite were the white reindeer), but the lodge was kind of creepy. The toilet was a port-a-potty, the shower looked like was built in the 50s, and the bed? well there were 2 tiny little beds on opposite sides of the room and they were as hard as rocks. The only food to eat here was reindeer, and we just weren?t into that kind of thing. Luckily, as an emergency back up plan, I had packed a few bags of Backpackers Pantry freeze dried food because I had heard about this reindeer things.
That afternoon, my husband and I enjoyed a nice big bag of Jamaican jerk chicken, which actually was pretty tasty despite the fact that it went against all my eating habits. We quickly realized that we needed to leave asap. When we tried to leave, the staff became really offended and begged for us to stay. It was a family owned place, and they said they don?t have many people travel to their location, and they wanted to hang out. I don?t know how things work in Finland, but in America, the staff at hotels do not want to hang out with you. Needless to stay we escaped in the middle of the night because there was no way I was going to sleep there. We found a hotel (thank you expedia) about an hour away and I enjoyed a nice warm shower, and a nice chicken salad for dinner.
The next morning we left very early and drove another few hours to get Honningsvag to get onto the Hurtigruten ship. This wasn?t the best experience, the ship was small, our room was small with no window, we had bunk beds and the top bunk (mine) was only about 12 inches away from the ceiling. I won?t elaborate on this because it definitely wasn?t the highlight of our trip.
My Favorite Part:
The next morning we drove a few hours to get to kirkines snow hotel. It was just amazing here! They had 2 types of rooms: a cozy, warm, high tech cabin, or a room build out of snow?literally, the bed was made of ice! Had we not spent the last 2 nights at a creepy lodge and an uncomfortable ship, we would have stayed in the snow rooms, but at this point we were cold, uncomfortable, HUNGRY (Because all they serve in this part of the world is reindeer for some reason and I refused to eat it), so we opted for the nice warm cabin.
The experience at kirkines snow hotel was unique, but so much fun. We got a little tour of the hotel that I am going to share. They had Reindeer, and a ton of huskies at the hotel which I totally loved! They begin building the snow part of the hotel Dec 1st, and they finish building by December 19. There are only 20 snow rooms, so if you want to stay in one, you better book it asap (or trade your warm cabin with someone who is having second thoughts about sleeping on a bed made of ice).
When you walk into the snow rooms you notice that there is no place for luggage, no restroom, no shower. The door for the room is a curtain. It kind of reminded me of a college dorm room, but without the doors. The rooms are made purely out of snow and ice, even the bed is made of ice. They are all different and have hand carved designs in the snow that are truly a work of art. The rooms stay at a stable -4C, but to keep you warm they put down reindeer fur.?? Your luggage is kept outside, and the restroom and showers are also outside of the snow area.
When you stay in the snow room, you are given a pair of wool socks, a thermal, a balaclava, and a sleeping bag. They actually prep you at dinner about how to stay warm. If you can?t tolerate it, you can feel free to sleep in the restaurant/lounge area just outside the snowhotel area (which is where most of the people end up).
The cabins on the other hand, are equipped with heated floors, a large panoramic window, and are just perfectly equipped for a view of the northern lights (if you?re lucky).
Things to do:
- King crab fishing: We did this! It was fantastic. We went on snowmobiles onto a frozen part of the ocean, and you watch the king crabs get caught in the net. Then they take you to a little cabin where they boil them, and you get to enjoy them. I?m not into seafood, so I skipped out, but my husband said it was the best crab he has ever had!
2. Go Kart racing on ice: So much fun! It?s a must!
3. Sledding with huskies: we did this at another location
4. Snowmobile tour to chase the northern lights: it was way too cold for us to do this because they go around midnight and it’s about a 3 hour tour.
I was really sad to leave Kirkines, but our next destination was also so much fun!
We had planned the next morning to go to another arctic resort, but first decided to take a detour to the Russian border. We did a few donuts with the rental and took some photos/videos at the Russian border, and then went to our next destination.
Several hours later, we ended up at the North Pole!! Literally!! We stayed at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. This was literally Santa Clause?s Village! There are a few choices of rooms here, but we chose to stay in a kelo glass igloo. There are also plain glass igloos, but the kelo glass igloo is more of a cabin, with the igloo part at the end, whereas the glass igloo is just that?a glass igloo. Our room had sleeping area for 6 and the room is quite large! There was a kind size bed, plus 2 bunk beds, plus 2 beds put together under the igloo. This is where we were lucky enough to see the northern lights!
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Things to do:
- Sledding with huskies: This sounded like a really magical idea, but the dogs get really anxious before their run. Then when they are pulling you (only 2 to a sled.. one person sits and one person ?drives?) it seems so hard for them. They begin to eat snow while they run, and they even drop feces as they run. The area was beautiful, but I?m such an animal lover and although they say the dogs love this, I felt bad for them and I wouldn?t do it again.
2. Reindeer safari?
4. Snow mobile safari
5. Ice fishing
Food: Be prepared, you?ll be offered reindeer again
After touring Finland and Norway (& almost Russia), we flew to Copenhagen, Denmark for a night. Denmark was amazing, and somewhere I would like to visit again. We only had 1 night to explore, but we made it worth our while. We found the only Persian restaurant in Copenhagen and walked around Nyhavn Harbor.
All in all, our honeymoon was quite adventurous. We spent so much time together and it was one of the best memories in my life.
What I Learned:
- Make your honeymoon a once in a lifetime experience?It?s likely we won?t visit any of the places we went to on our honeymoon. Not because we don?t love them, but because they were so hard to get to! But we are so glad we experienced this part of the world together in such a unique way.
- Research the places you are visiting! I had looked up the areas and the food in the areas and I knew that Reindeer was the main protein on the list. Thankfully I had the freeze dried food or I would have skipped a few meals
- Pack light. It?s really hard to carry around all of your luggage when you are going from place to place. Trust me, less is more.
- If you don?t love an area you are in, try to appreciate it for what it is and enjoy the experience
I hope you enjoyed my honeymoon! Make sure to subscribe below so that you never miss a blog!