With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is indeed in the air! Hubby and I never make a big fuss of Valentine’s Day; love should after all be celebrated every day. (However, you know us by now – there should be no doubt that there will definitely be something homemade and special on the menu for supper tomorrow evening!)
Amidst all the reminders about love and romance my thoughts have turned to the romantic things hubby and I have experienced during some of our past travels. Most of them was never planned to be romantic as such, but the experiences just turned out to be that way. Not hard to imagine when you are travelling around with the love of your life! (What, do I hear you saw “aaaawwwww”?! Of course! It’s Valentine’s Day – I can afford to be a bit soppy!)
So, with today being Valentine’s Day here, are my top 5 most romantic moments on our travels to date to get you into the mood for a bit of romance – every day!
A boat ride on the canals of Amsterdam, Netherlands
The hotel hubby and I stayed at was not in the centre of Amsterdam and as a result they had a boat that took guests to and from the centre each day. On this specific morning hubby and I caught the boat with quite a few people from the hotel, but in the afternoon, when we were picked up, it was this enormous boat… and just the two of us! We sat at the back of the boat and the skipper was kind enough to go really slow. Watching Amsterdam slipping by as dusk fell was a perfect, romantic sunset cruise, just for the two of us!
Getting up close and personal with the windmills of Brugge, Belgium
Upon arriving in Brugge, hubby and I immediately hit the road on foot to make the most of our time there. Next to the river that runs through the small city we discovered these beautifully restored old windmills sitting on top of grassy hills. It was so romantic to stroll the banks of the river hand in hand and getting up close and personal with these graceful giants. To top it off, we found a local little bar where we were the only tourists! Great food, great wine and beer, great views… and the best company! These are the things romance are made of!
Cruising the Canal du Midi, France
Now the Canal du Midi really deserves a post all on its own; I’ve just never found the words to do justice to the experience! That said, the 5 days hubby and I spent on the Canal du Midi in our rented little boat was the thing dreams are made of! It gave us quintessential France, beautiful countryside with small towns dotted along the side, dried sunflower fields passing by slowly. Lanes and lanes of plane trees. Green vineyards. Postcard houses. Simple lunches with baguettes, cheese and wine. Sitting under the stars until late night, sipping wine. The most peaceful and perfect time hubby and I ever had together!
Acting like a local in Florence, Italy
I absolutely love Italy. In fact, our whole Italian holiday should count as one long romantic experience! One that really stands out for me was in Florence. We walked from our hotel to the Piazza Michelangelo, which is famous for its beautiful views over Florence. On the way there, on the banks of the Arno River, we found this little bar. Nothing fancy, just a few plastic chairs and tables overlooking the river. It was just before sunset and the sky had this amazing orange colour (just as orange as the Aperol Spritz we were having as sundowners). Sitting there, looking out over the river with the last rays of sunshine on our faces was so romantic. The romance took a bit of a backseat on the steep climb up to Piazza Michelangelo afterwards (!) but once at the top the beautiful views brought the romance straight back!
Locking our symbol of everlasting love on the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, France
For the final romantic moment; one that was definitely planned by hubby. On arrival in Paris, we headed straight to the city. Hubby was very specific about which direction he wanted to go and I did not think anything of it, even when we came across the Pont des Arts bridge. The Pont des Arts is famous for lovers locking padlocks, which has their initials engraved on it, to the fence. The key to the padlock is then thrown into the Seine river as a symbol of love can never be broken. When we “accidentally” stumbled across the bridge, I was really disappointed that we didn’t have a lock of our own. Or so I thought. Until hubby produced a lock that had specially engraved while still at home; even with the date on which we were going to be there! How romantic is that?! (Towards the end of 2015 the city of Paris started removing the locks, after the bridge collapsed for the umpteenth time under the weight of all the locks. I am so happy that our little lock could watch over the Eiffel Tower, even just for a little while!)
Ann Landers said: “Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.”
May your Valentine’s Day, and every other day of the year, be filled with love!