I always thought of myself as a pretty down-to-earth person but over the last two years I’ve been told otherwise by friends and family. According to them I’m a dreamy romantic.
So then, if that’s what everyone thinks, I might as well use it for a travel story and share with you moments of love (and pics shot by both Evelien and myself) encountered when travelling.
To start off with my own romantic love & travel story – my husband, Tomas, proposed to me when we were on a three-week culinary road trip through Italy. A sun drenched day in Tuscany had us wandering through the historical centre of Lucca. The town houses a mosaic of red-tiled roofs and terracotta coloured walls.
Like any other tourist we decided to climb the stairs of the Torre Guinigi. The tour is famous for the holm oaks growing on top and the view over the picturesque town. At the ticket desk we were asked if we would be interested in a combination ticket with the clock tower – we had no idea what it was but my partner said yes anyway.
About an hour later we walked up the stairs of the Torre dell’Orologio, just the two of us, in the cool and quiet serenity away from the streets bustling with summer holiday tourists – quite the opposite of the crowded staircase of the Guinigi Tower. Arriving on the roof, it turned out not be just the two of us as five other tourists were already enjoying the view. But they were surely about to leave soon?
That was at least the thought of my partner who, when I suggested to go for an ice cream after taking in the view from all angles, said he preferred to soak up the relaxed atmosphere a bit longer. Since he is not the kind of person who would turn down a true Italian gelato, nor a chance to get out of the bright sunshine to find some cool in the shade, I suddenly had a fluttering feeling in my stomach. Would he actually…
“Will you marry me?”My partner
As soon as the last group of three tourists had started to make their way back down, my boyfriend had gotten down from the bench we were sitting on besides the bronze tower clock and was smiling at me nervously. “Yes, of course!” I replied, butterflies going crazy in my belly. And so when we got down from the tower to treat ourselves on a delicious Italian gelato (pistachio, chocolate and lemon) we did so as fiancées.
Having finished the ice cream we decided it was time for a toast to ourselves and so we set down on the famous Piazza dell’Anfiteatro for an ice-cold Italian beer. It was the perfect day, in all its simplicity (quite down-to-earth, right?). Just one thing that would have made it even more perfect – having the the security camera images of our wedding proposal the middle-aged grumpy Italian security guard was looking at from his folding chair at the entrance of the clock tower.
Evelien has actually been able to capture ‘the moment’ when she and her partner were enjoying a stroll in Central Park, New York, and witnessed a young couple’s engagement. A travel love shot she shared with them once the tears of happiness had dried up on the blushed cheeks of New York’s newest fiancée.
A couple of days after our own engagement we wandered trough the streets of another beautiful and touristy sun drenched Tuscan city, Sienna, and spotted this beautiful couple during their wedding photo shoot including a Vespa – how Italian can it get?
Fast forward to almost 11 months later – now one year ago – when the sun was shining again, and we were shining just as much of excitement and pure happiness. We were getting on a bike – how Dutch can it get? – for our photo shoot in our loved Vondelpark, home to cycling and running Amsterdam locals, love birds and crazy tourists.
For all very sensible practical reasons our moms had second guessed our desire to use a bike on our wedding day and since obviously they had a point (you’ll understand why when you see the size of my wedding dress) we made the compromise to only go for a ride in the Vondelpark instead of using the bike to cycle all the way up to the city hall. Starting from the park entrance where we had kissed each other good night at the very beginning of our love story, we – or rather Tomas – paddled to Vondelpark’s music chapel where I had fantasized myself getting married when I had not even met my partner yet. And yes I agree, that’s quite dreamy romantic.
Our wedding photographer jokingly said that there was no need for him to be with us at this photoshoot location as so many tourists took pictures of the bride and groom cycling in the park that we could’ve filled an entire album with those pics. Some stepped up their paddling to overtake us. An American lady even demanded us to stop cycling so she could take a picture, as we just looked “so lovely and just picture perfect”.
I would definitely never ask any couple to do that, but not surprisingly, I do love to take a picture of the lucky couple on their wedding day.
In Sevilla, Spain, Evelien and I encountered three wedding parties on the same day. One bride had here grand entrance at the church recorded on camera and we witnessed take 1, 2 and 3 of her dad gracefully taking her hand to guide her out of the limousine. She looked absolutely beautiful, and it made me a bit sad that still that wasn’t perfect enough..
Some years ago in Rome my partner and I witnessed a wedding party arrive at a small church in Trastevere, and from the steps of the fountain we were sitting on we had front row seats to a scene that could have been cut straight from a classic movie. I now regret that I didn’t take a picture, but the scene was too tranquil to ruin it with a silly tourist move. Earlier this year in Rome, Evelien and I came across fresh newlyweds taking full advantage of the golden hour with a photo shoot with three (!) photographers in Villa Borghese park. Full advantage of the surroundings and the light do not guarantee stunning photos and pure enjoyment however- the bride captured our attention specifically as she did not have the faintest smile on her face while her brand new husband seemed to be craving for her attention. I felt so sorry for him and sincerely hope we just caught her in the one and only moment of her wedding day she’ll not want to remember.
The next day we spotted another couple during their wedding photo shoot, down by the Tiber river. An impressive sight already by just looking at the professional set up. Luckily, this couple seemed to be enjoying themselves as they were rocking their pictures, her dress waving in the wind while he circled her around in the air.
Evelien spotted the Asian couple below in Kathmandu, Nepal and the picture is actually one of my favourites. The extras are not exactly white doves of love, but who cares? It gives their so well-thought-out pose a real flair. Dreamy romantic meets down-to-earth.
But it’s not just the bride and groom that fascinate me, the sight of a sweet love couple always puts a smile on my face. It could be two youngster snogging in the park, an elderly couple enjoying each other’s company just by sitting next to each other on a bench or intense passion between dancing partners. I just love the look in their eyes and their body language, a combination of passion and excitement, comfort and kindness.
Here’s a few favourites from my collection:
I know for sure I’m not the only one enjoying love scenes while travelling. They can make you feel like as if you’re walking right through a romantic movie scene, and make you realise that love is all around (yes I am quoting Love Actually now).
I am pretty sure others have added us to their phone or camera memory today. When we were enjoying our unforgettable three-month honeymoon travelling through New Zealand and Australia, we decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary in style, doing what we love most in the world: travelling together. And so we decided that in turn we would surprise each other with a weekend getaway at every anniversary of our wedding day.
Last Friday we took flight for our first wedding anniversary surprise weekend. Until arriving at the airport I had no idea where we were heading – my husband had taken on the organisation of the very first of what we plan to be many surprise anniversary weekends to come. Wedding dress and suit flying with us, love was literally in the air, and so when visting Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna we were able to make the first in our series of anniversary pictures in wedding attire. Dreamy? Romantic? Okay, I admit it.
A dreamy romantic yourself? Follow our Instagram feed as we will we continue to spread the love!