honeymoon disaster, or one of the best memories ever

It’s been over two years, and I’m still thinking so frequently of our honeymoon. Those months before and after our wedding were crazy busy, and I didn’t take the time to record many memories here.

Yesterday, I put on a scarf I bought in Seville, and I got teary thinking about how we’ve grown and changed — but stayed so much the same — in two short years. Our honeymoon initially went nothing like it was planned, much like another experience we’re having right now. (I’m talking about our adoption, friends!)

Still, we made the most of it, and looking back, it fit us so perfectly. Mistakes we made, problems completely out of our control, and still, the very best memories. I’d do it all over again. And probably cry less.

When we checked in at our local airport, our bag tags and tickets only printed for the St. Louis to Washington D.C. leg of our flight. We questioned it, but the gate agent told us we would check in again in Washington D.C. for the international leg of our flight to Madrid. When we got to D.C., we scanned the list of outgoing flights for Madrid. There was not one listed.

Dan went to the customer service desk, and we were told rather matter-of-factly that our airline was no longer flying to Madrid on this day of the week. The airline had attempted to contact us, they said. We were quickly rebooked on a flight going through Brussles and then on to Madrid. We asked about our bags again, and we listened with relief as the very kind woman called down to the baggage area and was told that our bags were in hand and being rerouted to Madrid.

We sat our a long layover and watched someone who was about to get on our flight be arrested. Sooooo, that was unsettling. I cried a little bit and told Dan that probably meant something bad was going to happen to us.

When we finally landed in Madrid, we held hands and watched the bags go around and around the carousel until there were none left. Dan’s phone battery had died, so he plugged it in near where we were standing. We talked to an airport employee, and she was able to confirm that yes, our bags were still in Washington D.C. And it would be a couple days before they came. I cried again… The clothes I had saved just for this trip, my make-up, my cute shoes… and our Christmas gifts. Our very first Christmas gifts for each other and our matching stockings were in our luggage.

We had pre-booked train tickets from Madrid to Seville, so we rushed to the train station with only our backpacks. When we got there, we found we had missed our train and could not get a refund for the money lost. We ate Burger King and M83’s song, “Midnight City,” played over and over again on the train station sound system. My stomach still hurts when I hear the song.

As we were stepping on to our new train, Dan turned around with the sickest look I had ever seen on his face. “I left my phone in at the airport!” In a moment of total exhaustion, we truly considered missing this train as well to go back and get it. I pushed him onto the train, and I cried a little bit more, exhausted and wishing I was still in Missouri.

olive trees from the train in Spain

I was so grumpy. But what do you know, a train ride through southern Spain is beautiful and something I realized few people get to experience. Tiny towns and fields of olive trees flew by. Dan wrote a note to me on his train ticket, pushed it toward me, and I cried again. Happy tears.

love note on a train

We got to Seville and hopped in a cab to our hotel. I am not kidding you when I tell you the air smelled of citrus from all the orange trees along the street. Our hotel room was beautiful, even with our two dirty backpacks laying on the bed. We decided we needed some clean clothes, so we found an H&M and Pimkie and bought new underwear for both of us, a sweatshirt for Dan, a sweater and scarf for me, and eventually a coat. (I get cold easily, it seems.)

orange trees in Seville

Every day, our bags did not come. And every morning, we would walk to Sephora so I could “try on” make up. I didn’t want to spend money to buy some when I truly believed our bags would come the next day. I splurged on a couple other things a few days in, but for the most part, I wore the same teal sweater, jeans, scarf, and Toms every day we were in Seville.

Seville Cathedral

When we got to Madrid, our bags were finally waiting at the hotel. Even then, there was a period of about 10 minutes before that when they couldn’t be found in the baggage room, and I cried then, too. But we got upgraded to their nicest room, because our amazing Seville hotel called this amazing Madrid hotel to tell them about our troubles.

We celebrated Christmas as planned and enjoyed having new clothes to wear. But those four days in Seville remain my favorite.

Christmas in a Spanish hotel

Not having any belongings besides a backpack turned me into a sad and disappointed person very quickly. Dan, a husband for two days, challenged me and encouraged me so well. It wasn’t about the outfits I planned or how we looked in pictures or having a perfect honeymoon. We were forced to focus on exploring a new, beautiful city, celebrating our baby marriage, and getting used to our life together despite having some big disappointments along the way.

Seville Metropol Parasol

  • Sonia

    I loved this quote/perspective: “Mistakes we made, problems completely out of our control, and still, the very best memories. I’d do it all over again. And probably cry less.”

    • natalie

      I think that will probably be my life motto + the motto of our marriage. lots of messiness, but so worth it.

  • this choked me up. thanks for sharing your heart, natalie.

    • natalie

      oh, you’re welcome, Tara! it choked me up thinking about it all, but I’m glad it touched you, too.

  • What an interesting honeymoon !! My most prominent memory was locking the car keys in the car the first night. Probably the jitters.