Mr H proposed to me on Saturday 13th January 2006. It was a wonderful surprise and after bursting into tears and thanking him, I said yes. I was then keen to find a date for our big day. And I campaigned for us to get married nine days before my 30th birthday.
I was dreading becoming 30 years old. So it seemed a great idea to have my birthday while being on honeymoon. What could be more perfect than spending a big birthday loved up with my new husband and lying on a beach with a tropical cocktail in my hand? And that is exactly what I did. We went to the Maldivian island Meeru and it was the most wonderful holiday ever.
That was 10 years ago now. As back in September, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and I turned 40 years old. So when the lovely people at Yellow Zebra Safaris asked me to write a post about my favourite holiday it seemed only appropriate that I share the story of our honeymoon.
My Favourite Holiday – Our Honeymoon In The Maldives
The run up to our wedding was quite a stressful time. I was looking for a job and we bought and moved into a flat in Medway in Kent. So we wanted our honeymoon to be a time of peace and relaxation. We planned to spend lazy days lying in the sun and reading books. And that’s exactly what we did.
We were staying in a water villa. Our tropical hut was on the beach and at high tide, you could walk straight into the ocean. It was paradise. I spent many an afternoon sitting in the shallows of the brilliant turquoise sea reading my book. Small tropical fish tickled my feet and the hot sun tanned my pale skin. It was the honeymoon of dreams.
Yet there are three times during our honeymoon that really stand out. They are moments that I will remember forever.
The Blue Whale
Until I met Mr H my knowledge of marine animals was quite limited. I must have visited the Natural History Museum and watched The Blue Planet but I never absorbed any facts. I didn’t have a clue that the blue whale was the largest animal on the planet. But Mr H knows these things. And gradually over the years, I’ve absorbed some of his knowledge and I have learnt to love whales and I now find them fascinating creatures.
So it was amazing when during a daily stroll around the island we came across a blue whale skeleton. The baby blue whale’s body had washed up on the shore decades before. And the hotel had kept the bones and put them out for all to see.
This baby blue whale was huge. It was almost impossible to imagine what a fully grown blue whale would look like. And standing there, looking so small and fragile, next to that huge skeleton, is something I will never forget and something I’m unlikely to experience again.
Breakfast And Wildflowers
As previously mentioned, I celebrated my 30th birthday while we were on honeymoon. And it was the most magical day. Mr H had gone to such a lot of trouble and had arranged some fabulous surprises for me.
This all started in the morning with the opening of cards and presents. Mr H had squirrelled all my cards and presents away in his suitcase and I had no idea that he had brought them to the Maldives with us.
After that, I was treated to a huge champagne breakfast. There was cooked food, toast, pastries, fruit, cereal and yoghurt. And of course, fizz. It was the perfect way to start my birthday.
Once breakfast was done, we donned our swimming costumes and sat outside on our verandah while our hut was cleaned. The man who cleaned our hut noticed all the birthday cards and went outside to pick some flowers. He then folded the sheets on our bed into a heart and laid out the wildflowers. He also picked me a bunch of these flowers and placed them in some water. Then later that afternoon, he appeared at our door with a small birthday cake. It was the sweetest gesture.
My birthday was spent like most of our time in the Maldives. We lay in the sun reading, went for a swim and had a stroll around the island. We then had showers and got ready for dinner. As Mr H had arranged for us to have a private and very romantic five-course meal on the beach.
A Birthday Meal On The Beach
Before going for dinner we headed to the bar on the beach and had some cocktails. Mr H was attempting to teach me chess. But I wasn’t a very good pupil and I don’t think I had the patience for it. That evening one of the waiters took pity on me and came to help. I have no idea how he did it but it wasn’t long before he had Mr H in checkmate. It was the first and only time I’ve ever beaten Mr H at Chess (and any other game, for that matter).
We then took a leisurely stroll along the beach to where we were eating. The table was surrounded by lanterns and was decorated with flowers and candles. It was so romantic. As we ate our (huge) five-course meal and sipped chilled white wine we watched the sunset over the crystal blue ocean. Herons strolled in the shallows of the sea. It was magical.
Yet, we were staying in the Maldives on the run-up to the Maldivian elections. And a political party was holding a rally on the island next to us. Mr H and I were sharing this amazingly romantic moment accompanied by the soundtrack of politicians speaking over tannoys and crowds jeering and cheering. It was such a juxtaposition. And we could not stop laughing about it.
In fact, the whole evening was filled with laughter. And when we had eaten all the food and drunk all the wine we contentedly stumbled back to our villa. It was a 10-minute walk and yet took us almost 45 minutes. We stopped to stare at the stars. To chat and to giggle. We didn’t have a care in the world. It had been a magical 30th birthday.
The Sunset Cruise
The following evening, Mr H had arranged another special treat. He’d organised for us to go on a romantic sunset cruise for two.
We hopped on a little catamaran with our skipper and a bottle of champagne and headed into the Indian Ocean. It was beautiful. Breathtaking.
At one point, we came across a pod of pilot whales. They were gentle and amazing creatures. The pod of whales swam under the boat and they even swam right up to me. I could reach out and stroke them. They stayed splashing around us for a few minutes and then they swam off into the sunset. It was the most surreal and yet beautiful moment.
Sailing with the pilot whales following us was a dream come true. The whole honeymoon was magical. It was filled with beautiful moments I will never forget and moments that I will treasure forever. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect honeymoon.
Now, as I sit here on a cold Halloween night, over 10 years later. It warms my heart to think of that fantastic holiday. A holiday filled with dazzling days and enchanted evenings. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect honeymoon.
This post is my entry into Yellow Zebra Safaris’ blogger competition to win a Tanzanian safari holiday. Mr H and I have always longed to go on safari. It was something we dreamed of doing before we had a family. But at the moment that dream feels almost out of reach. It would be wonderful if Yellow Zebra Safaris could make that dream a reality. And then I will have a new favourite holiday to write about.