2016 has really been a great year for me. There have been many adventures and amazing moments throughout.
The most amazing of all was May 21st, my wedding day.
I’m probably a little bit biased but our wedding was the best. Mr O (Husband, I say it every chance I get lol), and I had the most amazing two day celebration surrounded by family and friends.
Coming from traditional African backgrounds, our wedding festivities took place over the course of two days. That meant hosting over 400 guests 2 weeks in a row. Insane… but that’s a story for another blog post.
As you can imagine after the wedding shenanigans Mr O and I were exhausted and very much in need of some R&R. We got far more than we could ever have envisioned.
Being a Pintrest junkie (holds hands up), I’ve spent many hours pinning images of dream destinations and it was on one of these marathon pin fests that I came across a little speck of an island in the Pacific Ocean. I proceeded to obsessively research this mystical island, this island of dreams, dotted with overwater bungalows and grass skirt wearing dancers.
2015, wedding planning in progress, when the time arrived to choose a honeymoon destination, there was really no other option. My bank balance would beg to differ, but I thought if ever there was a time we could justify such extravagance, it would be honeymoon time, and boy was it extravagant.Our honeymoon was to the paradisiacal Islands of Tahiti, a cluster of islands in French Polynesia. Tahiti is literally close to no where but somewhere between Hawaii , Chile and Australia. We visited two of the smallest islands, spending 5 nights on stunning Moorea, an island so small that it has just one road encircling it, which you can drive round in about 30 minutes. The remaining 5 nights were spent on Bora Bora. Both Islands are unique in beauty but so similar in the genuine, warm hospitality of the locals. To give you a bit of an idea of our journey, we booked a 14 night honeymoon, 4 of those nights were spent traveling, two nights there and two nights back. We crossed countless time zones, slept and awoke a dozen times, ate breakfast more times than I can remember and still we hadn’t arrived (I may be exaggerating a little but thats how I remember it). Travelling from UK to Tahiti is no easy task, but stepping off our Air Tahiti Nui flight, we knew this was going to be worth every traveling minute.
I’ll start from the beginning.
Our first night as Mr and Mrs was spent in our little Surrey flat opening presents, reading cards and doing some frantic last minute packing. Our second was at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow. A friend of ours had kindly arranged an overnight stay for us as our flight was leaving from terminal 4 the following day.
Side note, I’ve honestly been impressed by the Radisson Blu chain, the hotel in Heathrow is really quite stunning, and the staff were so helpful and couldn’t do enough for us.
We travelled via Air New Zealand for the first leg of our journey to LA. After an overnight stop we continued on to Papeete, then from Pappete we were ferried to Moorea for our first five nights.
We arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel resort a little after 10am, wasn’t the best start considering check in was at 3pm and we had been traveling for the best part of 24 hours.
However the staff at the hotel were very accommodating, they gave us and the other 3 sets of honeymooners a room each in which to freshen up. I was a bit miffed to discover that we weren’t the only newlyweds at the resort, my plan was to shamelessly milk our honeymooner status for extras and freebies. Needless to say, my ploy wasn’t as effective with a hoard of honeymooners flying around. Anyway, we had quite a bit of time on our hands until our room was ready, so we decided to explore the grounds.The resort is idyllic, a literal paradise. With 3 restaurants onsite, serving a choice of Tahitian, French cuisine and good old burgers if you fancy, the food choices are abundant. There is a fully equipped fitness centre and a beautiful spa. There is even a Dolphin centre and sea turtle sanctuary, the resort really is just breath taking. The weather was hot and the sun delicious. The hours slipped by as we sipped drinks at the pool side bar and when our room was ready, we were escorted to our very own private bungalow. Room 4226 was amazing, the decor is traditional Tahitian style, thatched gazebo, wood interior, with an obligatory jacuzzi bathtub and private plunge pool, just stunning. Our first night was romantic as you would expect for a honeymoon, room service, complementary bubbly and netflix (House of Cards)courtesy of the Intercontinental’s free wifi.
Now if you’re anything like myself, you’ll agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Im quite useless until I’ve eaten in the morning, so the knowledge that breakfast awaits without my having to lift a finger, filled me with such joy, that I’m pretty sure the staff at the Fare Nui restaurant thought me a little strange as I skipped to the buffet the following morning, and every morning of our stay for that matter.
We spent the first few days soaking up the sun and enjoying being on what felt like our very own private little island. We were literally on the other side of the world and for the first time in about a year we were far away from the hustle and bustle of London, away from the stress of wedding planning, away from everything and we were loving it. This was our first trip away together, and it was as enlightening as it was wonderful. Months down the line, I’ve come to realise just how much I enjoyed our first few days of marriage. We had not lived together before we got married so this trip was a learning experience for the both of us. We were learning to be a married couple in paradise, what a wonderful place to learn.
We experienced many firsts together in Moorea. My first medium rare steak, our first shark encounter, first time eating ceviche. That brings me to our Island tour. We were taken around the Island by boat and our charming guide Captain Sikki showed us firsthand the beauty of Moorea, Magic mountain and the surrounding motu (islets). Moorea, meaning Yellow Lizard after an old Tahitian legend, is a mountainous Island surrounded by turquoise lagoon, full of enchanting landscapes, white sandy beaches and lush vegetation. From our tour boat we saw the waters teeming with life, coral, stingrays and shark. We were able to get up close and personal when the boat stopped in a shallow part of the lagoon. All onboard were able to dive in and enjoy a refreshing swim break in the cool blue, a welcome pitstop as the sun was beating down hard on the boat and those on it. Mr O jumped straight in and made friends with the locals, ‘friendly’ stingray and black tip sharks. I still think the term friendly is debatable, after I was harassed by an overzealous stingray. Later we were taken to a private Island were we were taught to prepare the traditional Tahitian dish ceviche, considering it was raw fish and not the sushi kind, it was delicious (if you’re interested in giving it a go, tip toe on over to the recipe, you won’t regret it). It was truly a well deserved treat to end the day after the attack of the pervert stingrays.
We spent our final days on Moorea, sampling the local delicacies, sipping countless concoctions thought up by the very talented resident bar tender, and generally taking in all the sights and sounds on offer on this magical Island.
On the fifth morning, we said goodbye to the beautiful Yellow Lizard, as we made our way to Bora Bora to embark on another island adventure. We were both sad to leave, but excited to see what lay ahead.
Head on over to the second part of our honeymoon here, our Bora Bora break.
Cachet de Carew xx