Blog, Travel

Honeymoon Recap: Tenerife and Dublin!

By: Kristen Darkow


See that last name? ^^ Crazy, huh? It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks, but we are back from our honeymoon and adjusting back to real life as a married couple! It’s hard to believe it’s already the middle (almost end?!) of June, but we will be reliving our wedding and honeymoon for awhile yet. Today I have for you a little (actually a novel) recap of our honeymoon! So sit back, relax, and pretend you’re on vacation with us. πŸ™‚

On Thursday, June 6, Andrew and I both worked until 3:00 and then headed home to catch an Uber to the airport.

We flew from Madison to Chicago, ran across the entire airport to catch our flight to Dublin, and then tried desperately to get some sleep on that overnight flight. You never realize how uncomfortable an airplane seat is until you feel obligated to sleep on one! So, needless to say, when we arrived in Dublin at 3:30am our time and 9:30am Dublin time, we were exhausted.

We had a few hours to kill in that airport, so we enjoyed a Guinness and a short nap in a chair. In the afternoon, it was time for our flight to Tenerife, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, just off the western coast of Morocco. Our flight landed at around 8:30 and we grabbed our bags, got our rental car, and drove to our resort. We stayed at the Santa Barbara Golf and Ocean Club.

It was 9:30pm and we were exhausted and ready for bed, but more than that, we were starving. So, we found a nearby restaurant where I ordered just your classic margherita pizza and a sangria, and Andrew got a cerveza and “spaghetti marinara” – sounds like just normal spaghetti, right? Wrong. Andrew accidentally got himself a nice big bowl of shellfish. Classic miscommunication on night #1 in Spain.

Whew – finally bedtime.

We must have been even more tired than we thought, because we woke up on Saturday at 10:30am – almost 12 hours of sleep!

This picture makes me laugh because we were trying to use a selfie stick while waiting for the bus. We’re old.

This was our beach day, though, so we didn’t miss out on too much! We took a bus to Playa de las Vistas in a city called Los Cristianos. It was an overcast day and not very warm, so we thought we’d be fine taking a little nap on the beach. What we forgot is that we’re a couple of pale midwesterners laying on an island off the coast of AFRICA.

Got fried. Ate dinner at an oceanside restaurant called Balu. Andrew again ordered cerveza and pasta (no shellfish this time) and I had paella, a classic Spanish dish of chicken and rice. We caught a bus back to our resort and dropped in on happy hour at our hotel bar, and then went out onto Ocean Breeze Terrace at our resort for live music and drinks. Surprisingly, though, it gets really chilly when the sun goes down so we didn’t stay out there long!

On Sunday we had our hotel breakfast and then decided to explore the area around our resort. We walked the trail along the ocean and into a nearby neighborhood called San Blas.

We found a grocery store (honestly, one of the more fascinating things to visit when in a foreign country!) and got a frozen pizza to bake at our hotel. We had something big planned for Sunday night, but to kill time before that, Andrew went to the gym (who works out on vacation, right???) and I laid out in the sun and got more burnt. So now for our big plans. Tenerife is a volcanic island. Its volcano is called Mt. Teide and is right in the center of the island, making the entire island very mountainous and filled with lava rock. A must-see while you’re there is the view from the top of the mountain, so, we did just that! We got picked up at 5:00pm by our tour group to drive up the mountain. The bus drove as far as it could go, and then we took a cable car the rest of the way (for the record – Andrew does not like heights).

Once at the top, we hiked around and watched the sunset from above the clouds. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a prettier view…photos don’t even do it justice.

Once the sun went down, we took the cable car back down and waited for complete darkness so that we could stargaze. Since we were so high up, there was no light pollution so the stars (and even a few planets) were clear as day. It was all so incredible!
One thing that you’re sure to see everyyyywhere on Tenerife is ads for Loro Parque Zoo. Neither Andrew or I were really excited about this zoo or had it as a priority on our to-do list by any means, but our original plan for this day was to go see a town up in the mountains and our ears needed a break from the elevation. Seriously, I think my ears were plugged a majority of this trip. So anyway, we ended up at the zoo and saw some adorable animals.

On our way back to the resort, we stopped at the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Candelaria, which was beautiful and so historic. We meandered the town of Candelaria and stopped in to a local cafe for coffee. These were some of our favorite moments because we got a taste of local life in Tenerife and not the tourist side of it all.

When we got back to our resort, we got ready for dinner. We needed to try the Spanish tapas, so we went to dinner at Pata de Oro.
I was still learning metric system conversion rates, so I accidentally ordered a liter of sangria, which turned out to be huge. Needless to say, Andrew helped me finish it. The tapas were incredible – we ordered a potato skin, tortellini, and chorizo. After, we went out for a drink and some live music.
Tuesday was our golf day. If you know Andrew, you know that he is giddy about his golf. This is definitely what he was most looking forward to on our honeymoon, and I think about 20 minutes into the drive to the golf course, he was completely regretting the decision. Remember how I said the island is mountainous? We didn’t realize that the roads to Buenavista Golf were actually just winding, turning, curvy alleyways at a 50-degree incline right through the middle of tiny towns. I’ve never seen Andrew so stressed, but he did great and luckily golf, his favorite thing in the world, was waiting for him at the end. The course itself was beautiful and well-worth it (I think?).

After golfing, we went to a spa for Turkish baths and a sauna, and then went on to a town called Garachico to see its natural pools and walk the city.

Then we enjoyed some gelato on a patio. When we got back to our resort (we took less windy and mountainy roads this time), we went out to dinner at a place called Dabda and split two pastas and a bottle of wine. Later, we went out for drinks at a nearby Irish bar called Wild Geese and enjoyed an Irish singer.
They found out that we were on our honeymoon and announced it to the entire bar, so we spent the rest of the night talking to all the couples who approached us, congratulating us and giving us marriage advice. πŸ™‚ It was incredible! People are so nice.
On Wednesday we went back to Los Cristianos for a little beach and shopping time. We started with lunch along the ocean, where Andrew had a mixed meat platter (so manly) and I had paella (again).

I fell asleep on the beach (this time I was lathered up with sunscreen). There are men walking around this city with watches, sunglasses, purses, belts, etc. and they come up to you 100 times a day asking if you want to buy something. Their wives are offering hair braiding services. One of the hair braiders pulled me aside and started telling me all sorts of flattering things, and then grabbed my arm and pulled me toward her little hair braiding station. I don’t know how to just tell someone “no” in these situations, but told her I’m not really interested so she said she’d just do one braid and show me how it looks. All of a sudden, my head is half braided and Andrew asks if she’s almost done and then offers her a few Euros. The lady was demanding 25 Euros and Andrew was all “She didn’t ask to have her hair braided, we’re not paying that!”, so she took the braids out and sent us on our way. It took me 3 days to get the oil out of my hair that they put in. After that debacle, we sat down to have a drink near the ocean to watch surfers, and ended up striking up a two-hour conversation with an Irishman named Bernard, who was certainly the most interesting man in the world and had many stories about his travels and where he’s lived and what languages he speaks and his paintings and growing up with Bono and how he can get us into Bono’s house. Got his email address and went on our merry way.

We came back to our resort area and had dinner at an Italian restaurant called Mamma Roma…it was delicious! After that, we were pretty tired so we just hung out on our balcony before bed.
It’s not everyday you board a catamaran for whale and dolphin watching, but we did just that on Thursday. We saw pilot whales sleeping and bobbing with the waves, and then saw bottle nosed dolphins fishing near the fishing nets.

That evening, we drove to a city called Playa de las Americas for dinner and a sunset. We found a spot right along the ocean and I enjoyed a large sangria and spaghetti, and Andrew had paella and cerveza.

After the sunset, we stopped back at the Irish bar, Wildgeese, again and listened to music and made friends with a Scottish couple and an Irish couple. Again, people are so cool. Such a great night!
Friday was Andrew’s 30th birthday, and also the day we had to leave Tenerife! πŸ™ We checked out of our hotel at 10am and walked the San Blas neighborhood and did a little shopping. We went back to Pato de Oro for lunch where we enjoyed tapas and a tandoori pizza, and then “banoffe” cheesecake, which is apparently banana toffee…who knew?!

We made our way to the airport to return the rental car and board our flight to Dublin. We got in to Dublin around midnight, and then took a taxi to my friend, Liz’s apartment. How cool to have a friend in Dublin who’s willing to put you up and show you the city?

Had to document the wrong side of the car in Ireland
On Saturday we got up and had brunch and then did some shopping and exploring. We bought a cool souvenir cross made from thousands of years old wood.

Don’t worry – I made him do this. It’s “good luck” πŸ™‚
Trinity College

Stopped for a Guinness in an Irish pub, and then made our way to Dublin’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head, for dinner. Andrew had Bangers & Mash and I had Guinness Stew. Everything was delicious!

We walked around and explored for the rest of the evening, stopping in local pubs until we found ourselves in O’Donoghue’s, a pub that I had visited in 2014 and left a signed dollar on the wall.

My previous dollar was no longer there, but we signed a new one and had them put it in a spot where it won’t get taken down for a long time! So now our goal is to return to Dublin in the next 5 years and find our dollar. πŸ™‚

On Sunday, we were up bright and early to catch our flight back to Chicago, and then Chicago to Madison. There are such mixed feelings when it comes to ending a vacation. We had just the best time and wanted it to last another week or three, but we were also anxious to get home, see Storm, do laundry, and get back into real life. It was an amazing honeymoon that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
Have you been to Spain or Ireland? What were your favorite parts? What from this list would you most want to do? Share with us in the comments!


2 thoughts on “Honeymoon Recap: Tenerife and Dublin!”

  1. Love Ireland! Did you see the library at Trinity College? Quite impressive!
    Spain is high on our list of travel destinations.
    Looks like a fabulous trip!

    1. We didn’t go into the library just because the line was so long – we would have loved to, though! Next time. πŸ™‚

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