italy / day eight / matera

After all the pasta and breads, olive oil and wine, I was so excited to get to the well equiped hotel gym downstairs, that I barely slept! Jordan and I headed down to basement and I had a really good arms session. We had a quick shower and then enjoyed a westernised style breakfast buffet, whilst going over plans for the day. Today we were going to Matera, in the small region of Basilicata, approximately an hour, by train, out of Bari. The ancient neighbourhood, namely Sassi, are a series of caverns carved out of limestone, nestled in a small canyon.

On arrival, we picked up a map of the Sassi and a punnet of strawberries for our journey. We soon made sense of the layout, breaking it up into a distinct New Town, Old Town, and in my opinion, Very Old Town. The train station is higher up and you could basically follow any of the streets down towards the main square. From there, it’s more of a wander and get lost kind of situation. I loved this, as the small number of tourists that were there just dispersed and you were solely there to immerse yourself in the seemingly small, but literally huge Sassi.

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Mid afternoon refuel of pizza bread and fruit smoothie, and we were back exploring the Sassi. Closer to the ravine, deeper into the town, there were many empty grottoes ready for me to explore; semi fenced off but not really.

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After farewelling the enchanting Matera, we ate at one of the only eateries we could find in Bari, Tankard Gastropub. We put some washing on at the laundromat across the road, whilst eating some delicious ribs and salad. The person manning the venue was lovely and so helpful with the menu, even though he couldn’t speak a drop of english. It was one of the tastiest meals we had.

To this day, Matera is one of the most incredible, absolutely magical places I’ve ever been and is seriously underrated. If you’re going to Italy and not sure whether to go, as it is a bit out of the way, I’m telling you now, it is 110% worth it.

honeymoon day two

Good morning husband, good morning fluffy blankets, good morning stars, good mo… 5.20am! I better get in the shower!

As you can imagine, in a lulled state, we just made the plane to our honeymoon. Five minutes later and they wouldn’t have checked us in. You’d think from both of us catching a multitude of planes over the years, we’d have learnt. Obviously, not the case.

We went via Sydney with a couple hours stop over for eating, drinking, and more eating, then made our way to Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu.

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The airport was mind blowing. Never in my life had I been to an airport like this. As you can see, airport security was fairly relaxed and paid no notice to us photographing and posing on the tarmac. Inside the terminal, the line moved steadily through the custom security staff stamping passports. A glistening formed on peoples foreheads and upper lips as we waited patiently in line, to once again form another line. Oh it wasn’t that bad! But it was hot and cramped.

Once through customs and security, we made our way to Adventures in Paradise desk, whom then transferred us via shuttle to the Havannah Resort. On the thirty minute drive to the resort, William, the driver, did not stop talking the entire way. He knew all kinds of fun facts about Vanuatu and the island we were staying on, Efate. He pointed out every village, tourist spot, sign post and rock (haha). No, but honestly! He made us feel really welcomed and it was great being able to see some of the island and learn more about their culture.

As soon as we pulled up, we were greeted by some of the lovely ladies who worked at the resort. They took our bags and walked us to the reception area / The Point restaurant, passing the most lovely trimmed gardens, colourful, vibrant flowers and luscious green shrubbery and trees. Once at the Restaurant, we were handed coconuts, a couch and a gorgeous view.

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After a couple signed documents and two full bellies full of coconut water, they escorted us to our Villa. She took us up the normal path, then veered off down some stepping stones, which lead to our front door for the next five days. Now this was absolutely incredible. Inside was bohemian, yet modern, with lovely timber furnishings and shutters on all the windows. At one end of the villa was the bathroom amenities with an open shower and skylight, and at the other, two giant doors that opened up onto our very own deck, plunge pool, hanging day bed and a view of the beach and vivid turquoise waters. This was literally paradise.

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Once settled into the Villa, it was getting late and our tummies were grumbling. We walked the fifty meters down the pristine footpaths to The Point restaurant with our complimentary cocktails for two voucher (newlywed benefits, hells yeah!) and relaxed for the rest of the night.