I’ve been a vegetarian for so long (20-plus years!) that I don’t experience any sense of active compromise when I’m quickly scanning menus for the limited dishes I can eat. And certainly when I travel, I don’t necessarily expect to eat that nation’s specialty, and I don’t bemoan it if I can’t. I’m very used to this, and I like to think I’m low maintenance in that regard, though I do actively seek out vegetarian restaurants when I travel if it’s a possibility.
You’d think that a babymoon in Europe (France, Italy, Spain) would be kind of a perfect scenario for a pregnant vegetarian: first-world cleanliness practices, and tons of bread and pasta and cheese as national specialties, available anywhere from street corners to fine dining rooms (especially compared to some of the more far-flung or meat-loving places where we’ve traveled recently, like Indonesia, Istanbul). Easy peasy, right?
Totally wrong, as it turns out. American pregnant women are not advised to eat unpasteurized cheese (or milk, or juice), and it turns out Europeans are not real big on pasteurizing their stuff. Ironic, right? Given that Louis Pasteur‘s birthplace was indeed France.
Several years ago, I had the privilege of covering the opening of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas casino resort. It was a really wildly splashy affair (in the recession, no less) that involved a spectacular black-tie New Year’s Eve dinner designed by Colin Cowie, and a concert in a rather intimate ballroom by such up-and-comers as Jay-Z, Coldplay, Beyonce, Kanye West — you know, no biggie. Of course, the fabulous food and champers flowed, and surprises like poolside concerts and other treats popped up around the property all weekend. After that, David and I decided, “OK, we don’t have to do New Year’s Eve anymore. We can put the whole holiday to bed. We’ll never top this.”
Valentine’s Day in Paris was kinda like that. From the second deck of the Eiffel Tower after sunset, we declared, “It’s a wrap on Valentine’s Day.”
First of all, just to put it out there: The word “babymoon” is pretty obnox, right? But the concept, of course, is something I can totally get behind.
Obviously, when I found out I was pregnant, there was zero chance we were going to miss heading out for (at least) one last hurrah abroad. Of course, we got the doctor’s OK (he was relievingly unconcerned), and then we tossed around a ton of babymoon ideas.
Where to go? In recent years, our travel has tended to favor remote and third-world places, often accessed by super-long flights from Los Angeles. This time, we had a few specific criteria: