Today was our very last full day in St. Lucia. We spent our day by the pool, relaxing, playing volleyball and just hanging out. Rachel and Danny left today so we said our goodbyes to them. Its never fun to say goodbye to anyone...especially when you know you'll be leaving too. Here is our final night picture...
Today was a fun in the sun day. We spent most of the day laying by the pool and hanging out with our new friends. John and I worked on earning the coveted sandals and enjoyed drinking by the swim up pool bar. Its going to be such a shock when we get back home - we'll probably order a meal or drink and just walk away without paying because we're become so accustomed to everything being all inclusive and not having to wait on the check.
After a fun day we headed to Kimonos - a Japanese steak house - for dinner. IT WAS SO YUMMY! I wish we could have gone there every night. It was pretty much a low key day. Afterward they had the Sandals presentation and we got ours!! Yay! We also earned a key chain =)
Another early day for the Henningers! We went to feast upon the wonderful breakfast and then prepared for a day of fun and relaxation at the pool and swim up bar. Once again we participated in events to earn our sandals - as competitive as we are we HAD to have our sandals! We played pool volleyball and beach volleyball and swam all day. Later we had to get ready for our Party Boat cruise. This trip we would be taking with the three other couples we had met - it was such a fun time! We traveled in the vans to the same place we went to for our other boat adventure and got ready to party in the Caribbean.
While on the boat they played local music as well as some other fun songs that we will always remember - Tim Wilson's Booty Song and The Big Bamboo. While on our cruise we passed another boat that was full of free spirited souls that had a trampoline in their boat. Later during the cruise the same boat passed us and mooned us - as well as a few other things...
The strangest event did happen while we were on the cruise. John ended up talking to another couple that got married in our town on the same night as we did. They asked John were we got married and had our reception. Once he told him they said, "so you're the reason why we couldn't have our reception there." How crazy is that? They apparently tried to book at the same place, but we had ours booked almost a year in advance. Good thing we had a long engagement with plenty of time to get everything planned and booked!
After the cruise we went back to the resort and they had a poker night. John and I love to play poker and this one was all for charity - so whatever money we played with was donated, but we would win fake money and would be able to "buy" things at the auction afterwards. John and I played well at our table and we were able to buy a necklace and some sauces. We then went to bed - we were pooped!
Today we woke up early once again to go on our first excursion. We met up with our new friends Brent and Jamie to take our tour of the city of Soufriere, a drive-in volcano, a waterfall and botanical garden, snorkeling, boat ride, and a restaurant with authentic St. Lucian food. We began our day by having a wonderful breakfast in the main lobby and then packed up some towels and water for the trip.
The ride to the boat was bumpy - of course, but once we got onto the boat it was smooth sailing from then on out! The water was beautiful and so clear. I definitely could get used to being in St. Lucia and living in such a paradise. Throughout the trip we kept seeing a "pirate ship" - we later found out that the ship was the one used in Pirates of the Caribbean. It never occurred to me that the movie would be filmed there - crazy.
We made it to the town of Soufriere and when we were making our approach to the dock little boys were swimming towards to boat and jumping on - it was crazy! They were the cutest little boys - they would dance to the music and do flips off the boat. Once we ported we got off and into vans to headed towards the sulfuric volcano. We got to the volcano and all I could picture was this thing erupting and us running from the hot lava. Of course the thing smelt horrible - like rotten eggs. It was fun to visit though.
We got back into our vans and headed towards the botanical gardens and waterfall. The flowers were beautiful and there were so many colors and fragrances. The waterfall was perfect and of course a great spot for picture taking. After the waterfall and garden we headed towards the authentic St. Lucian restaurant. I was nervous that I wouldn't like the food since I am such a picky eater, but they had chicken and mac-n-cheese so I was set! We left the restaurant (that had a beautiful view!) and then went back to the boat to go and snorkel. Before casting off the same little boys that greeted us came back and were jumping off the boat with little flips and swimming back and forth.
John and I loved snorkeling - we watched all the bright and colorful fish swimming around. The water was so clear and fun to swim in - I would love to go back and snorkel for longer! We got back on the boat and then the party started.
The bar was stocked with run punch and the music was blasting. It was such a great time heading back - we were entertained by the captain's great dancing abilities and enjoyed the wind as the boat headed back towards home.
When we got back to Sandals John and I had dinner reservations at the French restaurant La Toc. The restaurant featured authentic French cuisine and was an okay place to eat. After eating we went to the main meeting place - where breakfast was each day - to watch the entertainment for the night. Afterwards we headed up to bed - another long and FUN day!
Our day began with an early waking up - around 8AM. We slept so soundly the night before; going to bed around 8:30PM. It felt great to catch up on the much needed sleep we lacked from the few days before. We had a phenomenal breakfast at around 9AM - which consisted of fresh fruits, fresh omelets, breads, pastries, anything we wanted. After breakfast, at 10AM, we headed to the "Tour of Sandals" which we missed the night before due to our exhaustion. During our tour we learned the saying of the island, "No Pressure, No Problem".
Once the tour was complete we headed to the pool and the pool bar for some drinks and sun. It was our first day in the sun so we lathered up with sunscreen. There were a few other couples that toured with us in the pool also, so we quickly made friends with fellow honeymooners (Lindsey and ?? from Virginia; Brent and Jamie from Greenville, SC; Rachel and Danny from Cincinnati, OH). We found out that some of them had booked excursions, so we went ahead and booked ours for the same time as our new friends.
The Sandals "Playmakers" went around at this time asking people is they wanted to sign up for a water balloon toss. All of us went to sign up. There were about 20 or so couples in the water balloon contest. While competing I fell on my face (straight into the sand) while hiking the balloon to John. We earned points towards our leather sandal necklaces. After the balloon adventure we remained in the group with Brent, Jamie, Rachel, and Danny. Around 2:30 the Playmakers came again to ask people to sign up for beach volleyball - all 6 of us signed up to play. We played 4 games - and then met a new friend Erik. Our team won and we earned more points toward our sandals! After playing we went back to the pool and bar to hang out some more. While in the pool we met up with Erik and met his wife Diana (from Las Vegas, NV) and they became apart of our group. After the pool time we planned to meet in the lobby to go to Armando's Italian restaurant for dinner.
The eight of us rode the shuttle to Armando's, but ended up splitting into two groups of four to eat. We ate with Erik and Diana and had such a great conversation with them. They were wonderful, and they were also getting married there at the resort. After dinner we all went back to the lobby and watched the performance going on by the locals - including dancers, fire shooters, and limboers. It was a fabulous performance. When the performance was over we headed up to the bar upstairs - the disco club. We all drank a little up there and then left around 1AM. When back in our room we fell asleep immediately.
Today we left for our honeymoon - destination St. Lucia. We only had 3 hours of sleep the night before, so our 6AM airport arrival time was not very fun. The night before we stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites near the Airport. Our wake-up call was at 5:30 AM and then we checked in with Delta Airlines at 6:15AM. Breakfast (our first as Mr. and Mrs.) consisted of Burger King (French Toast Sticks - yum!) at the airport which we scarfed down. Once boarding the plane we took our first class seats to Atlanta for part one of our trip. Once in Atlanta we found our next gate headed towards St. Lucia. Knowing that the gates always change around we searched the arrivals screen and went to the gate it told us. After arriving at our gate John became parched and went to get a drink. When arriving back with his drink he said the gates had changed and unless we wanted to go to Brazil we needed to move. Once arriving to our correct gate we called our families and let them know we had made it to Atlanta safely. At our gate there were a ton of other couples; 90% which were married the night before. We were called to board and took our first class seats once again. This time behind us was a grumpy old man - hence we nicknamed him Grump. We were offered mimosas in our seats and took them with pleasure. The movie showing on the plane was "Premonition" staring Sandra Bullock.
3:30PM After arriving to St. Lucia we departed the plane and walked onto the outdoor airport towards the immigration line. We turned in our immigration papers and headed towards grabbing our luggage. We took our luggage and then went to the customs place and then some man grabbed our luggage and put it on his little dolly. We ran after him and he took it to a Sandals shuttle bus as he said, "One of you go stand in line, one of you stay with the luggage, and a tip for me.". Needless to say we weren't happy to give the bag thief a tip. John stood with the baggage and I went to check in at the resort desk. I checked in and came back with tags for our Sandals luggage. Our luggage was then put onto a shuttle - the same one we were to board and we left the airport with 3 other couples. One couple was from Gainesville,FL (Hannah and ??) and another was from Grenada, Miss. (Hope and Steve - they got married at the resort). The other couple was from Mississippi, too - maybe. The taxi/shuttle ride was EXTREMELY bumpy and on the opposite side on the road. The driver gave us a little history and information about the island - he used to be on the police force. The terrain was bumpy and the hills/mountains did not have guardrails - which fell into the water. Every time we turned a corner the driver would beep his horn to warn a driver coming the opposite way - I thought he knew everyone. We made our first stop at a little cliff and took pictures of the town - it was beautiful!
We arrived at the Sandals Regency Resort at 4:30PM and went straight into the check-in room where we were greeted with a delicious rum punch - our first drink on the island. After checking in we made dinner reservations for the 2 restaurants (La Toc and Kimonos) that needed reservations and then took a shuttle to our room. We got into our room and decided not to take the 5PM tour of the resort and decided to venture out our own. We had dinner at the Arizona - a southwestern type of restaurant (Steaks, ribs, grilled shrimp) and then had to go to the gift shop. Lucky for us it was 8PM and that is the time the gift shop closed, but they held it open just for us. We both forgot toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, and pretty much all of that stuff. We then went back to our room and ended up going to bed at 8:30PM. We had an exhausting day!
Yes, after 5 years and 10 months of dating we are finally married. No longer are we John and Kimberly "the forever dating couple", but we are Mr. and Mrs. Henninger. The wedding was in my hometown and was exactly how we wanted it. A perfect church wedding followed by a huge celebration with our family and friends. The food was fantastic - chicken, roast beef, mac-n-cheese, green beans, potatoes and the best rolls in the entire universe. As a bread expert I would know - ha! We picked July 21, 2007 because 40 years earlier in 1967 my parents were married. They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on our wedding day. I guess my thought was that the way marriages are going these days we might as well get married on a day that seems to have a nice track record so far! My parents definitely gave me the dream wedding I wanted - considering I have been planning my wedding since I was 13 that's pretty awesome.
My whole family was there - minus a few cousins and John's family was there including his family members from Pittsburgh. I know.....I am marrying a Yankee...he's been in the south over 20 years, so I think its ok! I just pray that he and I will have a Godly and happy marriage full of love, kids, and wonderful memories. So many of our friends, John's fraternity brothers, and my sorority sisters were there - it was amazing how many came for our big day. We are truly thankful to have such wonderful people (family and friends) in our lives.
Next we are off to our honeymoon in St. Lucia - this is the one thing that kept us going, knowing that after all the hustle and bustle we would get to go on a fantastic vacation!