Hawaii (Part 2)

After the perfect week on Oahu, we flew to Maui. Oahu was awesome, but Maui blew me away. 

We stayed in a little cabin on the Road to Hana. It was perfect for us, but next time, perhaps, we'll stay upcountry to avoid the bugs. 

The first night we were there, we drove up to Haleakalā to catch the sunset. It was a total spur of the moment decision, but one we didn't regret in the slightest. We found a part about 9,000 feet up that gave us the perfect view of the sunset.

We stood there, clicking away on our cameras as the sun just dropped below the clouds. It was an incredible moment. (It was also freezing! The temperature dropped to 40* on that mountain and I was incredibly unprepared and wearing shorts!)

The next day we drove the road to Hana which was as awesome as everyone states. 

 Beach after beach...

Waterfall after waterfall.

And surprisingly, a lot of rocky beaches, in addition to the smooth, sandy ones. 

When we drove around the backside of the volcano, we were greeted with long winding roads, and green pastures.

The last day we were there, we drove up to the top of Haleakalā. It was cloudy, but as the clouds moved, you could catch the colors of the volcano. Sadly, it never really cleared up, but the view was still breathtaking.

Before we headed to the airport, we stopped at one final beach just to see the sunset. There were surfers out catching the waves, and we spotted a bunch of sea turtles, popping their heads out of the water. The surf was gorgeous, as was the sunset in the background. With each click of our cameras, the sun got lower and richer in color.

Hawaii was a gorgeous experience and I already cannot wait to travel back. Until then, I'll be drooling over these pictures as a reminder of a perfect vacation. :)

Hawaii (Part 1 of 2)

Finally back from Hawaii. It was such an incredible trip that returning really seemed like a bum deal. If we could have shipped our cats out there and found a house within a week, I'm not sure we would have returned! So, so much to see and do!

We spent one week on Oahu with my husband's family and absolutely loved it. We stayed on the marine base most of the time which had definite pros and cons, but it worked out well overall.

When we go back (yes, we're saying that already) we will stay in Honolulu. We spent one night in downtown Honolulu and absolutely loved it.

View from our hotel, the Modern Honolulu. Excellent stay, and would most definitely return!

Honolulu has a big, Asian city vibe. What impressed me the most was how clean the city was. We got up early one morning and walked down the street for breakfast and there were elderly ladies sweeping the sidewalks and doing their part to keep the city clean. We ate dinner at

Chiba Ken

, which was traditional Japanese food. Their sushi was excellent and very, very quick service. Breakfast the next morning was at

Goofy Cafe and Diner

and really blew me away. Order the French Toast! They use traditional Hawaiian breads and it's the perfect mixture of crisp French Toast and gooey breads. Their servings were surprisingly large and filling! 

Of course we did fun, touristy stuff too! 

We drove up to the Dole Plantation and walked through the gardens. 

So many flowers! And pineapple. ;) 

We spent a couple of hours walking through the

Iolani Palace

in downtown Honolulu. The palace was gorgeous and the audio tour was incredibly interesting. Really, this little palace has so much history and sadness behind those doors. It's a must see! We actually didn't get the chance to see the Crown Jewels, so we'll have to go back! ;) 

Of course, no trip to Oahu is complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor.

 I highly advise getting here early and getting your tickets to take the boat out to the Arizona memorial before it gets too busy. The Memorial is very sober. I appreciated the serious video they showed, before we got onto the boat, because it really set the tone for the visit. While I still saw selfie sticks used at the Memorial, overall there was a sober and respectful tone.

I wasn't prepared for the petrol smell. It truly gives substance to the face that this memorial is a large grave and the ramifications of December 7th are still present even today. 

 Exhaustion is no excuse not to keep sightseeing. We did a brief (think, one hour?) tour of the Missouri, saw where the treaty to end WW2 was signed and then moved on to the most incredible shaved ice I ever had. (The Pearl Harbor memorial had an area for hot dogs as well. Best hot dogs I've ever had, although my stomach was still on Eastern time and thought it was lunch.) ;) Get food at these places, people!

So much more to talk about, but this is getting overwhelming. Part 2 is coming up soon! :) 

Hawaii (????????)

In the middle of an exceptionally cold, South Carolina week, the thought of Hawaii is like a warm bolt of lighting.

Ok, mostly. Without the frizzy hair and pain involved in a lightning bolt.

via

I've never been to Hawaii and we are (fingers crossed) planning a trip in May! I'm over the moon and in stage of total preparation. Think excel sheets and internet tabs about the best places to go and what to see and what to do and where to eat....

Our (tentative) plan is 6 days on Oahu and 4+ days on Maui. The 6 days will be spent with my husband's family. Plan is to rent a sprawling house near the ocean and just soak up the sun, hike, kayak, eat, sleep, and truly enjoy Oahu.

The 4 days or so on Maui will be what I'm calling "Honeymoon 2.0". Basically we'll be doing the same thing we did on Oahu but with more hiking and we're going really explore the island as much as possible.

So, that's our big Hawaii vacation and the last family vacation before Scotland. Anyone else been there? Have any good tips? I'd love to hear them!