Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I'm Working On It, I Promise!

OK. I have been too busy since I got home from vacay to get all the pics posted with captions, but I am working on it, I promise. I have them all downloaded and cropped, etc. but I am now working on captions and since there are so many pics, it may take a while. You understand, I hope, ;).

But, I will take this opportunity to talk about the trip, in detail, with pictures to come.

Basically, this was the best vacation I have ever taken. Besides the fact that i got to relax and hang out with my husband, Hawaii is the definition of Paradise. It will be impossible for me to even begin to show you all in my pictures the beauty and awesome nature that was on the islands we visited. The only thing to bother me on this trip whatsoever was the wonderful delays of Northwest Airlines.

I will start with that aspect of the trip and get it out of the way. Our first flight was from Detroit to San Fran and was delayed 1 hour. No biggie. From San Fran to Honolulu, another 3 hour delay. Then, once we got to Honolulu, since it was so delayed everywhere else, we had to stay overnight in Honolulu and fly to Maui early the next morning. Then, from Kona to Seattle on our way home, delayed 2.5 hours. From Seattle to Detroit? Another 45 minute delay. Phew. For all this trouble, NW generously gave us $20 in free food, $70 in plane vouchers, 2 calling cards for 10 minutes in total. Woo hoo. Not. ;).

On to the better part of the trip.

We landed in Maui first thing in the morning. We drove to our resort, called the Royal Lahaina. We had a beautiful ocean front/view room on the top floor, with a great balcony. We immediately changed into shorts and our bathing suits. It was about 75-80 degrees every day we were there, literally the most perfect weather I have ever encountered. and it's like that all year round! The first day, we took a drive North or our resort and saw the Nakalele Blowhole, which was awesome. Click here to see exactly what the blowhole is. We ate lunch that day at this really cute local bar/hangout and I had the best shrimp ceasar salad. Yum. We did a lot of hiking that day and were exhausted by night. The time change really hits you flying this far away.....

Day two, we drove the famous drive to Hana. Probably my favorite part of the entire trip. We bought this great book, previous to the trip, called Maui Revealed. Best travel book EVER (at least for Hawaiian islands). Basically, the Road to Hana is less than 60 miles long, but can take all day to drive, depending on the amount of time you spend stopping, hiking, taking pics. Of course, Kurt and I had to stop at EVERY SINGLE waterfall and siteseeing type spot we possibly could. I could not believe some of the hikes we endured to see a waterfall, and every single hike and painful step/fall was worth it. We hiked over mile long streams of boulders, down slippery cliffs........We also had the best banana bread I have ever eaten. We saw some very kewl beaches on this road as well including black sand beaches and a red sand beach. It was at a stand located Half Way to Hana. Also got to swim in a waterfall for the first time, in one called Alelele Falls. It was kinda a hidden hike (had to have the book to know about it), so Kurt and I had the whole area to ourselves. I swam for a while and Kurt explored a nearby cave. That night we ate at a great seafood place called Roy's (click here).

The next day, we drove one of the mountains in Maui. We were on a mission to see the redwood forest in Maui. We have always wanted to see redwoods, and never thought they would be in Maui. Alas, we were not able to get there. After driving about 8000 feet up the mountain in REALLY dangerous conditions (i.e. road was about 10 feet across with no railings), the road turned into an all dirt road that was only about 8 feet across. Kurt is severely afraid of heights, and it really did not look safe to go much further in the convertible (non 4 wheel drive) we had rented. But, in those 8000 feet, I got some awesome pics of the scenery, mountains, ocean, trees. It was awesome (at least for me, LOL). That day, we also visited many of the great beaches in Maui, including Big Beach which is supposedly the nicest beach on the entire island. There, I went swimming for the first time in the ocean (by myself of course since Kurt does not swim). It was incredible how strong the ocean is, pulling you back and forth, the waves just flying over your head. I so wanted a boogie board after watching everyone, but it would really not be practical to bring back in the plane....Click here. Of course, while there, Kurt made me trek over this lava hill to the other side, conveniently named "Little Beach". One may want to know that this beach is 'clothing optional'. We were there a total of about 10 minutes to walk up and down the beach. I felt like I was wearing a bodysuit compared to the rest of the beachgoers. Even the surfers were wearing nothing. Totally odd experience. Click here.. That night we ate at another great place, on the grounds of the resort, called Basil's. The place was entirely open air, and we had a great table overlooking the resort's grounds. Great food.

Our last day in Maui, we had a midday flight, so we hung out at the beach all morning, watching surfers and relaxing. Then flew to Kona, Big Island, for the second half of our trip. Great non-Northwest flight. Here we rented a Jeep because there are many 4WD roads on the Big Island. We stayed at the King Kamahamaha Hotel. It was right on the water and very nice as well, but not as nice as the Royal Lahaina in Maui. Great room though on the top floot here as well. We lucked out with all the top floor rooms, my favorite, ;). Xmas night, we had dinner at the hotel, a Xmas seafood buffet. All my favs--grilled fish, shrimp, crab legs, etc.

The next day, we drove to the only active volcano in Hawaii. On the way, we stopped at South Point (southernmost point in the United States), and stopped at a State Park known for its huge turtles. The drive to South Point was incredible. It was so windy, that the trees were literally bending completely over. beautiful beaches there and views. And the turtles at the state park were so CUTE. We saw some on the beach and some in the water, which was also at a black sand beach. The volcano was probably Kurt's favorite part of the entire trip. Here we saw craters, steam vents, lava tubes, tons of cooled lava, as well as the lava flowing down the volcano as well as where it was oozing into the ocean. Words cannot even express how awesome it was so see this in person. Ate that day at a place overlooking a huge crater, and had dinner back in Kona at a nice place overlooking the downtown area. More seafood. I swear, I was meant to live in Hawaii for the seafood selections. It was hard to even find a nonseafood item on their menus! Yay!

The next day, we drove North out of town. We took an awesome hike through the clouds (literally) in a bamboo rainforest. That was one of the most interesting hikes I have ever taken. It was absolutely breathtaking. I felt like I was in some eerie movie. Drove further towards Hilo and stopped at various waterfalls and scenic drives/beaches. Did a lot of hiking this day as well. Ate dinner at the best place of the trip, called Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. It was located literlly on the ocean, the waves were crashing underneath the deck we were sitting on. Food was great as well.

The next day, exhausted from the hiking the past few days, we decided to do beaches. We went to one beach down an AWFUL 4WD road. Took an hour, I kid you not, to go like a mile. But, the beach was worth it. Totally secluded and beautiful. Next went to another fairly secluded beach where I went swimming and Kurt slept on teh sand.....Had lunch at a seafood Mexican place, then went back to Kona to walk the shops and relax. Bought Kurt an awesome ring which is being shipped to us. It is platinum and inlayed with Hawaiian Koa Wood. Absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to get it. They took a day to make, and we were leaving that day. Also bought my Aunt some peaberry coffee and some towels and a tank top, bathing suit at a local store.

I will post pictures soon. Overall, the trip was completely and totally relaxing and fun. We actually want to go back, and that is rare for us since we always want to try new places. Next trip, we are going to do Oahu and the Big Island again, as well as some of the smaller islands. I highly recommend Hawaii to everyone! :).


Cynthia said...

So happy to hear you guys had a chance to relax! The trip sounds amazing. Email me who you booked this through. I want to go there after I graduate and Chris and I take a real honeymoon. Whoever planned this knew what they were doing!
I am just so glad to hear ya'll had fun!!!!!

Shannon said...

Sounds like a great time! I am glad you got to take the time off and enjoy yourselves...can't wait for pictures!

Lori Anne Haskell said...

Thanks guys!

Cynthia, I will email you the info. I normally book my own trips, but leave the more complicated ones, like this one, to my travel agent who gets just as good of deals as I do on stuff like this!

And shannon, I will send the pic link as soon as I get them all done!