Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Yesterday Barry and I drove over to Hilo. It was a 2 &1/2 hour drive along the coast and through the mountains. The variety of terrain on the Big Island is spectacular!
Hilo was a cute little city. We did not spend much time there because we were actually on that side of the island to visit the Volcanoes. We stopped in the Big Island Candy store and Two Ladies Kitchen. There were lots of people in both store. Big Island Candies had very interesting candies. They actually had potato chips and Macadamia nuts in chocolate. Two Ladies Kitchen had fabulous Mochi. We purchase several different types. So far we have eaten their strawberry mochi. It was delicious!!!! A fresh strawberry with mashed red bean filling is covered with mochi. If you are ever in Hilo you must go to Two Ladies Kitchen. It is a small store, but their service is fast. You can also call your order in ahead of time. This is the best mochi I have ever had!

Then it was off to the Volcanoes. We stopped in the Kilauea Visitor Center where we were treated with a presentation by one of the rangers. He gave us a map, told us where we could see the latest volcanic eruption at the Jaggar Museum. He explained that we could not get too close because of the dangerous sulfur dioxide gases it was putting out. He recommended that we stop at the Steam Vents to get follow the Hawaiian custom of getting purified. The ranger also recommended walking through the Thurston Lava Tube. The terrain was varied between rock and rain forrest. We could have spent two days at the volcanoes. There was more to see, but not enough time to see them.
We used our GPS to get us back to the condo. The GPS (Gabby) took us the shortest route which was clearly through the mountains. We saved time, but it was a challenging route. It was pitch black and there were some areas where the road was no longer paved, just gravel. At one point according to Gabby the car drove off the road and she kept telling us to take a left turn to get back on the road. We were actually still on the road, there was no place to turn left and if we had we would have gone off the road. Fortunately later our car and her road reconnected and we arrived back to the condo safe and sound.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Big Island

Hawaii is fabulous! We are staying in Waikoloa. The weather has been 75-80 during the day and 68-69 at night. We have visited three different beaches, Hapuna Beach State Park and Anaeho'omalu. Hapuna had lots of waves for surfing with boards or your body and boogie boarding. I enjoyed body surfing, jumping in big waves and running with the them. It was lots of fun and good exercise. The sand was smooth and biege. Anaeho'omalu (also known as "A" beach) was very different. The water was calmer and deeper. People were snorkeling, surf sailing and paddling. (I had never seen surf paddling before it looked funny. They looked like they were having lots of fun.) I enjoyed swimming and floating in the water. The sand here was mulit-colored and rocky. It is so wonderful to have ocean water that is warm enough for me to get into and enjoy!! Yesterday we visited Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. The water was too rough for us to get in. It was fascinating there. The sand besides being black was also rocky. The sand was black because the land was obviously cooled lava. The shapes, folds and texture were amazing. The beach was brackish, there were several fresh springs bubbling and flowing out of the rock and pools. The water was so blue with several different shades of blue. In addition to all of this were the sea turtles. They were majestic and beautiful as they rested in the sand. I know it must have taken an incredible effort to beach themselves.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Dream Come True!!

I have always wanted to visit Hawaii since I watched Hawaii Five-O in high school. This year my husband made the wish come true. Several years ago one of his annual conferences met in Hawaii. He would not go. I usually accompany him to some of his conferences, so I was very disappointed. Barry promised me that he would take me to Hawaii for our 10th anniversary. Our anniversary is not until May, but that is a terrible time of year for me to take a vacation because I am doing a lot of travel among Quakers.

Our trip has been wonderful. I was not happy that we had to be at the airport early in the morning for a 6:55 am flight. However, we made it in time for our flights. There are no direct flights from Philly to the Big Island so we connected in Phoenix. The boarding process in Phoenix was unusual but nice. We got to the gate 10 minutes prior to the normal boarding time to find that the gate was open and they were inviting people to board whenever they wanted. I always want overhead space near my seat so I was glad to board early. It created a nice atmosphere having people casually walk onto the plane instead of crowding around the gate anxiously waiting for their zone to be called, pushing through the crowd when it is and standing in line that has formed on the Jetway as people are finding their seats and stowing their luggage.

It was an incredibly long day. We arrived in Hawaii at 3:00 pm their time which was 8:00 pm Philly time. When I stepped off the plane, walked down the stairs to and across the tarmac it was the first time in months that I had been outside without wearing a coat. It was sunny and 80 degrees. I was in heaven!!! Barry and I gathered our luggage and took the shuttle to the car rental agency where they gave us a larger car than the compact we ordered. It was a free upgrade we did not see as a gift. At least it wasn't a truck, van or SUV.

Our first stop was the health food store. We needed to pick up some gluten, dairy & corn free food for the week. It was a nice store which carried several of the items I purchase in Philly. They also have a prepared food section that had gluten free turkey loaf and high fructose corn syrup free barbecue chicken. We bought the turkey loaf and chicken, which were delicious, so that we didn't have to cook our first night.

Then it was off to our home for the week, Kings' Land Hilton Grand Vacation Club.