Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mackenzie King Estates

On October 1st, I went with the Retiree Alumni group for a tour of the Mackenzie King Estates in the Gatineau Hills. Even though it was a cloudy day, the rain held off and we had a wonderful time exploring the grounds, eating a great lunch and catching up with old friends and ex-colleagues.

What a beautiful spot - I can't believe this is the first time I've been here!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Big Island - part 2

After snorkelling and on the way back to the hotel, Y and I spotted a local craft sale just up the road from our hotel, so the guys dropped us off. Wow – some wonderful crafts and Hawaiian products from local artisans!

Along the way, we also passed by Hawaii's very first church.

That night we decided to eat at the restaurant at our hotel because they had a special on. For $40 you got a meal for two that INCLUDED a bottle of wine! Great! Most of our meals so far had been a bit expensive (everything is expensive in Hawaii since they have to import most things in). We had a great meal and our server (Carolyn from the Philippines) was the sweetest lady.

Monday took us to Honoka’a which was half way to our destination and I got to shop at a scrapbooking store – YAY! They had some exclusive (to their store) Hawaiian papers and diecuts. I was a good girl and didn’t spend much money (or time) in this store.

From there it was off to the World Botanical Gardens and Umauma Falls. First you go to the falls and then to the rain forest and then to the gardens. ALL very nice but it was VERY hot that day.

Tuesday we decided to go to a local coffee farm and take a tour. It was a short tour (and free) but very informative. And of course, there was plenty of coffee to sample.

By this time it was getting close to lunch, so we asked our tour guide if there was somewhere close for a good lunch. She recommended “the Coffee Shack” for its home baked bread and desserts and its SPECTACULAR views. So we tried it out – WOW – she sure was right about the view!

The food was good too and we also had this little fellow come for a visit…..anyone want to buy some insurance? LOL!

We spent most of the afternoon on the patio – I tried a pina colada (hmmmm - it was ok but I like my margaritas better)….and then got ready for dinner. We heard good things about a place up the road at another hotel. One of their specials was ono (fish) stuffed with shrimp and covered with lobster sauce, so I tried that – ohhhhhhhh momma! Was it GOOD! We also had the NICEST server. What a doll! When I thanked her at the end of the meal and told her it was our last night in Hawaii, she gave me a big hug! What a sweetheart!

Our last day in Hawaii…..sigh….We didn’t have to check out until noon, so I spent the morning packing and catching up on some photos that I wanted to take of our hotel.

Four flights and almost a full day later, we finally arrived home. Tired but happy that we had SUCH a wonderful trip!

Big Island - part 1

I'm going to divide up this island into two parts since we stayed a full 6 days here....

It was nice to be settled at a place for a longer period of time. This hotel was quite nice. It has a fish pond, a luau on-site (more about this later), a restaurant, a patio/bar, a pool, and a lagoon. There were other restaurants (including Bumba Gumps – from the movie Forrest Gump) within walking distance plus stores and a farmer’s market. Our room had a microwave and a mini fridge to keep beer, pop and wine in it.

The day after arriving, we did some errands and laundry but didn’t roam too far. That night we were going to the Luau. They cook the pig right on site and there’s a huge buffet that included the pork, chicken, beef plus all sorts of other food. There was an open bar with mai tais already made up. DH even bought me a lei. BTW – those aren’t all MY drinks in front of me!

The show was really good as they did dances from all the different Polynesian cultures.

The following day was relaxing day for DH and I. B&Y wanted to drive up to the volcano and do some hiking. So we decided to have an R&R day. It was so nice to just sit on the patio and read. I could look out over the ocean and watch the waves and the boats. I also walked up to the farmer’s market up the street and bought some fresh pineapple (the guy even cut it up for me) and some small bananas (that had a slightly different flavour than we get at home). This little guy came for a visit while I was reading. And the flowers were in the farmer’s market.

Sunday took us off snorkelling again. THIS time I was prepared as I had bought one of those underwater/throw away cameras to take photos. It was a great place as it didn’t get too deep and there was a sheltered part with picnic tables where we could put our “stuff”. Again, there was LOTS of beautiful fish of all different colours BUT we didn’t see any turtles.

However, just after I came out after changing, Y came running over to say that there was a turtle right there at the shore! Cool – so I went over and took some photos. He didn’t pop his head of though but it was still really awesome to get that close to him (or her).

Unfortunately, I had forgotten to put sunscreen on and because my back was exposed while snorkelling it got the worst burn – OUCH! Stupid, stupid, stupid!


This hotel was nice with two pools, two restaurants, our own beach, a fish pond and a small kitchenette in each room. Our balcony overlooked one of the pools. B&Y were right next door.

The day after arriving, we drove the Hana Highway and stopped to see another waterfall and lunched in the town of Pa’ai.

This is DH’s blackened mahi mahi (fish) with a fruit salsa burger. He really liked it!

In the afternoon, we to see the Nakalele blow hole. It was quite a steep climb down, and after I slipped on my butt and scraped my ankle about half way down, I just stayed put and B&Y went the rest of the way. I could still see it from where I was. B&Y got some great shots of it up close with my camera (this one was taken by another tourist).

The next day it’s BACK to the airport this time bound for the Big Island….


Flying into Kauai…

Here we had a 2 bedroom condo that was just beautiful. It had a full kitchen, living room, dining room, 2 full baths and balcony that you could see the ocean from.

Here we could buy some groceries and cook (well B did the cooking) some meals to save some money! We had Hawaiian (of course!) pizza and steaks on the b-b-q.

We went swimming in the ocean out in front and we also had a pool available. B took this photo of me (with my camera) coming out of the water!

One of our favourite spots in Kauai was the Waimea Canyon lookout. They call this place the grand canyon of the Pacific. WOW – what a view!

We stopped at another part of the lookout and had a picnic and saw these falls.

Then we drove to another area to see the Wailua Falls.

Off to another beach – Lydgate Beach Park and some more snorkeling but there weren’t as many fish at this place.

The next day we were off to the airport again to fly to Maui.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This first island - Oahu

We started out by landing in Honolulu. The hotel was nice and about 3 blocks from the beach.

We were also within walking distance of the International Market. The first day we did a trolley tour that tours around and will drop you off at certain spots along the way. One of spots was the Iolani Palace - the ONLY palace left in the states.

Across from there was the statue of King Kamehameha I.

After seeing lots of sights, we went out for dinner that night at Hy's for our 25th wedding anniversary celebration and B&Y treated! It was a WONDERFUL meal.

After renting a car, B, Y and I went to Diamond Head and climbed it (Dan couldn't, his back was hurting too much after yesterday's trolley ride). I don't know how I did it but I DID (I thought I was going to die though). B&Y were very good about stopping every once in a while, so I could rest up. But it was all worth it when I got to the top! I’m as pink as my shirt!!!

The following day we went to Hanauma Bay and the guys went snorkeling. After a while I decided to check out the water too. I don’t normally go in swimming (don’t like to get cold and wet) but the water was quite warm so it wasn’t too bad. Dan offered to show me how to snorkel and surprised him by taking to it quite quickly! I was THRILLED to be able to see all kinds of fish right there even though the water wasn’t even over my head! Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of them because we didn’t have a camera we could use under-water BUT stayed tuned….I bought one later on!

The next day took us to Pearl Harbor – this was something we all wanted to see. There is a 45 minute film (I learned a LOT watching this film) plus a museum to browse through while you wait for the boat to take you out to the memorial.

That afternoon we went to Turtle Beach. The tides were too high to go swimming but you could see the turtles in the surf. I tried to get some photos but I got sunscreen in my eyes and I could hardly see a thing to take photos. The photos I DID take were all of the sky. Sigh…..

The next day we were off to Kauai…..

Hawaii Bound!

On September 9, 2009, we left for our 25th wedding anniversary celebration trip to Hawaii. We would be gone for 2 weeks, have 9 flights and visit 4 islands. It was a WONDERFUL trip PLUS we got to spend it with our best friends, B&Y who live in Virginia. Y was also celebrating her 50th birthday on this trip.

A new blog

I am creating this blog so I can share photos of our trips with family and friends. It's too difficult to send out the photos, so I can just share them here along with our adventures.