Category Archives: Travel

Where are we?

Getting to France-First Day!

We left last night on a direct flight to Paris with American Airlines. The flight was about an hour delayed due to maintenance. On the flight I tried to sleep, but didn’t get much sleep; it was so uncomfortable. The only movie I remember watching was Vice.

We landed in Paris around 11:45 am. Finding the train to Paris was pretty easy. We made it a little more difficult on ourselves by not transferring and deciding to walk from a train stop that was a little further from our hotel. I was tired, grouchy, and hungry so this was a mistake. It was cool to see the Notre Dame Cathedral as we came out of the train though.

We got to our hotel in the neighborhood of Saint Germain around 2 pm and was able to check in. The hotel is called Hotel Des Deux Continents. Unfortunately, it is a 3 story walk up and we are on the 3rd floor haha. The staircase was tiny and winding. The room, though, was nice and cute.

We got settled in and took a 3 hour nap. Once we woke up I was ready to eat so we went out to walk around. It was cool to me how much New Orleans really looked like the streets of Saint Germain. We found a cute American diner called Coffee Parisien, which was really weird, but cool. The place mats at the diner had all of the American presidents on them, including the newest idiot. The food here was pretty good. I had a cheeseburger with fries, and they even had Dr Pepper! Don had steak and eggs, which was more like a hamburger patty and eggs. After dinner we walked around a bit and stopped at a grocery store. Then we got back to the hotel around 9 and fell asleep.

Last Day–More Snorkeling!

Today was our last day and we are definitely not ready for this vacation to end! Hawaii has been awesome. We tried to sleep in today but that lasted until about 7:30. Don found a breakfast place called Kihei Cafe. This place is kind of different because you wait in line and order then you can find your seat. The line may seem long but it goes fast and it seemed everyone was able to find a seat when it was their time. So even if it seems like you’ll never get a table, just try it, their timing of everything seemed to make it work! It was also good. I had the huevos rancheros and Don had the pork loco moco. I would recommend the loco moco over the huevos rancheros, but everything was good.

We started the day by heading to Po’olenalena Beach.  I chose this beach because of the name and it had really good reviews. It was a beautiful, quiet, uncrowded beach with  very fine soft sand. We went to the North side first. The visibility was low due to the sand being brought up by the surf, but almost immediately by the rocks we saw a sea turtle. Then 2 more turtles and another—there were at least 4 turtles just hanging out and eating here. It was so cool! We saw some really small turtles here and honestly after awhile I lost count I think we decided there were 6 turtles here. It was hard to stay in one place due to the waves but we were able to hang out and watch them for awhile.

We swam South to the middle of the beach where there was supposed to be a middle rock but we couldn’t find it so we went furthest South to a the rocky edge of the beach. Around the corner of the beach in the rocks we saw 3 more turtles. They would get so close! The coral here looked really cool also; it was a lime green. The water here was pretty rough and we had to be careful around the rocks so we swam around the rocks to the next beach and rested there in the water a bit. While we were here we talked about how awesome the snorkeling had been here in Hawaii and how we had seen so many turtles. Every day we have seen turtles, even on the day we didn’t get in water! I did make a comment though that I was a bit disappointed not to have seen one shark. We decided to swim back to the beach where our stuff was.

On our way back I heard Don start yelling for me and I felt a little scared because I didn’t know what was happening. He said he saw something cool but I couldn’t see it. Could it be a shark?? Then he told me it was a giant ray. I was so disappointed that I missed it. We sat, treading water for about a minute looking around and the ray came back!

It would circle us, leave, and then come back. It was huge! It also seemed super curious about us. It kept coming back. We swam with this manta ray for a few minutes. Don said it was starting to freak him out because neither of us knew if it was dangerous or not. I didn’t think it was but it was time to get back anyway so we left the ray.

On our way back to shore there was another small turtle, so if you’re looking for turtles in Hawaii this beach seems to be the place to be!

Once we got back to the hotel we hung out at the pool for a little bit then we got cleaned up and had a beer. We then went out to look for some postcards. During our shopping we found a little wooden turtle and manta ray to add to our whale shark we got in Mexico. It seems like a cool tradition to get wooden carvings of all the really cool things we have swam with.

For lunch we had to try Outriggers Pizza. Outriggers Pizza is a food truck with a wood fired oven, so that was pretty unique. The pizza was good so check this place out! After eating I wanted to go to a bar that had the Cubs game on but we couldn’t really find one. I also for some reason was kind of grouchy. I didn’t feel great for some reason and I was a little tired. We did go to a tiki bar, called South Shore Tiki Lounge, and had some calamari with wings. I tried their mai tai and it was different than any mai tai I’ve ever had. I don’t know if I would recommend it. We talked to a couple here that had moved to Maui from New Jersey. They were interesting.

We went back to the hotel pretty early because we were tired. We hung out, watched Big Brother, and tried to finish our beers and snacks since we leave tomorrow.

Road to Hana

We had to wake up early today for our trip to Hana. The Road to Hana is a famous drive in Maui with many attractions along the way. The road is known for it’s natural beauty all around, including waterfalls,cliff sides, and views of the Pacific. There are many guides online about how to do the road to Hana and I used a variety of sites to help plan our day. We only had a day, which was unfortunate, but we did see and do a lot!

After having our leftovers from Da Kitchen for breakfast we left Kihei around 7:30. The plan was for me to drive the way to Hana and for Don to drive back. We first stopped in the town of Paia. It was a cute, small town. It seemed a bit hippy-ish. We didn’t really spend any time here, just made a bathroom stop and we were on our way.

The drive was pretty cool. It was a bit scary at times, but awesome. The road was filled with areas that were only one way and hairpin curves. At times it would be rainy and then a minute later the sun was out. There were often lots of cars and people also.

 

 

Our first stop was Twin Falls. There is a small parking lot at Twin Falls but a lot of people will end up pulling over on the side of the road like we did. The hike down to Twin Falls was not long but it was slippery.

The next place I wanted to stop was a lookout point in a Wailua Valley. We thought we had missed it but then we saw a small parking area. The walk up to the lookout was not long and it was easy. The views were incredible. We could see a waterfall in the distance. This is what I always envisioned Maui being.

Waikani Falls was the next place we stopped. You can see this waterfall just by pulling over on the side of the road. There are many signs saying not to pull over, but many people were so we did. It was pretty awesome.

The highlight of the road to Hana was the Waianapanapa State Park. We got here and walked around a bit. Then we decided to have our lunch before we did much more here. We brought lunches we had picked up at the grocery store the night before. We had sandwiches, chips, salad, and even a couple of Longboards. We ate in the car because they were no tables nearby. Once we were done eating we changed into some swimwear because we knew there would be a beach.

The beach was formed by volcanic rock so the sand was actually black rock. It was called Black Sand Beach. It was very hot walking down to the beach, but it was overcast. We got into the water and it was cold but refreshing. It started to rain a bit. Supposedly, you should be able to swim out to caves in the rock but it was too rough to do this today.

Once we were done swimming we got out and continued our hike. There were really cool lava rock formations. The sun started to come out and it was so hot. We walked around for about 30-45 minutes, but I felt like I was going to get burnt and it was so hot so we turned around. There were just incredible views on this hike. The water at the beach looked calmer now that it was sunny and a few people were pretty far out snorkeling.

We made our way back to the car and Don started driving. We drove to the town of Hana. From the park it wasn’t far, maybe another 20 minutes. We didn’t really know what to do in Hana so we found a place to park where we thought there was a beach. We started walking towards the water and it was pretty much a walk straight down a cliff. Don ended up falling and luckily he didn’t get hurt. I didn’t want to continue because it was so slippery and the water below was so choppy with rocks everywhere. It was beautiful but I didn’t want one of us to get hurt.

This was taken 2 minutes before Don slipped.

We made our way back to the car and decided to drive back to Kihei. Don had a lot of fun driving. He felt like he was in a racing game. I started feeling sick because I often get car sick. We stopped at a shop and got some coffee and chocolate chip banana bread. The bread was so good! We also found the Hana Lava Tube Cave and even though it was set to close soon the guide let us and a few other people explore the cave.  It was a pretty cool cave and it was a self-guided tour. It took about 30 minutes and it was a little spooky at times, especially when you turned off your flashlight.

On the way back we wanted to stop at this restaurant area so we did but things were closing down and nothing looked that good. It seemed like a tourist trap. I did get an iced coffee and some cokes for the ride. I was able to take some Dramamine and I felt pretty good on the ride back.

We stopped at a lookout point that had incredible views of the sun starting to make its way down. There was a bench here with the name Sierra on it.

We made another stop by some cows.

Our last stop on the way back was a beach lookout. The beach was called Ho’okipa. The views of the sunset were awesome. Don noticed some people gathering on the sand down on the beach. They were looking at something. It looked like rocks on the sand but then Don realized they were sea turtles! The sun was starting to set fast but we wanted a closer look so we drove the car down to the beach and found a spot. The turtles were so awesome! They come up here almost every night to rest on the beach. A conservationist was there to keep people from getting too close. She told us sometimes there are over 150 turtles here a night. We stayed here until the beach was closing. Every day in Maui so far we have seen turtles!!

By the time we got back to Kihei we were both pretty hungry and the pizza place I wanted to try had already closed at 8. So we found a bbq place called Daddy’s Smokehouse and it was pretty good. It was a long but pretty awesome day.

 

Making Our Way To Kihei

Today we got up a little early so we could check out of Napili Sunset and make our way to Kihei. We had breakfast again at Slappy Cakes. I thought about ordering something different than yesterday but I couldn’t do it. I had the carnitas benedict again, but Don tried something new- the veggie omelet. I love Slappy Cakes!!

Carnitas Benedict

After breakfast it was time to check out some beaches again! The first beach we checked out was Airport Beach, also called Kahekili Beach Park. There was a strong current, so we went South so we could float North. It was a very pretty beach and the snorkeling was good. There were a lot of people snorkeling and even some scuba divers. The coral was beautiful. I spotted a turtle and we watched an eel for a long time. I’ve never seen one stay out so long.

After we were done snorkeling here I had a weird conversation with a woman about a bird. While in line for the restroom this woman started telling me how she just got an awesome video of a bird eating nuts from her hand. I was like that’s cool, but she just kept talking. She wanted to know how she could upload her video to YouTube so she could get “all the credit for it”. She told me about a guy who uploaded a video of a lemon rolling and it had over 40 million views. Then she told me she needs to upload it because she only has 4 GB’s of storage on her camera but she doesn’t have a phone. I told her she could use a computer to put it on the internet and her response was “maybe at the library?”. It was a weird conversation, but basically ended with me telling her to make a YouTube account and upload her video at the library. Maybe she will go viral?

Next we tried out Black Rock Beach. We were able to park in a parking garage here. We made our way to the Black Rock and it was pretty crowded with snorkelers and swimmers. The rock was pretty cool and people were jumping off of it into the water. The current around the rock was strong. We went around the rock and started heading towards what looked like a cave. The rock formations were so cool underwater but as I got closer to the cave it felt too dangerous so I quickly turned around. When I turned around there was immediately a giant sea turtle in front of me! I swam with it for awhile, navigating around the rocks. It was difficult to swim here because of the rocks but it was pretty awesome. Pretty good snorkeling day once again. We have seen turtles every day here in Maui!

Once we were done at Black Rock we made it back to the car to make our way to Maui Coast Hotel in Kihei. We stopped once along the way to take some pictures.

We checked into the Maui Coast Hotel and it is really nice. It has a resort feel. After getting cleaned up we decided to get some food. We tried a place we saw on YouTube called Da Kitchen. The food here was soooo good!!!! Best dinner so far!! Don got the luau special and I got the plate with katsu chicken and luau pork. Absolutely delicious. We even tried some of their chocolate pie. After dinner we walked around the shops here for a bit and then we tried the shaved ice place that was in the parking lot. The place was called Beach Street Maui. I didn’t really know what to expect from a shaved ice. I have had sno cones before but this was completely different. We shared the Firecracker. It was blue raspberry, pina colada, and strawberry with ice cream and haupia. Haupia is like a coconut syrup. This shaved ice was so good, so refreshing.

After this delicious dinner we went to Safeway to get things for our trip to Hana tomorrow. We hurried back to the hotel to watch the sunset at the beach across from our hotel. It was beautiful. And of course we ended the night watching Big Brother haha.

Honolua Bay, Kapulua Beach, & Nakalele Blowhole

This morning I had some coffee on the lanai and it was so nice.

We packed up some food and drinks in a cooler and then we attempted to try this breakfast place called The Gazebo at the resort South of us but the line was ridiculously long. I would recommend trying to get into this place because we heard it’s great but get there like at 5 am I guess because they can seat like 10 people. The view from this resort is really cool though so if you can’t get food check out the view.

After taking a lot of pictures near The Gazebo we decided to try a breakfast place we saw called Slappy Cakes. This place also gets crowded but if you can sit at the bar. This place was amazing–so, so good–I really don’t know how The Gazebo could beat it. Don had the Slappy Moco and I had the Carnitas Benedict. It was so delicious, thinking about it right now is killing me! We would highly recommend Slappy Cakes.

After breakfast we made our way to Honolua Bay. There is no parking for Honolua Bay; you just have to find a spot on the side of the road and hike down. The hike is easy and maybe 5 minutes. The bay is all big, round rocks, so it was a little challenging getting down into the water because it was slippery. The water was also kind of cold at first but it warmed up. We started on the left side of the bay and we went pretty far out, pretty much to where the bay opened up. On the way out the dull rocks changed to beautiful coral.

We saw a big green eel and a large school of fish, that was pretty cool. After the school of fish I spotted our second turtle in Maui! So cool, how did we get lucky enough to see a turtle again?!

I got a crazy cramp in my foot and had to stretch it out in the water for a good 10 minutes. Once I was good we decided to swim over to the right side of the bay. On our way we saw another turtle, although it could have been the same one.

The right side of the bay was awesome, lots of colorful fish and coral. We saw a huge sea turtle and it was eating. It didn’t care about us or anyone around it at all. We watched that turtle for a long time. We saw a lot of turtles here, maybe 6 different ones. It was amazing. We even saw an octopus! It was scurrying along the sea floor and once it reached a rock it changed colors instantly to camouflage itself. It was amazing and so quick! We also saw a small, almost iridescent sea snake. The snorkeling at Honolua Bay was amazing and by far the best snorkeling we have done in Hawaii so far.

Octopus!

After Honolua Bay we made our way to Kapalua Beach. Kapalua Beach is the beach just North of Napili Bay (our beach). There is a parking lot for this beach near the golf course. The beach had a lot of pretty coral and fish. There were even a few schools of fish, but no turtles. It was sandy and rocky and pretty good for snorkeling. We saw another small eel. So far snorkeling in Hawaii is in this order: Honolua, Napili, Kapalua, then Hanauma.

We didn’t spend as long here and  it was getting late in the afternoon so we decided to get back to our room. We got cleaned up and decided to try to see the Nakalele Blowhole. I was really nervous about driving here because the road looked a little crazy on the map. The drive was a bit crazy because it was near a cliff and curvy. There were some awesome views and when we got to the blowhole it was a pretty crazy hike down to it. I wasn’t really expecting a hike and I was getting worried it was going to get dark soon, but we decided to do it. There were a lot of other people making their way down also. The views everywhere were spectacular and the blowhole was pretty cool. Don drove on the way back so I could take in the views. We stopped at a view point and realized we were looking down on where we snorkeled earlier at Honolua Bay. Once we got back to town we ate at China Boat, most places were closing. It was pretty good Chinese.