Sunday, September 4, 2016


Near Pāhoa


That is the first word that comes to my mind when I think about the place where we just spent our family vacation, the beautiful Islands of Hawai'i - the Big Island and Maui. Two weeks, while spending in a part of the US, felt so far away from the "mainland" (this is how the US is called in Hawai'i) that we didn't get any news or new scandals and we never tried to. It was so easy to stay away from it all and just immerse in this paradise that we felt completely relaxed.

There are so many memories!

One of the best was staying in a tree house for a few days - a house built around and in an old avocado tree. It was pure magic - you can't get closer to nature than this without the comfort of a real roof above your head.

The jungle was right there, and so was our breakfast company - Gold Dust Day Geckos who - and I hope you will believe this - did NOT try to sell us car insurance but used their 15 minutes to lick up the white pineapple juice from our plates.

I ate so much pineapple like never before in my life - and it never tasted that good. On the Big Island, while staying in the Avocado Tree House, we were introduced to organic white pineapple by our hosts who owned an organic farm. I didn't even know of the existence of white pineapple, lest have ever eaten them. They were so delicious. Our hosts provided at least one of them for us every day and when we had to leave they gave us three more for the road.

We visited Kilauea and fell in love with this active volcano. So much to see and do here! Most people just come up here to have a brief look at the crater - it's often called the "drive-thru volcano", but there is so much more - Kilauea will make its appearance in this blog later!!!

We were enormously lucky that there was some lave flow, and after a long and strenuous hike we could see the glowing lava plunging into the ocean with sizzle and steam - fascinating, amazing and unforgettable. It was worth my badly hurting feet by the end of the hike (8.5 mile round trip).

Hawai'i has some incredible birds like this Erckel Francolin we discovered by the side of one of the smaller roads within Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Of course there are by far more birds in the jungle/rainforest, and they usually woke us with a symphony every morning before dawn that was out of this world.

There were Banyan trees that look like they're from a different time...

Kīpahulu District, Haleakalā National Park, Maui

... bamboo forests...

Kīpahulu District, Haleakalā National Park, Maui

... and, of course, a large number of waterfalls.

'Akaka Falls, Big Island

The world of plants is incredible, full of color, and I had no idea what most of these trees, shrubs and flowers were. This is a Ohi'a Lehua, which is the most common native tree in Hawai'i that grows in a variety of habitats. We saw it in lush surroundings as well as growing out of a rough ground of lava.

We saw the world from above the clouds when we drove up to the summit of Haleakalā, the now inactive volcano on Maui. This mountain often looks like being in the clouds when you see it from below, but the summit more often than not is out of the clouds which makes for some gorgeous views. When you look through the clouds you can sometimes see planes flying BELOW you!

We met the ancient world of Hawai'i that was full of fascination (and perhaps not that ancient after all), often right next to a beautiful bay where you could snorkel and see some Green Sea Turtles resting on the lava rocks.

Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park

The Geek and Kaefer decided to learn how to paddle board while I was taking pictures of them and enjoying a morning walk along the beach in Lahaina, Maui.

And of course there were sandy beaches with palm trees waving in the breeze, Hula dancers and gorgeous sunsets!

This was just a very short and very incomplete overview of our time in Hawai'i. I certainly will write more about it and show you tons of pictures. I first need to get organized a bit more - this is a busy time since Kaefer leaves for college in two weeks and I'm in the process of applying for a part time job while also getting ready for my teaching job - next Saturday marks the beginning of the German School year.



Elephant's Child said...

It looks like the very best kind of restorative magic - and I am looking forward to reading and seeing more when you get to it.
Good luck to Kaefer and to you, in the busy weeks ahead.

Marie Smith said...

I look forward to other posts. Your trip looks and sounds like one to elevate the spirit!

Darla said...

Your photos are fabulous. What a wonderful "tree house" you stayed in. I've been to the various islands in Hawaii a couple of times. You reminded me of how much I enjoyed it when I visited.

George said...

A lovely post, Carola. I thoroughly enjoyed this little journey through Hawaii.

Michelle said...

This is some gorgeous scenery! You really captured a great shot of the gecko!

The Cynical Sailor said...

That picture of the gecko is amazing! I visited Hawaii once - it really is a slice of paradise :-)

Anonymous said...

This brings back memories of my own visit to Hawaii many years ago. Paradise indeed - we thought so, too! Looking forward to seeing and hearing more about your trip.

My name is Erika. said...

Wow. I now want to go to Hawaii even more than I wanted to go before. That gecko photo is amazing! Well all those photos are amazing, and I would love to see the lava flowing into the sea. I agree, worth all the walking. Glad you shared these. :) Hugs-erika

Barb said...

Can you believe I've never been to Hawaii? My children have but not Bob and I. Your photos and the enthusiasm with which you write make me want to visit this gorgeous Paradise. I though Kaefer would already be in school. Lucky girl to have this trip before buckling down to her studies. Your photos are magical - that lizard! Good Luck with your empty nest, Carola.

Cheri said...

I've been to Maui, but not to the big Island. I would love to go back. Best vacation EVER.

GreenComotion said...

Hi Carola-
Welcome back from the beautiful land of Hawaii!
ALL Your photos are simply awesome.
I enjoyed seeing a Banyan tree after many years.
They are unique!
So happy to hear you had a great vacation!
Have a Happy Week ahead.
Peace :)

Thunder Rose said...

Very beautiful photography. My Daughter and Grandchildren live on one of the Hawaiian islands. I was able to go and visit once and wow it is so very beautiful! These pictures are just amazing! They really capture the beauty and those turtles are so amazing.

Magic Love Crow said...

WOW, WOW, WOW!!! So beautiful!! I love the Gecko picture!!

DeniseinVA said...

Beautiful photos! We have been to the other islands but never to the Big Island. You've made me want to get on a plane and head out there :)