Hey! It’s been a while since I had time to sit down and write something for this blog, and to be honest, I really haven’t got much time now either, but this writing feels more like “taking time for yourself” – and we all should do that from time to time, right? 🙂
So where to start? My wife and I have been to the islands of Hawaii for our honeymoon between October and September, followed by a short trip to San Francisco where I was given the chance to talk at WinOps San Francisco, also known as ChocolateyFest.
If you ever get a chance to visit the Hawaiian islands, definitely take that opportunity! Even though we sadly haven’t been able to see any active lava flows, it’s been an amazing experience.
We’ve been to the island of Oahu just for two days. After 27 hours of flight from Austria to Honolulu, the main purpose of this stop was to get over the jetlag and acclimatize. Honolulu definitely has a lot of things to offer, but we weren’t looking for yet another big city, so we went for a hike on Diamond Head and basically relaxed the rest of the time, enjoying our first hawaiian sunset on Waikiki beach.
The Big Island
After this very short time on Oahu, we’ve got on a plane to “The Big Island”, which as the name suggests, is actually the largest of the islands.
When you’re flying in from Oahu, you realize a huge difference in landscape and scale before you touch the ground of the airport. We’ve been at KOA airport, which is built right over a old lava flow (basically a lot of black rock and little to no vegetation), so you get the “lava island” feeling before you even get out of the plane. Once being on the other side of the world, I felt the urge to “treat myself”, so I’ve decided to rent my favorite car: a Ford Mustang convertible :-).
In the following 7 days, we’ve made over a thousand miles. Going from east to west, north to south (all the way down to the southmost point of the USA). Sidenote: if you plan on driving up Mauna Kea, get a 4WD car (and be there a couple of hours before sunset), or you’ll have to wait at least 30 minutes at the visitor center and they won’t let you get up further without 4WD.
To be honest, driving in the USA was pretty stressful sometimes. Not because of the amount of traffic, but rather the allowed maximum speeds. (As an Austrian, I really could not understand why you had to go so *dead slow* on this wide, excellent road network.)
Besides being stressed due to the terrible, terrible speed limits, the big island presented us with amazing views, walks, nice weather and welcoming people.
Time flies, and after a week on The Big Island we’ve headed towards the island of Kauai – the oldest and most vegetated island.
Kauai really is a unique place. The stunning Na Pali coast in the west, the incredible Waimea Canyon, wonderful beaches in the north and pretty towns scattered over the south and east there sure is something there to be explored by anyone.
In our week on Kauai, we’ve basically done a “standard visitors program”, which is:
- a helicopter tour
- sailing along the Na Pali Coast
- taking a day off at a beach in the north
- hiking Waimea Canyon
- visiting a Luau
In retrospect, we should have spend a couple of extra days on this beautiful island, but I guess that’s just part of it – you always know better in retrospect.
I really enjoyed our time on Hawaii and even though there is no current plan to re-visit the islands, it definitely was an adventurous experience that we’ll remember for long.
Update: some additional images from the trip can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mwallner/sets/72157701782115385
On the way home to Austria, we took a quick detour to San Francisco, where I was given the opportunity to give a talk at ChocolateyFest.
There is separate blogpost dedicated to ChocolateyFest. (see [here])
Organizing a trip that includes 9 flights, 4 hotels, 2 cars and a lot of tips and info bits for sightseeing and photography locations can take some time – and this time my wife and I didn’t want to do all of this ourselves like in the past years.
We’ve booked this trip at a local travel agency called “Springer Reisen”. I highly recommend their service as they do not only have “ready to book” pre-planned trips, but really respect your personal style of travel and budget. [https://www.springerreisen.at/]