exploring and revisiting, photography, travel, ups and downs

Stay out dem oceans

So, we had a plan for this free day. We would swim in the morning – plenty of time for suits to dry – then maybe go back into Lahaina and stroll around the afternoon.

We were getting up and pulling ourselves together when I saw the flashing message alert on the phone. Continue reading “Stay out dem oceans”

exploring and revisiting, photography, travel

Here there be dragons (teeth)

It’s our free day – the only firm thing we have scheduled is the luau tonight. But we need our swimsuits dry for tomorrow so we spend just the morning on the beach. The waves are only rough at the water’s edge, at the shelf where the shore drops steeply off. There really is no wading today; we both swim. It’s so smooth and so clear that I know D would swim far far out if I didn’t wave her back – I’m afraid of what else swims even if she is convinced she’d see and escape first. NOPE. Continue reading “Here there be dragons (teeth)”

exploring and revisiting, photography, travel, ups and downs

Soaring

The “big thing” for today is a helitour – her first – over Western Maui and Molokai.

We get there way too early but since we’ve got our bearings, we drive straight up into the island until the road gets narrow and winding (whoa-pa!) and D is almost starting to feel-less-than-good from it so we turn back. By the time we get back to check in for our flight she is feeling better and we’re ready to fly! Continue reading “Soaring”

exploring and revisiting, photography, travel

Circling Maui

For our first full day we have a Valley Excursions tour for the Hana Road – essentially circling the island.

Our pickup is at 6:45am – it’s good that we are still on Eastern time – and the driver actually arrives 15 minutes early. We are the last two on the bus. We don’t get to choose but we end up in the first two seats behind the driver and tour guide, Eric.

Our first stop is actually for a continental breakfast – I get coffee and D tries POG (which turns out to be Passionfruit Orange Guava juice – we decide later she would have liked it better if she’d known what it was. But she likes the muffins and I like the lilikoi jelly for the biscuits, and soon enough we are back on the road to Hana.

Where to start? The road is windy and narrow snaking along the cliff side road. I’m glad we’ve taken a tour. I’m glad I packed my seabands for the drive. I’m so very glad D is unfazed by it.

The views are spectacular though. We stop at lava rocks buffeted by sea spray, pass twisted and looming trees wrapped in giant rhododendrons, and so many waterfalls I lose count.

We stop for lunch and everyone takes advantage of real facilities to get on their swimsuits.

At the black sand beach we wade in over smooth, hot, shifting rocks. We don’t really swim – the rocks are hard on the feet and we have a ride ahead of us. Anyway a few stops ahead at Haleakala National Park we hope to swim in the seven sacred pools and then change back to clothes.

But the pools are closed due to unsafe conditions. We press on, to the little church beside the graveside of the Sam and Mary Pryor (of PanAm fame) and of Charles Lindbergh, and discover the climbability of banyan trees.

We do make an extra stop later to wade into the cool of rain runoff, before changing back into clothes for the ride back. Eric gives a lot of tips as to wear to find food and shopping, before he drops us all off.

In all it’s been nearly 12 hours, and although we’ve had an amazing time, we are glad to be back and to get some food into us. We stop at the takeout grill poolside and share some fries and sodas while we wait on our small pepperoni pizza.

Food when hungry is such a felt blessing.

But the whole day has been.

We have good intentions but D is asleep by 9:30 and I turn out my light before 10:30.

adventures abroad, exploring and revisiting, photography, travel

Quebec City and back again

I start my day around 9, coffee and Duolingo and Rosetta Stone in a corner of the Château.

Around 10:15 I go back up to make sure we get out in time for check out and get to our tour in time.

We do, with time to go get a little shopping in, and then we start our local walking food tour.

Poutine. I KNEW someone would make us eat poutine. Still, this version was WAY less gross than I’ve had before.

Our guide Florence is funny, friendly and informative as we trek through the old city, tasting and learning as we go.

Second stop includes pea soup. What the HECK have I signed up for? (No really the tour WAS really good).

The tour lasts a net delicious 3 hours of nibbling, and we get done in time to meet our tour of the hotel (another hour)

Funicular. Who wants to take that many steps when there’s a cool elevator thingy?

Then we take the funicular into the lower city to say we did– plus explore a bit and have a smidge of dessert, before we collect our bags and vehicle and trek back to Montreal.

That’s another three hours, plus check in, parking hoopla, unwinding time, and finally venture out into the evening drizzle to find a pub (full and loud as the locals watch the basketball game). The staff are nice though and the food is good. We share a Pad Thai with chicken (I add sriracha to my plate) and a cookie with cheddar and ice cream that we order on recommendation, but with doubts.

Our doubts are unfounded.

adventures abroad, exploring and revisiting, travel

Montreal to Quebec City

The mild headache is to be expected. I’m operating on too little sleep. If we didn’t have appointments back at the airport about security passes, we would both be inclined to sleep in.

But I’m on a morning schedule anyway so headache or no, I’m up early, dressed, packed, getting a coffee for me and hot chocolate for S, so that she can get up and get ready in time for our airport shuttle.

The appointments seem to go fine, car rental pickup is of course interminable (but that works out because a smaller call gets checked in while we are there, so they can change us from the undesirable minivan to a basic car).

Our plan for today into tomorrow is Quebec City. First we’ll pass QC to visit Montmorency Falls.

Between distance and traffic and stops it’s almost 4 hours to the Falls from Montreal. We laugh at ourselves when we end up stopping at two McDonald’s on the way – a lunch and a bathroom break. We pick up road snacks and I get something so spicy that even I think it’s too hot (still good!) and S laughs at me. Deservedly so.

A light rain breaks out as we arrive at the Falls but clears up to make a nice day.

We get checked into the Chateau de Frontenac and then head out to the Governors Promenade, walking the length to the Plaines d’Abraham and the Citadel, then stop for a simply delightful meal at Cafe de Paris. Top marks, highly recommended!!!

Then we scope out our meeting point for tomorrow’s tour, and it’s back for an early night and a good night’s sleep.

Heavenly!

adventures abroad, photography, travel

Day 9: Evening in Santorini

We aren’t due to arrive in Santorini before 4 pm. It will be dark then. And there are weather dependencies and tenders to send and busses to meet and switchbacks to navigate and half the length of the island to each Oia and our scheduled visit.

But I so so SO want to see Santorini.

Continue reading “Day 9: Evening in Santorini”

adventures abroad, photography, travel

Day 9: Morning on Crete

Crete is the largest of the Greek Isles and of course we are only seeing a piece of it.

That starts with the Palace of Knossos. Pronounce the K: Kuh-nos-os. It’s easily the oldest site we visit, all told, dated somewhere between 4500 and 6000 BC (so says our guide we barely understand) and… Continue reading “Day 9: Morning on Crete”

adventures abroad, photography, travel

Day 6: Delphi and Athens Again

The grounds at Delphi, which we saw at a distance from below, are amazing once we get on site. Elena tells us a bit about the history and mythology of the place, about Apollo as god of light and wisdom. Hmm, I wonder who this could be foreshadowing?

After exploring the grounds we go inside to the museum as well.

Part Sphinx, part Griffin
Impressive friezes

Afterwards we get back on the bus to return to Athens, with just enough time to say a warm goodbye to Elena – our tour guide for the cruise portion of the trip will be Christiana – and put ourselves together for our optional (fancier) dinner out at the marina.

Then it’s back to The Stanley to repack, get some rest, and regroup for our departure to the cruise ship tomorrow.

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Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers!

adventures abroad, photography, travel

Day 5: Circling the Corinthian Bay to Delphi

We leave Olympia, stopping first for a taste of olives, olive oil, and Greek wines (Οπα!) and then begin our journey in earnest, crossing the Rio-Antirrio bridge.

Then we trace a path overlooking the Corinthian Bay, water sparkling in the sunshine. We progress to Patras for lunch, where the scenery is the most delicious offering of all.

We press on and stop to see the lower ruins at Delphi, which we will visit in the morning.

Then we stop in scenic Arachova, which in a few weeks will go from sleepy off season village to bustling ski town, before heading to our hotel (the pleasant if rather industrial-styled Amalia Delphi) for the night.