One of the most awesome parts of my last European trip was flying over Greenland (during daylight hours) on the way home.
Having traveled extensively and lived, studied, and done research abroad, I know how central the concept of “coming home” is to that experience. Of course, when you return to “life as usual,” you bring new memories, perhaps new distant friends, and hopefully personal growth. You might have reverse culture shock or see your native land in a slightly different light; you might even have a great shift in perception. T.S. Elliot famously wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time,” and Lin Yutang wrote, “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” After spending weeks in places where I didn’t know anyone, I have appreciated just going to my local supermarkets and cafes, being greeted by familiar faces.
Since the Royal Coconut Coast (the East side of Kauai) is midway between the lush North Shore area and the drier South Shore, it is easy to take day trips in either direction.
The Hanalei Bay area boasts a beach with a famous pier and the community of Princeville; the mountain backdrop with long white waterfalls is magnificent. The North receives more rain than either the East or South sides and is extremely lush!
Poipu Beach, voted America’s Best Beach by The Travel Channel, is situated on the drier South Shore. If you want to splurge, stay at the Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa in Poipu, where the lobby looks straight out onto the ocean. A great place for a honeymoon! Room prices range from around $500 to $1000 a night with the Presidential Suites ranging from $2500 to $5000 a night.
On route to the South Shore, we drove on a section of highway with large trees on either side that curved over the top to form an arch and a tunnel. Kauai’s natural surroundings can be awe inspiring! Poipu Beach is next to Old Koala, which is “a charming town rooted in its plantation past.”
Below are some photos from the Hanalei Bay area and Poipu Beach. Mahalo nui loa!
In mid-September, I took my parents on a Hawaiian vacation. Last December, we went to Oahu and stayed a block from Waikiki, so we decided on a less touristic Hawaiian experience and chose Kauai, the Garden Isle. We booked a resort condo on the Royal Coconut Coast for eight days; however, due to Tropical Storm Olivia heading directly for Maui at the very hour we were set to land and connect to Kauai, we postponed our flight for two days until the storm had passed. It was a wise decision. Hawaiian Airlines was very helpful and accommodating in changing our flights.
We were greeted at the airport with a Lei placed around our necks and kisses on our cheeks (although I paid for that, it’s a lei greeting service), and thus started the beginning of a week of relaxation and enjoyment in paradise.
We stayed at the Waipouli Resort, booked through Kauai Calls, where we had an ocean front, two bedroom condo. The unit had a gorgeous, large kitchen; three bathrooms, two showers, and a very large jacuzzi bathtub and another regular size one as well. Waipouli is just next to the interesting, old town of Kapaa.
The resort has its own beach with a resident endangered Hawaiian monk seal. It also has an elaborate, winding, river-like, swimming pool with water-slides, grotto, and three sand-bottomed hot tubs. Next to the pool area is a good restaurant and bar called the Oasis on the Beach. The weather was always around 85 degrees during the day and just under 80 at night. I loved sleeping with my lanai window open and listening to the soothing sound of the waves.
Below are photos from beautiful Kauai, “the Garden Isle.” I also have a lot of video footage of this trip that I might post later. We visited Hanalei Bay in the North and Poipu Beach in the South, which I will cover in my next post. After my Hawaii posts, I will begin telling you about my 5 week European adventure. Kauai was definitely the most relaxing part of my six week travel. Yes, the island chain is the 50th U.S. state, but it has its own unique culture and way of life and that special Aloha spirit. I would like to return. Mahalo to all the nice and welcoming people that we met!