Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Vacation - day 1 and 2

Now that we are home, I have a little more time, so I am going to blog about our vacation.  This year for Christmas, Mat and I took the kids to Hawaii and San Diego for nearly 2 weeks.  We had a great time, and now that we are back in frigid Boston, we miss the warm weather.

We flew out on December 23rd, and our first full day there was the 24th, so I will blog about both of those days here.

We left bright and early on the 23rd.  Our wonderful neighbors drove us to the airport so we wouldn't have to leave a car there for 2 weeks.  Our plane left for LA airport around 8am.  LA was just a layover for us - the first flight went very smoothly.  We had a 3 hour layover there - just enough time to stretch and eat some lunch, and then were back on the plane for 6 more hours to Hawaii.  Flight also went very smooth, and the kids did very well.  It was a total of 12 hours of air travel, and not one complaint from them.

We got in at 6pm Hawaii time, (we were staying on Oahu), got our rental car, stopped to get a few groceries, and then headed to our condo.  We used AirBnB again this time to find a place for us to stay.  Because we are a family of 5 we either have to get an expensive suite, or two hotel rooms, and renting a condo has proven to be cheaper for us time and time again.  This is my new favorite way to travel because we have a lot of space, we have a washer and dryer, and we spent about half of what we would have in a hotel.  So that saves us much more money for excursions we wish to take.  We are only ever in the room/condo to sleep, so why spend a lot of money on it?  The complex had a pool and we could walk to the ocean, so it was perfect.

Once we got settled, we fought to stay awake for just a little longer, but barely made it to 9pm (Which would have been 2am Boston time) and we were all out.  The next day was no rush so we at least knew we could catch up on sleep.

However - we only made it until 6am until we were wide awake (Since Boston it would been 11am).  So we decided to get up, have breakfast (which we did each day at the condo), and get ready to head out.

I had all of our days planned and this day Mat and I planned to take the kids hiking at Diamond Head.  Diamond Head was formed over 300,000 years ago during a single explosion.  As the materials settled, they formed the crater.  In 1908, the trail was built up the crater as part of Oahu's military defense system.  It is an almost 1 mile high up - and it is pretty strenuous, but the kids did great.  Once you get to the top, there is an amazing view.  At the summit there is also bunkers and a station that directed artillery fire.  Down below is a lighthouse that was placed in 1917.

After Diamond Head, we went to the beach in Waikiki for the afternoon.  The water was colder than we expected, but the kids got used to it quickly.  They enjoyed swimming and we enjoyed relaxing on the beach after our hike.  We had dinner reservations at Duke's - a favorite restaurant of ours when we visited before.  We sat outside and watched the sunset and had amazing food.

Before heading back to the condo for the evening, we drove by City Hall to see they Christmas decorations.  It was a great Christmas Eve.  Enjoy the pictures

We traveled in 5 carry on bags

On the airplane, ready to go

 I brought a blow up Christmas tree to put in the condo - the kids thought this was awesome.  We filled the bottom with our souveniers
 View out of our Condo window - that is the ocean in the distance
 Mountains behind the condo

 On our way to Diamond Head:
 Half way up Diamond Head - this is inside the crater:

 Getting close to the top of Diamond Head.  Finley was not crazy about the height:
 View from near the top of Diamond Head:

 Stairs to get to the top

 We made it! View from the top
 Lighthouse built in 1917
 Kids at the top of the crater:

 Back down was much easier:
 Banyan Tree near the beach.  These trees are neat because the roots grow down from the branches.
 Waikiki Beach  (we learned that Wai in Hawaiian means water)

 Finley found heart shaped coral
 The water was very blue:

 I brought buckets with us.  We found collapsable buckets on Amazon that fit perfectly in our suitcases.

 Cool statue:
 Statue of Duke Kahanamoku who is credited for popularizing surfing
 Eating at Duke's restaurant

 Downtown Waikiki was decorated for Christmas
 Waikiki at Sunset
 Christmas display at City Hall.  Sorry they are blurry - my camera went wacko

 Each year we get a family ornament.  This year we went with one from Hawaii

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