What I Did on My Summer Vacation
On June 10, 2015 | 14 Comments | Uncategorized |
An easy, though exposed, hike along the south coast of Kauai.

An easy, though exposed, hike along the south coast of Kauai.

I didn’t mean to take a blog break…but when the plane landed in Kauai, it appears I forgot to pack my ambition. But as with failed diets, broken resolutions, and other forgotten promises, what matters is beginning again.

Anticipation ran high for this trip. The husband and I have wanted to go to Hawaii together for years, but every time we tried to plan it, the schedule just didn’t come together. This year, we decided we were going no matter what.

Also known as the Garden Island, Kauai boasts three gardens that are part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. We visited two of the three, one of them twice, and saw rare and endangered plants endemic to Kauai.

You may recognize these fig trees, which appeared in Jurassic Park (Allerton Gardens, Kauai)

You may recognize these fig trees, which appeared in Jurassic Park (Allerton Gardens, Kauai)

My favorite tour was the Garden Island Chocolate Farm Tour. We got to break open cacao pods and taste cacao beans. What interested me most was the sweet/sour pulp surrounding each bean. Yummy! We toured the farm and ate fruit in season, including lychees (my new favorite) and ice cream beans. And, oh yeah, we sampled lots of chocolate!

Kauai is known as a hiker’s paradise, so we packed our gear. My assessment? There’s some hyperbole going on here. If you want a real hiker’s paradise, Switzerland is the place to go. The trails are well marked, including both distance, estimated time to destination, and intensity of the hike. Best of all, there are restaurants at the end of most hikes, even in the middle of nowhere, with restrooms and apple strudel.

Of course, I might be bitter because I took a tumble during one of our Kauai hikes and ended up one big bruise for a while. There is that!

For our visit to Waimea Canyon, then, we took the car and stopped at all the lookout points to ooh and ahh.

Waimea Canyon, the "Grand Canyon" of Kauai.

Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon” of Kauai.

We snorkeled several times. This is no small feat for me, as I am uncomfortable in the water. I learned to swim at age 12 but never became a good swimmer. I rented a flotation belt that buoyed both my body and confidence, and I have to admit it was heavenly to swim among the fishes.

Returning home, friends commented on my lack of suntan, but this was by design. I have Celtic skin, ruddy and prone to burning, so I found shade wherever possible, wore my big hat, and slathered on copious amounts of sunblock.

One of the biggest challenges with travel these days is, I happen to live in a place that’s a tough act to follow. After two weeks, we were homesick, and as I write this, we are about to disappear again, this time for just a week. We’ve hurriedly caught up with friends and the garden. By this time next week, hopefully we’ll be back to a normal routine. If I haven’t visited your blogs lately, I’ll be back!

Mangoes were coming in to season. We ate one fresh from a tree. Yum!

Mangoes were coming in to season. We ate one fresh from a tree. Yum!

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