A Travellerspoint blog

Aloha -Hawaii

July 14th-17th

sunny 34 °C

Left New York on 10am flight, Tuesday morning. A stress free flight, 10.5 hours on Hawaiian airlines, no problems. We gained time, 6 hours so able to go to the beach and enjoy crystal clear water and sunshine in the afternoon. Waikiki reminds us of the Gold Coast, high rises and shops everywhere along the beachfront. Our place, Aqua Bamboo is good, only a 300 walk to beach and in the heart of everything. One thing that strikes you on the beach are the surf boards. They are big and everywhere although the waves are not big here at Waikiki, apparently you need to go over to the north shore to find those waves that Hawaii is famous for but a great place if you are a beginner. We had probably the best, fun meal of the whole trip. We went to Cracken Kitchen and to our surprise our dishes arrived in plastic bags and then tipped out onto the table by the waiter that was lined with white butchers paper. We were armed with large bibs, a roll of hand towelling and a tool to open up the shell seafood. We then set about pulling apart our marinated seafood, the spider crab legs were delicious!
We had to bite the bullet and did some shopping at Ala Moana. We were a little disappointed, not the bargains that we had heard about but never less we managed to purchase some good buys. Still had plenty of time to swim and sun bake before heading out to the Cheesecake Factory for tea. Yum! We needed to have a walk after that meal, this place is still buzzing very late at night, the shops don't seem to close until 11pm.
We had an amazing time going out on a catamaran on O'ahu's west side where the calm, clear waters were perfect for snorkelling. We had beautiful Hawaiian spinner Dolphins play along our boat, so friendly and graceful in the water. Unfortunately is was out of season for the whale watching but we did snorkel along side sea Turtles and colourful fish and saw flying fish skimming above the water surface, a surprising sight!
We finished our last night with a Lu'au, a truly Hawaiian experience. We travelled by bus to Germaine's beachfront setting and ate authentic Hawaiian food, the pig was roasted underground for 12 hours and we watched the ceremony that they do when taking the piggy out of the ground- it tasted good too! Entertainment was colourful,watching the girls doing the hula was amazing. We got down to the beach for a couple hours before we caught taxi to airport. Tony and Judy managed to fit in a surf lesson. They claim that they stood up and caught some waves. ( need to see some photos for proof I think!)
Only 3 nights here and we have obviously only seen the tip of the iceberg. Will have to come back and visit all the islands one day. Aloha!

Posted by Pearcey 13:42 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Hello Boston

July 11-13th

sunny 35 °C

We set off early Saturday morning from New York, caught train at Penn Station to Boston. A beautiful trip, the train very comfortable with plenty to see as it hugged the coastline for most of the 4 hour trip. The East Coast is green with water everywhere, every town has a marina, a real contrast to the dry west coast of California. Our accommodation was great, just next door to the Boston Common so a very convenient position. We all felt tired from our full on days in New York so had Nanna's naps and went out for a walk and dinner on the wharf, keen to sample the lobster and crab chowder that Boston is famous for and washed down with some beers. A fun night, the pace much slower than New York! Sunday was spent sightseeing. We walked the Freedom trail, this place is steeped in history and beautiful old buildings but hot work. Great food stalls everywhere, we particularly liked the historical Quincy market. Because of our close proximity to centre of town we were able to duck back to our place, freshen up and watch the men's Wimbledon final before heading out again. We were disappointed to miss out on an evening cruise as the night was warm and balmy and perfect conditions to be out on the water but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We decided to catch the 45 minute ferry to Hingham Island, had dinner there and then on the way back to Boston wharf we had prime viewing position of the magnificent display of fireworks for the Queen Mary 2 cruiser that pulled out of port. It was like New Year's Eve on the Sydney harbour! Once we were off the ferry we watched the last half hour of a movie in the garden, a very enjoyable night. The next day was another ferry ride to one of the Harbour islands, for a couple of hours then back in town for lunch before heading on train back to New York. Boston has a little Italy at the North end , where restaurants line the cobblestone streets and we had delicious meal of penne scampi and pizza. We caught the train back to NY late afternoon, arriving at our motel 10.30pm. Up early to catch flight to Hawaii, sadly our USA trip is quickly coming to an end.

Posted by Pearcey 20:05 Archived in USA Comments (0)

5 days in New York

overcast 30 °C

New York
July 6th -11th

Well we are certainly keeping up with our exercise. Since we have been here we walk a daily average of 18 km's and that is using the subways as well which we have been able to navigate without getting lost. There is a lovely ferry trip from Nth Williamsburg but costs more so we go under ground when we can. The 4 of us went to Yankee stadium to watch New York Yankees vs Oaklands. It was entertaining, the locals love their baseball but I don't think any of us have been converted, it was a bit slow. Keeping with the sporting theme, Dave was keen to watch the Origin decider and found the Australian pub right in the city. We met up with lots of Aussies doing the same thing, so very social but the game was dismal, what on earth happened to NSW's? We walked over the Brooklyn bridge, an easy half hour walk and great views of the city and Manhattten bridge. New York is an island so there are bridges to everywhere. After the game and some beers we went to the Natural history museum; wow so much to see! Some of us found it more interesting than others, Dave was found outside, laying down on a bench in front of the museum and hundreds of people snoring lots of zzzzzzzz. Have a very unflattering photo to show his children when home. We spent yesterday walking through the wonderful Chelsea markets. The aromas of spices, coffee , seafood and bakeries had the mouth watering and great to see. We enjoyed a real coffee there and found clean toilets. We walked through west village and Greenwich and enjoyed our picnic lunch in Washington Square park listening to an English school group on a music camp play jazz. New York parks are well used and free entertainment and busking is common place. Greenwich is beautiful with cobbled stone streets and nice homes. Walked onto Little Italy and tried the Gelato and then China town right next door. Hard to believe we were in New York as felt like we were in China with street stalls selling seafood and fruit and veggies, old ladies playing Ma Jong in the park and men playing music with old Chinese musical instruments. We passed China town on our night bus trip earlier in week and saw the park full of people doing Tai Chi. We continued walking to East village and then the train into Times Square to purchase Broadway tickets. We queued up for 20 minutes and got half price tickets for 'On the Town'. Had a well earned drink and dinner before the show started which we enjoyed thoroughly. Had intended going up the Rockfellar high-rise after the show but it poured rain so caught the train home. Tony and Judy also saw the Broadway show, 'Beautiful'. We all agreed that watching a Broadway show is so exciting; the singing, dancing and acting is superb and something you must do in New York. After a couple hot steamy days the weather broke last night and rained heavily. Our last day was fine but started off cooler than usual which was a nice change.
Pearcey likes driving on the wrong side of the road so hired a car for the day and travelled down to Long Island. Within a half hour drive the countryside is green and not long before you are in the Hamptons with miles of beaches and immaculate, manicured homes. We stopped at South Hampton first, picture postcard stuff and able to catch a shuttle service to Coopers beach as all car parks near beaches charge $40. We had tasty fish and chips at the beach cafe and a stroll. The beach changed from lovely fine sand to coarse with plenty of shells and water temperature quite warm. A surprising sight were the many wooden windmills built in the late 1700's and early 1800's and we stopped to look at the Hook Mill. Beautiful small towns along the way, all with trendy boutiques and fine restaurants to cater for the very wealthy that reside here in the summer, the real estate is multi millions for a home. We island hopped by ferries over to the north fork and Shelter island with its unspoiled farmland and wineries, very 'traditional New England' atmosphere and a world away from the Big Apple! Off to Boston in morning.

Posted by Pearcey 20:44 Archived in USA Comments (2)

New York

Arrived Sunday July 5th

semi-overcast 29 °C

We started early Sunday morning thinking that LA airport would be busy. Left 6 am and we were through by 6.40 and then waited for our 8.55am flight. Once we boarded it was another 1.5 hours before takeoff as repairs were done on the wings., plus add 3 hours Timezone and it was 7.30pm before we arrived at our apartment in NewYork. . Quite warm and had a walk around neighbourhood, Nth Williamsburg, dinner in a lovely beer garden and came across a store that has everything so able to stock up on some food. We have decided to split during the day time and then we meet again at night, there is so much to see and do. On day one, we went on a hop on hop off bus to familiarise ourselves with the city. Well worth it! We went into Times Square which just blows you away with massive movie screens in all directions, at night time it is all glitter, a lot like Las Vegas. Unbelievable crowds of people and hot, we cycled bikes around Central Park which was a welcome respite from the heat and crowds. The high line walk has bee one of our favourite things to do, a 30 foot disused railway converted into gardens, wonderful view points of the city and places to sit down and enjoy an icy pole while cooling our feet down in the water. Before we started our walk we visited a pop art gallery in Chelsea, fantastic! We caught the free Stratten Island ferry and saw 'the Lady' , Statue of Liberty, she is very impressive. From there it was around to the 9/11 memorial, the waterways cascading into the footprints of the 2 towers and trees planted everywhere make it a beautiful site. There was about a one hour queue to get inside the museum so we gave it a miss, this is the disadvantage of visiting NY in the summer. New York has hundreds of km's of walkways and cycle tracks so we have been walking everywhere which is the best way to see everything and then coming home late each night exhausted. Off now to walk Brooklyn bridge, visit a Museum as haven't decided yet and probably a Yankees game tonight.

Posted by Pearcey 05:39 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Sans Luis Obispo to Los Angeles

July 4th

sunny 23 °C

Saturday July 4th

Drove through to Santa Barbara and stayed a few hours for the July 4th celebrations. Every building and person seems to have American flag/ or colours draped over them. SB was lively, the beach and wharf busy, Everyone out with picnic baskets and cooking up bbq's. Just like we do on Australia Day. We enjoyed the street parade, a bit like our Anzac Day parade. Shops beautiful and visited the court house with its amazing Spanish architecture. Left around 3pm for LA which was slow going, not a good day to be on the road, extremely busy going through Malibu through to Santa Monica. Finally arrived in LA, 6.30pm and checked into our hotel near the airport as need to leave early in morning for New York. Relaxed in the hot spa, a great place to mingle with some fellow US travellers and bite to eat and re packing bags for the flight. What a great 12 days travelling around California!

Posted by Pearcey 22:56 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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