Our tradition continues and this year for Alex’s birthday we decided to fly away… Waaay away :-))). Oahu, Hawaii to be exact. The flight was perfect. It was my first time flying first class. I finally crossed this off my “bucket list” and experienced the real life behind the curtain (that’s where passengers might be feasting on fine wine and warmed nuts, enjoying movies on large screens with noise-canceling headphones, and sleeping in lie-flat beds on lengthy flights). It only has ONE downside – it ruins coach for you forever ;-))). Anyway, after landing we rented a car at the airport, drove to the hotel and tried to find some trendy places to eat outside the Hilton Waikiki Beach Resort. It wasn’t easy in the dark, I must say, but we finally found the exit trough the parking garage (what???). Make sure you have a hotel map handy ;-).

On the first morning we decided to explore the famous North Shore of Oahu. After an hour drive from busy Waikiki we arrived to the very picturesque part of the island. Pineapple fields, horse farms and cute little towns full of surfers from around the world – you just have to see this part of the island to appreciate it’s laid back way of life. The view of the North Shore of Oahu is very impressive. I never had to enjoy such a fantastic view with my morning cup of coffee.

Just beyond the northern tip, we discovered Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp track and enjoyed some of the islands best and freshest garlic shrimps! Delicious!

On the next day we went for a hike in Diamond Head State Park. This hike offers breathtaking views overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu. In fact the view is so good, it was used by the US military as a post for preventing attacks against Honolulu.
The trail takes you to the edge of a 300,000 year old crater. While the hike isn’t that long in terms of distance, it was somewhat challenging, especially the steep 99 steps at the end.

On the way home we stopped at the Lanai Lookout Point. The view, again, is incredible. Locals assure you can see humpback whales breaching in the Pacific Ocean in the months of December thru May. It was the end of January and I was hoping for the opportunity to see some of them, but we weren’t lucky enough this time. I really recommend to visit this place, not only because of whales, but just to enjoy the sounds of waves and meditation.

Next day was rainy and turned out it was the perfect weather for visiting Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. This place is surreal. After seeing it on IG so many times I just had to visit it to make sure it’s as beautiful as they say it is. It was even more… It was overwhelming. At some point I had a feeling I’m on the “Jurassic Park” set. No wonder they were filming in these mountains! Your life might not be the same after visiting this place ;-))).

We took a long way home and found couple of gorgeous little beaches. The waves and wind were pretty strong despite the sunny day, so we just walked around and played with the sand.

Next on our list was Dole Plantation. Very cute place that will make you love a very good ripe pineapple! I never thought that these can taste so sweet and delicious when fresh from the field. Yum!

Next “must see” is the Byodo-In Temple, that was built in the 1960’s to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant workers in Hawaii. It is a replica of the 950-year-old Byodoin Temple located in Kyoto, Japan.
The Byodo-In Temple is a non-denominational Buddhist temple which welcomes people of all faiths to worship, meditate or simply appreciate its beauty.

And there it was… our last sunset in Waikiki. We had so much fun exploring the island, but I feel we still have much more to see and experience. Already miss this amazing place. Mahalo nui loa, Hawaii
πŸŒΊπŸŒ΄πŸ€™. See you soon!

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