04.12.2005 28 °C
We're back from our Waikiki get-away vacation! It was sooo nice! I made reservations for us at the Hale Koa Hotel (http://www.halekoa.com) which is a military only resort right on the beach at Waikiki. Military members get amazing rates for everything here... rooms, restaurants and shopping in the PX right on the premesis!
But before I get ahead of myself.....
We left home around 10:30am Friday morning. Our first stop was a visit to the "Punchbowl Cemetary" just above Waikiki. It is really the National Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific. In ancient times the Hawaiians buried their royalty here; now it is the final resting grounds of those military members who sacrificed their lives in the Pacific.
It is a very somber area with a lot to read and learn. You drive into this old crater and at the far end is a giant statue of Columbia holding a laurel branch. In between you and her are the graves of over 44,000 men and women. In addition to the graves there are over 28,000 names carved into marble walls. These represent those "whose earthly resting place is known only to God".
One stone we found belongs to a Marine who had his hands on the famous flag pole being raised at Iwo Jima!
Just after leaving the Punchbowl Cemetary, we took a 10-mile drive up Tantalus Drive and Round Top Road. It winds and switchbacks thru forest and straight up a mountain to the 1,610 foot level. You eventually come to the Pu'u Ualaka'a State Wayside and if you stay to the left and walk 100 yards out, you come to THIS view:
(I am saving other sweeping view pictures for later views, as I am limited in my photo sharing space)
After all the driving and scenic viewing, we found a cross stitching store that I'd wanted to visit. Was a cute, very full little place! Very different from the spacious shops in Charleston!
Finally we headed to the hotel to check in around 2:30pm. Here's a shot of it from the beach:
We spent time lazing beside the pool, too. We tried our first Mai Tai too, as I'd heard they were the BEST there. I took 2 sips and that was enough rum for me! C had to finish it. LOL But it's cool to have tried one, anyway.
And this is the view from our lanai (patio/porch/balcony).
After an afternoon of relaxing, I was anxious to get out on the beach for my first Hawaiian sunset! I took a LOT of pictures during the whole event, but these are my favorites:
I love my camera!!!
Going to have a few of those enlarged and framed, I think. =o)
Saturday morning we went to breakfast at a beachside restaurant at the hotel. Went for a quick walk up the beach walk to the Hawaiian Hilton Hotel for this shot:
I've been wanting to take that picture for a while, now.
Then we went to Diamond Head for some late morning hiking. It's an old crater created somewhere around 300,000 to 400,000 years ago. They charge $5 per car and the rest of the hike is free. It's 1 1/4 miles round trip, and it's mostly straight up. LOL!! You ascend 560 feet as you climb.
This is a view of it (thru the haze) from a distance.
As you climb, there are overlook stopping points. And thank god, too! My legs needed the breaks! Taking scenic vista shots gives a great excuse to stop. =o)
Here you can see a portion of the trail... climbing... UP!
A lighthouse... I love this view of it - how often can you get so far above a lighthouse and shoot from that angle?
There is the summit, finally!!! It was so fun getting there! You climb up LONG flights of steep steps, go thru tunnels, and go up thru bunkers on spiral stairways.
The view is FABULOUS!
As usual, I took MANY MORE PHOTOS than I can share here in this diary! I haven't updated my Yahoo Photos album lately, so I just uploaded 182 pictures to it.
To see the rest of the pictures from all of our adventures, visit the photo album at (Look in "Hawaii 4" for the newest pictures): http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bikergirl_brazen/my_photos