About a year ago, my Aunt Fern came to my sister, brother, and I and told us that she wanted to take us and our spouses on vacation. Her stipulations were that it had to be a cruise and that she wanted us to eat dinner with her in the evenings. She didn't even care where we cruised to, she just wanted to spend time with each of us. Yes, I have hands down the most amazing aunt that has ever existed. After a lot of thought, Kelly and I decided to go on the Hawaiian cruise. So, EARLY Saturday morning, October 6th, we boarded a plane to head to Honolulu with Aunt Fern and her darling friend Gene. To say we had an amazing time is an understatement. We relaxed, rejuvenated, visited some of the most amazing place I've ever seen, and more importantly, got to spend an entire week with Aunt Fern. I used to do that every summer growing up, and I can say that I love it now just as much as I did then. :)
I took a crazy number of pictures, so this is just a taste of our week:
This is the route that our ship took:
Our first picture when we landed:
A view of the ship...HUGE!!!
The first morning, we were in Maui. Kelly and I did a rain forest and waterfall hike and it was amazing. It was one of my absolute favorite excursions of the trip.
Some of nature's beauties!
Kelly even jumped off a 25 foot waterfall that day...nut!
The second day in Maui we rented a car and drove to Paia, which is one of the cutest towns EVER! First we went to Baldwin Beach to soak up some sun. It was just beautiful!
All of the locals said we had to eat at the Flatbread Company...oh my goodness...amazing!!
After lunch we shopped in the town and then drove down the coast. This is a picture from right off the road we were driving on.
That night after a yummy dinner, we had a few photos taken with Aunt Fern. Love them!
The following day, we were on the big island and went to Hilo. First we went to Rainbow Falls.
See why it is called Rainbow Falls?? Just beautiful!
Then we went to the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory. It was a little taste of heaven...I'm sad that all of our chocolate covered ones are gone. :(
After that, we went to the Land of Frozen Fire. This used to be the ocean prior to the 1992 volcano. Crazy!!
Kelly and I above the black sand beach.
Then, we were off to Volcano National Park. This is what happened to the trees after the lava got to them:
This would be the inside of the tree:
While we were out hiking, Aunt Fern and Gene were back on the ship learning how to make leis that day...
Sadly, these two pictures are the only picture I have on here from our second day on the big island, in Kona. We took a catamaran sail and snorkel that day and our underwater camera wasn't working. So, we bought a disposable one on the boat and it took horrible pictures. :( Very sad our pictures of that day didn't turn out. Oh well, we had a great time that day and it was gorgeous as well!
This is what Kona looked like from the ship:
The fifth day we were in absolute PARADISE...also known as Kaua'i. We rented a Jeep and drove up the coast.
It just doesn't get any prettier than this.
You know in the song, Puff the Magic Dragon where it says he frolicked in the Autumn mist in a land called Hanalei? Well, we went to Hanalei and had lunch! SUCH a fun little town!!
That night we all went to the Kalamaku Lu'au. First we took a train ride through the plantation and then had dinner before the show began. It was much different than what I expected. It told a really neat story and the dancers were amazing.
The background from the train ride.
Aunt Fern and Gene were so cute...after the show they just HAD to have their picture taken with the star of the show. :)
Our final day in Kaua'i was spent walking around the town and we found this at the Marriott...hilarious!
Our ship left Kaua'i at 2:00 and drove by the Napali Coast before heading back to Honolulu. Gorgeous doesn't even describe it...it was breathtaking.
Our last morning was also the morning of the OU/TX game...this was Kelly trying to get in a few minutes of the game before we headed to Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor was very surreal. It was such a quiet place with so much history and emotion. I'd love to go back and spend more time one day.
The white rectangle that you see below is the memorial that was built over the USS Arizona.
These were taken in the actual memorial over the ship.
After seeing Pearl Harbor, we headed to the airport and arrived home the next day. It was a trip that we will never forgot because it was fabulous in so many ways!!!