Above the clouds

When we were in Hawai’i in 2012 we took a trip to Hana and went hiking through the bamboo forest. This forest is one one of the slopes of the big volcano called Haleakala. Yesterday we went up the volcano from the other side which looks very different. About halfway up the volcano you enter a Haleakala National Park and in the park there are several shorter and longer hikes. The temperature in the Park was almost 20C lower than at the beach. Luckily we had anticipated this and brought sweaters. We drove all the way to the summit first, which is at just over 10,000 ft and one the way back stopped at one of the trailheads just underneath the summit for a hike. We took the Keonehe’ehe’e trail (Sliding Sands). It looks a bit like a moon landscape and you see the clouds below.

On our way back we tried to get a bite of food at a town we hadn’t visited before, Paia as we had a recommendation for a good restaurant there. It being Christmas Eve, most places were booked though. We decided to stop off for a shave ice, the first one on the trip, before heading back and eating at the hotel lounge bar. It had been a long day. The trip up the volcano is an almost 2 hour drive.

Hawai’i

While I had a suspicion that we would be staying at the same hotel as 7 years ago, I wasn’t entirely sure when I booked our trip. Turns out that we are and we took a picture at the same spot in the hotel today.

A lot can change and Lexie definitely did. The background decoration shows she grew a full “diamond” in size.

This afternoon we talk a walk on the beach and booked a few activities for the coming days. After relaxing a little bit in the lounge, we drove to our evening dinner restaurant, Morimoto. This is a Japanese restaurant where we had dinner in 2017. The restaurant also remembered as they mentioned Lexie had listed back then that she was allergic to strawberries.

On the way back we decided to stop at Honolua Bay Lookout. It is a place where you can see a lot of stars. However the sky was a bit cloudy and while we did see stars, it wasn’t as clear as we had hoped. We however did see the pony clearly that the rental car projected.

All packed and ready to go..

The suitcase does not get a lot of rest this year. It is Lexie’s time to pick a destination. We haggled a bit over a few options but agreed that Hawaii is a great pick. It is becoming a bit of a tradition for us as well as this is our third time here together. Lexie has also been here with a friend, so she knows the island well by now. We booked a different side of the island and have plans to go on hikes and be active. I have already organized a few surprises for her. But first there is about a six hour flight today from LAX.

Last week in Holland

Today I returned to the US after having coffee with Marco and Jansie this morning. It was quite the week. Similar to the late December trip to Holland, I wasn’t feeling well at all this week. I had to make a trip to the Dutch doctor who prescribed a course of antibiotics. Luckily today things were looking a little bit better.

Yesterday we visited Jansie at the Hoornsche Hoeve and fed the animals. We also had a pannekoek dinner bij het Mussennest.

The flight back to the US will be a long one as I’m flying through San Francisco. Monday is back to work and next Friday is the start of the summer break for Roos and Alex. Almost 12 weeks of no school coming up.

Trip to The Netherlands..

It is hard to believe that it is already 4.5 months since I was last in The Netherlands. Originally I had hoped to go in March to celebrate Jansies 81st birthday but it was very hectic working on the business plan for a new cancer research center in Irvine. The final presentation for this was on May 16 and as soon as I got home from that, I started packing for my flight to Amsterdam the next day. I arrived in Wapenveld around noon today. Jansie was doing well, we had a cup of coffee together and then went out for a walk on the market in Zwolle. The weather was very nice. In the late afternoon I did start to get tired and decided to head to my hotel. I decided to change things up in terms of hotel and found a nice place in Schiphorst called the Havixhorst. It seems very quiet and calm and that is exactly what I am after today.

Alsace

Yesterday was an unplanned day out of the schedule for us. I was feeling really sick; no idea why because Roos and I ate the same thing. We had Tarte Flambee at a restaurant near the Cathedral the evening before. Roos didn’t mind so much as it allowed her a day in her PJs, drawing on her iPad. In the early afternoon she however was sent out to a nearby Boulangerie to get some nourishment. She skipped over the pre-made sandwiches and came back with one dry baguette (for me) and a chocolate cake (for herself ). The chocolate cake had raspberry filling … so it had fruit I guess. The argument could also be made that a sick person should also have dry bread.

Towards the late afternoon I was starting to feel better. In the evening we had a hot chocolate milk in the hotel. The city of Strasbourg is beautiful at Christmas time. I’ve been here often for work in the past but never around Christmas.

This morning we are leaving for our next stop: Cologne. Wrapping up breakfast before we start driving.

Louvre

This morning we had a few hours to spare before taking the train to Strasbourg at 4pm. After breakfast we walked over to the Louvre. Roos was interested in the Egyptian section. Jet lag is definitely real however and after about 2 hours we both had seen enough Egyptian papyrus, trinkets and sarcophagi. We stopped to have a hot chocolate milk at a nearby cafe and are getting ready to pack our bags to take the high speed train from Gare D’Est.

Catacombs of Paris

This evening we visited the catacombs of Paris. It was one of the sights that Roos had wanted to go to Paris for. We had a quick dinner at Cafe Rendezvous-Vous before heading across the road and down the 234 steps to almost 60 feet below the streets.

We were the last ones in and the guard walked after us to close up. After we came out we took a taxi to the Louvre and walked around a the area a little until we found a cafe that had hot chocolate milk.