Sweet Sixteen

Alexandra is turning 16 today. It is the first and hopefully the last birthday in the current quarantine. Roos narrowly avoided it last month.

In order to comply with distancing rules but to still see her friends, we organized a tail gating party. Of course there was also a cake.

Happy new year and a visit from Marco

The new year, and new decade is already more than a week old. Happy new year !

Marco came to visit early this year already. He works for Abbvie since about a year and is traveling more frequently to the US. In november I saw him in San Francisco but this time he was even closer. He had a meeting in West Lake Village this week but decided to arrive early so he could visit. It was still as flash visit as he was at my house with Annette for only 1 day. We went out to dinner and had a good time. We finalized the plan is to travel to The Netherlands in May to move Jansie’s urn onto the same cemetery as our mothers. As Marco and Annette rushed to Westlake Village on Sunday afternoon (for a dry run of his presentation on Monday ), I made my way to San Francisco to attend JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2020.

More above the clouds

We were above the clouds again today but even a bit higher this time. We took a helicopter tour around Maui and also Moloka’i. This is an island that has very steep cliffs and drops with waterfalls of hundreds of meters. The steep drops are the result of a volcanic explosion almost a million years ago that split the island. Of the coast of the island were very large reefs and we were able to see whales, turtles and manta rays from the helicopter. Lexie was sitting in the front and was told not the touch the controls…

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.


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.

Deutsches Panzermuseum

This museum was on my list to visit but it is a bit out of the way in Germany. However since this weekend there isn’t anything to do anymore, I decided to drive up there. They have a German version of the tank I used to work with ( the Cheetah ) and also have lots of WW2 tanks including the famous Tiger tanks.

It was very cold, the museum was unheard, which is very appropriate to how I remember working with tanks.