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Kaua'i 2023 Day 6: Push, Kick, and Shove

all seasons in one day 83 °F

We started the day with a .4 mile journey to the place where Catherine's parents and her aunt and uncle are staying. The grounds of their resort include a cemetery, which is marked with some stones and monuments. It is very interesting that they would build a resort in such a location. The grounds are beautiful and overlook Shipwreck Beach.

Catherine and her Aunt Mary enjoying a pina colada (rather early in the day).

We drove to Kauai Backcountry Adventures in Lihue, where we were going to go on our innertube tour. Catherine was very excited about it, but Daniel was a bit more skeptical. It turned out that it was a three hour tour total, not three hours in the innertube. Two hours of the tour are driving through the area and hearing some of the historical and scientific information about it, and one hour is tubing through the irrigation tunnels. Catherine's dad had broken his shoulder last week while mountain biking in Mammoth. We were concerned that he wouldn't be able to come on the Hawaii trip, but he was able to. However, he was not able to come on the tubing adventure because he has to keep his arm immobilized.

Some pictures of us and the group as the tour was about to begin.

Some pictures from our drive up to the beginning of the adventure. Apparently most of this land belongs to Steve Case, who was the founder of America Online and who was from Hawaii. It was formerly a sugar plantation but the sugar growing ended because other countries were able to pay workers a lot less, and growers in Hawaii couldn't compete with their prices. We saw some wild pigs...

As well as what the tour guide called a Hawaiian Mountain Lion (a cat sitting by a rock).

Some views of Waialeale, which is one of the rainiest places on earth. It can get over 500 inches of rain in a year. There are multiple waterfalls that come down from this mountain, feeding the streams and ditches like the one we tubed down.

A couple pictures of us, and Catherine's mom, in front of Waialeale.

We weren't able to take pictures during the actual tubing adventure. We each got on our own innertube, and got in the irrigation ditches on the former sugar plantation. We had helmets with lights and we went through multiple tunnels throughout our time there. It was mostly an easy ride, with a few slightly rapid parts where our tubes would get jostled together. There were several commands that the guides would yell, including "elbows and ankles" (meaning to tuck in to the tube so as not to hit things) and "push, kick, and shove" meaning that we should push, kick, and shove the tubes around us to get loose from a jam. In the last tunnel they recommended that we turn our lights off and focus on "the light at the end of the tunnel" which was interesting: it felt briefly like we weren't moving, and then suddenly we could see the light getting closer. Once we were done tubing, we were able to get out and were driven to another place, where we had a picnic. We had croissant sandwiches and cookies, and had access to a pond to swim in (although we didn't swim.)

The kids helped Daniel pick plumeria flowers for all the women. While we were walking we found a banana plant right near the house. Dalton wanted a banana but Daniel didn't think they were ripe yet.

We then went in to Koloa and went to an ice cream shop (Catherine actually had Dole Whip and Daniel had a guava danish.) We went to Sueoka's for some groceries, and then went home and planned to walk to dinner.

We walked to Brennecke's Beach Broiler, where we got nachos, pad thai, and mai tais. There was live music and we noticed a baseball cap from Fresno State while we were there. A few years ago when we were here we went here with some of Daniel's family, so we toasted with mai tais and remembered our past times here!

Posted by danielcatherine 03:04 Archived in USA Tagged rain mountain adventure plantation banana tube ditch sandwich irrigation koloa kauai_backcountry_adventures waialeale push_kick_and_shove brennecke's Comments (0)

Portugal Day 4: A Marvãolous Adventure

sunny 80 °F

We started our day by taking a taxi to the airport. We saw the somewhat less fashionable side of Lisbon on our drive, but also got nice views of the river. When we arrived at the Europcar office, they appeared to be closed. There was a sign saying that we should go to the office in the main terminal, so we did. Once we were there, they were very helpful. They didn’t have a car with WiFi like we had ordered, but they did find us one with a built-in navigation system that was a little larger than we had originally booked. We set out from Lisbon towards the east, heading first for the former Templar castle of Almourol.

Before we arrived in Almourol we stopped in the little town of Tancos, where there is a restaurant called Restaurante Almourol. We strolled around the grassy area by the River Tagus, then went to the restaurant. This was an adventure all its own.the restaurant was very nice, but no one seemed to speak English. I told the waitress “Não falo Português” to which she replied “Mas percebes bem” and continued in Portuguese. The menu also was entirely in Portuguese. We ended up using Google Translate, which yielded that one of the menu items was “bunny” and that another was “potato punch.” So that was unhelpful. We ended up just ordering. We got fried river fish with rice and beans. Neither of us usually eat a lot of fish,but it was a good meal.
Some views across the river to the towns on the other side. There was a beautiful view from our restaurant.
The castle was a fortress used by the Knights Templar during the crusades. It formed part of a defensive line along the Tagus during the Portuguese Reconquista. It is a beautiful castle, and it’s fascinating to see how it would have been when the Tagus was the dividing line between the Christians and the Muslims.
Some amazing views around the castle. We were able to climb the staircases and look out from the walls. The river is much narrower on the northern side of the island. It seems like a very defensible position since it is surrounded by water, but it is obviously better protected from the south, which of course is where the Moors were.
The castle as we left in the boat. We missed the boat we were supposed to take, but thankfully it came back a few minutes later.
After that, we went further East to the walled hilltop city of Marvão. It is near the border with Spain and had been used to defend against invasion. It is beautiful, and reminded us quite a bit of San Gimignano in Italy. There are narrow streets, hills, ancient fortresses and churches, and a cafe that sells gelato.
The curious kittens of Marvão.
There is a beautiful garden near the castle made up mostly of hydrangeas, Catherine’s favorite flowers. The garden has a beautiful view of the surrounding area, and you can see the surrounding valleys in Spain and Portugal.






More of Marvão.


A tactile model of the city.
Gelato from the cafe.
Given how close we were to Spain, we decided to go in. There was a former border checkpoint that was entirely unmanned, and the only signal that we had left Portugal and entered Spain was this sign. We went in to a gas station and got some snacks, and it was intriguing that all of the packaging was in Spanish. The linguistic nature of the border is fascinating: the cashier at the gas station spoke something that sounded like Portuguese to locals at she knew, but perfect Spanish to strangers.
We then followed the GPS to Coimbra. Our AirBnB host, João, was waiting at a cafe. We met him and found a parking spot, then got everything set up in the room. We then met João at the tapas restaurant across the street from our flat. He gave us advice about what to do in Coimbra: he was a wealth of information about the city and the various things we could see. He left us to have a late dinner and listen to the singing of the Hungarian university officials in the next room (there is a sports competition between European universities going on in Coimbra).
Our dinner, including a bottle of wine from our waiter’s hometown in the Douro valley.
Our dessert: lime pie and a 1985 port.
We spent a long time visiting with our waiter, the Hungarians (who bought us a round of a Portuguese liqueur), and a few others who stayed in the restaurant late. We learned some Hungarian drinking songs and chatted with the waiter about the town, life in Portugal, and numerous other topics. It was a wonderful night. We went back across the street to our room at around 4 in the morning. We feel so lucky to be able to have these adventures and talk to such interesting people!

Posted by danielcatherine 03:56 Archived in Portugal Tagged castles fish adventure rice port wine kittens tapas coimbra lime beans talk marvão almourol Comments (3)

Hawaii Day 5: Honu Adventure

overcast 81 °F

Today we have very few pictures because our main adventure was not documentable with our phones. In the morning we drove to Honolua Bay, north of Kapalua. We parked in a small parking lot, and then walked through the jungle to reach the rocky beach. There were "falling tree" and "falling coconut" warnings everywhere, but thankfully we did not encounter either. We did, however, encounter countless chickens, including hens with baby chicks. They made a great deal of noise, but mostly got off the path when people walked by. Though the path through the jungle seemed somewhat deserted, the actual beach was full of people, and there were three snorkeling/ scuba diving catamarans in the bay. We got our snorkel gear on and started snorkeling. There were beautiful, colorful reefs there, and there were tons of fish. We snorkeled for about an hour and a half to two hours. At one point we heard someone yell "turtle" and we went to where she was. There was a green sea turtle (honu in Hawaiian) eating algae on the reef. We kept snorkeling, and saw three more turtles. They would come up for air very briefly, then go back down for more algae. As we were looking at one turtle, we saw a giant eel swim by. Afterwards, we swam back to the shore and started to get ready to go. Daniel noticed a stand where a man was selling fresh coconuts and papayas. We didn't have any cash, so Daniel went back to the car to get his wallet and we bought a coconut. First we drank the coconut juice/ water, then the seller broke it and we ate the meat. We all liked it except for Katie, who felt that it tasted too different from the "coconut" flavor she was used to.

We went to the Times Supermarket to get lunch, and had the pineapple that Steve gave us yesterday in the field for dessert. It was Catherine's parents' wedding anniversary, so we had reservations at Duke's, which is within walking distance of our hotel.

We saw a plumeria tree on our way, and there were a lot of flowers on the ground, probably due to the aforementioned fiercely-blowing trade winds.
We picked up some flowers for Catherine and Katie to wear in their hair.
Anniversary dinner.
Some pictures from our dinner. The restaurant is right by the ocean and we were there for sunset, which was beautiful.
The food was delicious: taro rolls before the main course, then our dinner: chicken and mashed potatoes, and Maui onion soup (suspiciously similar to French onion soup, but made with Maui onions).
The famous "hula pie" which we had for dessert.
We went for a walk on the boardwalk after dinner. The stars were coming out and it was a beautiful night. It started raining as we were walking back.
Pictures with the statues in the lobby of the hotel.
We stopped at the gift shop and picked up this souvenir. We got a metal sign in Ireland last year, and this year we bought this one. We can add them to the same area in our garage to decorate.

Despite the lack of pictures, today was a wonderful day and we loved everything that we did. Seeing the turtles was spectacular, and we had a pleasant and happy day overall.

Posted by danielcatherine 02:34 Archived in USA Tagged fish rain adventure reef snorkel coral stars turtle honolua eel honu duke's Comments (0)

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