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Utah Day 3: A Tropical Vacation

sunny 76 °F

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We slept in a bit, and then went on a short hike nearby in Cedar Breaks National Monument. This one was called "Alpine Pond" and involved hiking first to a small pond and then to the Chessmen overlook where we went yesterday.
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There were a lot of fir and spruce trees, as well as pines and a ton of wildflowers.
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There were a lot of fallen trees, mostly due to the bark beetle infestation that seems to have mostly passed by now. We arrived at the pond, which was beautiful but very full of bugs. We saw water bugs walking across the water and bees pollinating the wildflowers nearby.
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Most of the trail felt like we were walking through a forest, and didn't feel at all like we were on the edge of a plateau. But occasionally we would get glimpses through the trees of the majestic canyon/ amphitheater to our right.
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Some beautiful wildflowers that looked like something a fairy would live in.
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A meadow at the turnaround point for our hike.
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Along the way back.
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This yurt at the trail head is used as a kind of ranger station. It has a wood stove and looks kind of cozy inside.
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We then drove to Bryce National Park. There is a town just outside the park called Tropic, apparently because the early settlers were planning to grow "tropical" fruits like peaches and grapes there. In Tropic there is a small restaurant/ food truck called IDK Barbecue. We stopped there for lunch before going into the park.
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Bryce Canyon is really more of an amphitheater than a canyon. It is an amazingly beautiful location, although being there for sunset was a bit less impressive than it probably is at sunrise given that the amphitheater faces east.
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There were a lot of areas where guests could hike down into the amphitheater. Anthony and Daniel decided to climb down into one of them.
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The one we hiked in was called "Wall Street" and was part of the Navajo Trail loop. We didn't do the whole loop, we only walked down into the canyon and got to an area where there were trees growing up through the narrow cracks.
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We drove deeper into the park and stopped at various lookouts, which allowed us to see the sunset over the ridge, which was very impressive and beautiful. It was a wonderful day at Bryce Canyon, which is an incredible place.

Posted by danielcatherine 11:34 Archived in USA Tagged sunset wall_street hike tropic national_park bryce_canyon barbecue alpine_pond Comments (0)

Portugal Day 5: Cloisters and Fado

semi-overcast 85 °F

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We started our day with a breakfast that reminded us greatly of our Portuguese lessons. On each lesson some character would order bottles of water (Aguas minerais), some custard pastries (pasteis de nata) and a latte (um galão). This is what we got at a cafe called “The World Needs Nata.”
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Some views around the cafe, including the buskers who were playing across the street.
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The streets in Coimbra.
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Next we went to the Santa Cruz monastery, where much of the knowledge of the Portuguese explorers had been gathered and collected. It was founded by St. Teotonio/ Theotonius in 1131.
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Inside the church.
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The sacristy of the church. There was a great deal of artwork on the walls, and several very beautiful liturgical artifacts. The church appears to still be in use to some extent, as there are current liturgical books on some of the shelves.
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A side room with some religious art and relics. The “bust reliquary” in the middle holds the skull of St. Teotonio. The other two hold relics related to the Five Martyrs of Morocco, Franciscans who were killed for preaching the Catholic faith.
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The Chapter room where meetings took place, with its own altar.
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Some pictures of the cloister.
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The tile work around the walls.
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Tapestries.
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The relic sanctuary. This room was amazingly beautiful. It is highly symmetrical and perfectly arranged, but each element on the walls contains relics of various saints. It felt like something out of a fantasy novel.
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Some pictures at the sanctuary of the church, including the tombs of the first and second kings of Portugal, Afonso Henriques and his son Sancho.
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Some views of the street after we left. On our way up towards the old cathedral, we stopped at the Fado ao Centro and booked tickets for the show at 7:00 PM. We also stopped at the shop of an artist named Marcia Santos, who does illustrations with ballpoint pen. We purchased two of her drawings in frames to take home.
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Then we arrived at the Old Cathedral (the new one was built in the 17th century.)
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Inside the cathedral. Some tombs of various people, including a Byzantine princess who was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Saint Isabella (who lived in Coimbra at the end of her life).
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This little creature at the foot of the tomb of one of the bishops. Is it a shih tzu?
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The cloister at the cathedral.
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For some reason, the floor of the cloister is covered in “2”s.
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Outside the church.
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A little restaurant across from the cathedral where we had a quick snack: caldo verde, a popular Portuguese soup.
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The fado show was beautiful. Fado de Coimbra is distinct from other fado. The instrumentals were really impressive, as was the singing. After the show we got to drink some port wine and talk with the musicians. We bought a CD which they signed.
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After this we went towards the river for dinner and a short walk. It was beautiful at sunset.
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Gelato! Daniel got Azorean pineapple and mint, Catherine got Madeira banana.
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And then, another fado show! One of the musicians from the first one played at this one as well. However, it was different: this show was Fado de Lisboa, which has a female singer and a different kind of sound. We bought this CD as well. It was an amazing show and we really enjoyed learning about the different varieties of the music.

Posted by danielcatherine 03:48 Archived in Portugal Tagged sunset river cloisters cathedral music port dinner wine relics gelato fado pastel_de_nata galão Comments (2)

Hawaii Day 10: Sunset

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We got up earlier than yesterday, and went back to the blowhole area to make sure we got the chance to try Julia's banana bread. We made it to the stand in time. We also bought some mango candy, and we were very tempted by the passionfruit butter. One of the sellers gave Catherine this plumeria to wear in her hair (he also offered a plumeria lei for $5 but we weren't sure how we would get it home). It was a beautiful drive and a fun stop. And the bread is delicious!
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We went boogie boarding at D.T. Fleming Beach in Kapalua. On the recommendation of Daniel's aunt and uncle who come here regularly, we also tried the "beach shack" affiliated with the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua. It was very good. Boogie boarding was fun, although it takes some time to get used to it, and the wind was pretty intense today just like yesterday.
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After boogie boarding and lunch, we headed back to the room and then out again to snorkel. We snorkeled near the resort, a little bit to the south where there were beautiful reefs and we saw a great many new varieties of fish. Unfortunately we didn't have any way of taking pictures of them, but we saw some amazing things. After that, we decided to go back to the hotel for the sunset, and sit out on chairs overlooking the water.
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One of Daniel's favorite pictures he's ever taken: a sailboat against the sunset.
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Our last sunset in Hawaii, "until we meet again."
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After sunset.
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We went to dinner at Prison Street Pizza, which is in Lahaina and was very good. It was a relatively small restaurant, but the pizza was good and we tried a couple of Maui Brewing Company beers. We have had a wonderful time in Hawaii, and we hope to be able to come back soon.

Posted by danielcatherine 18:36 Archived in USA Tagged fish sunset pizza snorkel sailboat blowhole boogie_board ritz-carlton d.t.fleming kapalua Comments (0)

Hawaii Day 9: A Hole New World

semi-overcast 83 °F

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Today we slept in, having gotten back from the Road to Hana fairly late and needing sleep. Here are some pictures of the resort, which we haven't yet shown in great detail. It's very large, and the architecture is very open allowing the breeze to come through. We decided to head to the Nakalele Blowhole, north-east of the resort. In addition to the interesting nature of the blowhole itself, we heard that Julia's banana bread stand, said to be the best on the island, has a "pop-up stand" near the blowhole.
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We did find Julia's stand, but they had just run out of banana bread. We talked with the two men who were working there, and they advised A. That we come back tomorrow when they would have bread and B. That we not hike all the way down to the blowhole before first confirming that it was "going."
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Some views of the beautiful cliffs near the blowhole.
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It was extremely windy. The blowhole is at the very northern tip of the west side of Maui, which exposes it to the trade winds and makes this part of the island very windy. It was so intense that you could feel yourself almost being pushed back. We minded the edges and walked very carefully.
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The blowhole, which is emphatically not a water park. It is essentially a tube that waves go into, which then shoots water up like a geyser. We saw many people walking close to the blowhole. We had read an article saying that people die every year by being sucked into the blowhole, so we stayed well clear of it.
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We had some spam musubi in the car. This is a food, popular in Hawaii, which is essentially a piece of marinated spam with rice and a seaweed wrap. It was actually very good, and made a very decent lunch.
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A beautiful view on our drive back.
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Dessert: shave ice!
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Half guava and half lilikoi (passionfruit).
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The old fort in Lahaina, built by the Kingdom of Hawaii after a group of whalers fired cannons at a missionary settlement.
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Some views of the banyan tree, a huge tree planted in the late 19th century. It's as multiple trunks, which descent from the branches as vines and then attach to the ground. It is an amazing tree, providing shade for the space of an entire small park.
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Some of the historic district of Lahaina, including the Baldwin house, where a missionary/ physician named Baldwin lived.
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Kukui nut trees. These nuts were historically used to make torches, as they have a great deal of oil. They are also used to make leis.
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Some views of the beautiful sunset in Lahaina.
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We had plans to go to Lahainaluna Cafe at Front Street and Lahainaluna, so we parked by the banyan tree and walked down Front Street. It was beautiful. The "Lahaina Store" was an interesting historic building, and the street itself was very picturesque.
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On our way, we noticed this store selling prints of old art and maps. We went in...
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We bought this map and frame. It is the first map to be published in Hawaii and in the Hawaiian language, thus rendering, for instance, Molokai as "Molokai" rather than "Morotoi" as it had been on previous maps.
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We didn't buy this one. It cost over $20,000 because it is an original from the first publication of Captain Cook's map. It seems to have been written by Tahitian speakers (thus "Morotoi" and "Ranai"). While we didn't decide to buy it, it was thrilling to look over it and hold it. We also had a long and interesting conversation with Bob, who works there. We discussed maps, linguistics, and the various groups of people who settled in Hawaii.
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Delicious food at the Lahainaluna Cafe. The POG juice was very good, despite Daniel's objection to the mid-nineties children's game of POGs, which was named for the juice. We had a very nice evening, and were very happy to have found the Lahaina Printsellers shop.

Posted by danielcatherine 00:00 Archived in USA Tagged sunset park maps historic banyan blowhole prints shave_ice musubi lahaina_printsellers Comments (0)

Hawaii Day 7: Wine in the House of a King

semi-overcast 83 °F

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Today, Katie and Anthony had to fly back home. We got ready a little bit earlier to take them to the airport, but thankfully their flight was at a reasonable time and we were able to have a nice breakfast. Daniel prepared one of our pineapples from the plantation tour, and Katie and Anthony went on a walk and returned with malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) from a nearby bakery. We had a nice breakfast, then helped them pack and drove to the airport. We had lunch at the same food truck court as we did on our first day, then dropped them off at the airport. Although we are excited about our next few days here, we were sad to see them go. We had a lot of fun snorkeling, hiking, and playing cards with them. It has been a wonderful trip so far.
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After dropping them off, we decided to see the town of Paia. It was an interesting little town, but seemed to consist of nothing but women's clothing shops. Eventually we found a souvenir shop where we got a print of three sea turtles.90_BBA21CA3-F..232A2F97E52.jpg90_1D921ED5-8..A1D4D63A832.jpg9FB338B3-2..B75AD6F78B1.jpg
We also found a shave ice place. Catherine got blue vanilla and fruit punch, and Daniel got "mounds," which consisted of coconut flavoring, chocolate syrup, and macadamia nut ice cream. After we finished there, we decided to go to a wine tasting at a winery that Daniel had heard about. They use Maui Gold pineapples for some of their wine, and have tastings in a building that was used as a residence by King David Kalakaua, who wrote the book Daniel is reading. It was towards the other side of the island, along the southern slopes of Haleakala, so we had to drive a little ways.
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Holy Rosary Church in Paia. It is a very beautiful church. We just happened to drive past it, but we decided to stop in and take a look. It was completely open, and there were a couple other people visiting it as well.
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Outside of the church is a shrine to St. Damian of Molokai. There is a great deal of interest in, and devotion to, this saint in Hawaii for his selfless care of the people suffering from leprosy who were housed in a colony on the island of Molokai. As we continued our way, we came upon...
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...another church! This one is amazing. It is called Holy Ghost Church, and is built in a unique octagonal style. It was the parish for the Portuguese community, who traditionally have a great devotion to the Holy Ghost.
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Pictures of the inside of the church. There is a beautiful altar, and the Stations of the Cross were carved in Europe and have inscriptions in Portuguese. The information book inside the church suggested that the octagonal shape was either based on the design of the original crown of St. Elizabeth (or Isabella) of Portugal, or simply that it was architecturally strong in the high winds the area gets.
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The dome.
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The view from the church.
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As we drove into Upcountry Maui, we started encountering mist and this verdant landscape, complete with rock walls. If it weren't for the heat and the lava rocks used for the rock walls, we would have thought we were in Ireland!
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Some views of the beautiful winery. It was a perfect place to go: it was cooler than the lower areas of the island, and the wind was more like a pleasant breeze. There were several interesting trees and other plants, and the setting was so incredibly different from the rest of the island that we've seen.
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This land belonged in the 1800s to Captain Makee, from Boston. He was friends with King Kalakaua, who at one point was his guest. It was seen as inappropriate for the king to stay in a house with commoners, so a cottage was built for the king's use on their land. This is the house, and this circle of statues sits on the stumps of the trees that ringed Kalakaua's hula grounds, where dancers would perform while he and guests watched from the porch.
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The small museum at the tasting room. The pictures show the entire story of the lands, from the first purchase by the Captain, to the King's stay, to the use of Maui wine at President Reagan's inauguration, to the present day. It was a fascinating story. They had a complimentary tasting, and we purchased a bottle of the pineapple wine.
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We had a wonderful time! Afterwards, we went back to the hotel, then got ready to go to dinner and watch the sunset in Lahaina. We went to an Italian restaurant, which had delicious pizza and bruschetta. The pictures of the sunset seem unbelievable, but they look exactly like what we actually saw. After dinner, we walked around Lahaina a bit, then stopped at a grocery store to prepare for our drive to Hana tomorrow morning!
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Posted by danielcatherine 02:32 Archived in USA Tagged churches sunset airport museum dinner cottage wine lahaina portuguese hula food_trucks shave_ice kalakaua reagan lizard_count:12 Comments (1)

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