Surfing Turtles

If someone offers you to stay with him on Hawai’i, you go. No questions asked. In March, we were lucky enough to get that offer. Three days later, our flights to Kahului Airport were booked. 10 days on Maui, a dream came true! We got a shitty old car from Kimos at Kahului Airport and thus began our hawaiian adventure.

Boat Trip
Boat Trip

Because we couldn´t spend the first night at our friends´, we had booked a hostel in Paia. Even though it was super clean, the staff was friendly and the pancakes were free, we started to realize how lucky we were to have free accomodation for the rest of our stay. The private room at the hostel cost 120$ a night, so that might be an issue if you´re travelling on a budget. We got some rest and tried to get used to the temperatures, which was hard after our Canadian winter. Our first day started with a delicious breakfast at Cafe Mambo in the Heart of Paia, a nice small hippie-town. After checking into our friends´ O´hana, where we put our bags down (yes, we brought skis to Hawai’i), we headed straight back out to the beaches, parked the car and spread our blanket. Although we had heard about the hawaiian turtles, we didn´t expect to see one within ten minutes of our first visit to a beach. There it was, enjoying the warmth of the sun. The local kids that were playing in the waves weren´t too impressed, and we started to realize that we might see quite a few of those massive green things.

Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle

First things first, we had to take some of the most popular things off the bucket list – We went to check out the surfers from the famous Ho’okipa Beach Lookout, where even the 10 year olds are killing the waves, and then took our shitty old Ford for a drive to Hana, that “secret” little spot on the east side of the island. We did our research before and thus wanted to relax at Red Sand Beach, jump some cliffs at Waioka Pond and then treat ourselves to some Huli Huli Chicken at Hoki Beach Park on the way back. What a day that was! There is plenty to see on the way to and from Hana, so make sure you have at least a full day for that gorgeous drive!

Red sand beach
Red sand beach
Koki Beach Park
Koki Beach Park

Yes, Maui is a very popular tourist destination. Yes, there are a couple of places (e.g. The road to Hana) where you just can´t avoid them. But the good thing about the tourists is that they mostly stay in their resorts – so even on the busier west side of Maui, you can go to Black Rock Beach and still find a nice spot to lay down and enjoy the sun. Speaking of the west side of the island: Go surf or sup the Thousand Peaks or just watch the people who know how to surf. Don´t step on the reef in those shallow waters!

Also, enjoy a snorkelling trip. You can do that on your own (Snorkelbob´s can hook you up with rental gear) or just book a trip with these guys. Even though it isn´t the cheapest thing one could do, the trip was super entertaining, just being out on a boat for a day with a fun crew was super nice. If you´re looking for a more private adventure, go for the “Leilani Best Day on Maui” trip. Definitely money well spent!

Underwater Turtle
Underwater Turtle

Further south on the west side of the island (south of Makena Beach) you´ll find lavafields that are worth paying a visit. The snorkeling there can be quite good as well, just be aware of a closure of some areas there.

If you´re looking for breathtaking hikes on the island, you should pack your bags and go hike the Waihee Ridge Trail. Start early, the clouds usually roll in in the afternoon! Another great option is the Sliding Sands Trail in the Haleakala National Park. The landscape there is so different from everything else on the island, so make sure you go for a stroll there! It can get quite chilly and windy though, so pack a sweater!

On the culinary side of things, here´s a list of what you HAVE to try:

  1. Huli Huli Chicken: as described above!
  2. Thai Mee up: convenient location near the airport, get some before the flight. They might take it from you at airport security though, because it smells so delicious!
  3. Da Kitchen offers great value for a relatively cheap price. Also close to the airport. Nice homestyle food, award-winning Fried-Spam-Musubi (must try!)
  4. Geste Shrimp is what we had been waiting for the whole trip. Somehow, whenever we wanted to go, the place was closed for some holiday or it was already too late. But on the second-last day, we got to try it and although the expectations couldn´t have been higher at that point, the food did not disappoint!
  5. Nuka in Haiku offers very fancy Sushi. The place isn´t cheap, and if you´re on a tight budget, there are better options. But if you are willing to spend a little more you will get tasty, fresh, healthy food. Mouthwatering!
  6. Grandma´s Coffee offers a ridiculously big and tasty breakfast! Try the French Toast or the Upcountry Omelette, and then cancel your plans for lunch, you won´t need it.
  7. The Paia Fish Market is not really a fish market but rather a great casual restaurant for lunch or dinner! Get a great burger with a choice of local fish or a fish taco!

    Grandma´s Coffee House 2
    French Toast at Grandma´s Coffee

Enjoy the gallery!

 

Living in VANcouver

I´ve always loved travelling in a Van. For me, at least at this point of my life it is the most amazing way of exploring a country. It is simple, yet so adventurous, and it gives you all the flexibility you need to make the most of your time and money (that is, if the car doesn´t break down) when travelling. It makes you NOT waste time on blog posts or checking Facebook. That´s why this post is a month late. At the beginning of September, I used my Van as a real home. Staying in one place for two weeks in a row and living in the Van without travelling in it was a new experience for me. I was really worried, because I was going to stay in the “big” city of Vancouver, and sleeping in a car in a city is usually not easy. But, as the name suggests, VANcouver has made it easy for me.

Working in landscaping for two weeks, I had to drive to different places everyday. But I never had to worry about forgetting a sweater, my rain coat or my lunch, because my home was always with me. After work, I usually headed to Jericho Beach, where I could take a (cold) shower, cook a nice meal, meet nice people and then park my car in one of the side streets there. Even though there were signs saying “No Overnight Parking”, no police or bylaw ever told me of, which was probably because the Van really doesn´t look like someone is sleeping in there.

I lived where usually only really wealthy people could afford houses – especially considering the housing crisis in Vancouver. And it seemed like I wasn´t the only one. Even though it´s really not always easy to live in our car, it was really rewarding! When I got up early enough, I got to see the most amazing sunrise over the Vancouver skyline. And when I wasn´t too tired, I could watch the sunset on Kitsilano beach, having a beer and some nice food, cooked on the gas stove.

See the pictures below to get an impression of how nice VANcouver can be. Hopefully, the next blogpost will follow soon. If not, be sure that I´m having an adventurous time!

 

Newfoundland Adventures

Thanks for having me, Newfoundland! Two weeks in Canada´s most easterly province are over. A lot of money was spent on drinks, travelling and more drinks. Worth it!

On this beautiful but remote island, where most of the tourists are from “the mainland” of Canada you can get the real deal. Oportunities are endless. The weather is constantly changing. And the people are just incredibly friendly.

Before heading out to Gros Morne Mountain, which is an eight hour drive from St. John´s, I spent two days in the city to tick off the major tourist attractions from my bucket list. I went up to Signal Hill, went out on George Street on Friday night and drove through the small harbour of Quidi Vidi. It wasn´t until the end of the trip that I actually saw that place in detail though.

Whereas Downtown St. John´s is really nice to go out and have drinks in bars on George Street like the Christian´s, have some legendardy Fish & Chips at The Duke of Duckworth or a Wrap with Pasta or Rice (sounds weird? Tastes delicious!) at Mustang Sally´s, the true treasure of Newfoundland is its unbelievable nature.

So if you ever make your way to Newfoundland, make sure to go to the amazing Gros Morne National Park!

Pack a lightweight tent and go loop the Green Gardens! Or make the effort to go climb the Tablelands and enjoy an amazing view to Norris Point!

Another amazing hike was the Gros Morne Mountain. Parks Canada informs you on their website that it´s not a good idea to climb it without the necessary equipment. And they are right. Don´t even think about doing this hike in your running shoes, without raingear or enough water supply.

Those hikes make you hungry, so you want to check out the cafés and restaurants in Rocky Harbour. For those who would like to get some real Canadian cuisine, go to Earle´s for a moose burger or to Java Jack´s for some nice seafood chowder.

Again, oportunities are endless, and time is always too short. That being said, I will return to the island to check out the amazing trails they have on a Mountainbike. Enjoy the pictures!

 

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