Codex Manenssishen we moved to Seattle last September two things made it almost right away to the top of our to-do-while-in-the-northwest list: visit Alaska and go to Hawaii. We are still waiting for a milder season to have the first wish granted, but we can totally check off the second one: we just came back from a wonderful seven day trip on the Big Island.

Before flying over there the word Hawaii was  a synonym of paradisiacal beaches and expensive vacation for newlyweds, nearly deads and over feds. Something like Miami but island-wide and right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Boy, was I wrong! I mean, it IS expensive, but the Big Island offers a lot more than the typical tropical beach vision might bring to your mind.

Here you have a few examples on what I mean.

  1. From the thirteen main ecosystems there are around the globe Hawaii has eleven of them. You Christophoro Buondelmonti, Liber insularum archipelagi, XV Centurycan go from the deepest rain forest to the driest lava desert or to the wildest seashore in less than a twenty minute drive.
  2. The landscape in the northeast part of the island is specially breathtaking. Here the mountains meet the ocean in spectacular cliffs and valleys. We went hiking in the sacred valley of Waipo and I took this short video of that secluded place. The valley is just amazing, and it is no wonder to me that was the most sacred part of the island for the old Hawaiians, because the grandiosity, the mysticism and the spirituality I felt over there was very similar to the feeling I had in other sacred places like Machu-Picchu in Peru, or Delphi in Greece. 
  3. The highlight of the Big Island is the Volcanoes National Park. Up in the Kilauea crater is where Pele, the old Hawaiian goddess of the volcanoes and the lava, peacefully lives and rests. But when she gets angry and upset about something, then she releases her fury and the other Gods feel her power. The entire island is her creation… and her playground: rivers of lava running wild into the ocean, destroyed roads, entire forest being reduced to a few burning toothpicks, lava tubes that go for miles under the surface of the island, sandy beaches turned into lava cliffs, huge lava lakes that fill entire valleys, funny lava shapes everywhere…. And we better not mess around with her because she is being kind of agitated lately: a few weeks ago there were two minor explosions up in the crater, and the sulfur emissions have increased a lot in the past weeks. Actually the white sulfur cloud was quite noticeable when we were there, and half of the park was closed because the percentage of sulfur dioxide Unknown Codex, approx. XVI centuryin the air around certain areas was dangerous. Plus, two minor lava flows have been running for a few months into the ocean, which offers a fantastic and relatively safe opportunity to see real lava. Here you have a shot we took from the viewing area. Absolutely unforgettable.
  4. Waterfalls are very big in Hawaii. So are the trees. :-)
  5. There are not a lot of sandy beaches in Hawaii (mostly thanks to Pele), and the ones that have survived to her fury tend to be black and crowded by people and resting turtles. Dolphins are often visitors of those beaches too. The sea is always kind of rough in the eastern part of the island, but it turns the ocean into the perfect shot for pictures. Swimmers and snorkelers are welcome in the west, though, since the sea is more calm and the wind no so strong. It was really neat to go snorkeling with turtles all around us…
  6. The two most important cities of the Big Island are Hilo (a very laid-back, relaxing, almost hippie city) and Kona (much more touristy and vivid). Around Kona there are many coffee plantations that produce to famous Kona Coffee, one of the best and most expensive coffees in the world. Apparently that is thanks to Pele too, since the volcanic ashes and the lava soil are the key ingredients for the plant to produce that variety of coffee bean. We visited one of the plantations where we could see the trees and the coffee beans, as well as experience the entire coffee production process. It is complicated, let me tell you. And the coffee does taste GOOOOOOD.

And, of course, in addition to all that, you can also find the right spot for a tropical vision. Hawaii really has everything it takes to turn seven vacation days into an unforgettable week.


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