Hawaii 4: Oahu, the Gathering Place

Before we left North Carolina for Hawaii, we were wondering whether we should postpone our trip because of COVID-19; fortunately, we opted not to. Indeed, thus far, life in Hawaii seemed to be perfectly normal, with many people in restaurants and shops, and hardly anyone wearing a face mask. On our last full day in Honolulu, we did notice a change: fewer people gathering in large groups, occasional face masks, and perhaps a general sense of unease. None of this took away from the pleasure of exploring this fantastic place! This is the fourth and final page documenting our Hawaiian vacation; from here, you can also access page 1, page 2, and page 3.

Click on any image to see a larger (2400 x 1600 pixel) version!

Wilhelmina Rise

We began the day by enjoying a wonderful breakfast at Coffee Talk in Kaimuki, then Eric drove us up to the top of Wilhelmina Rise from where one has a beautiful view of Diamond Head. From Waikiki beach, Diamond Head looks triangular, a bit like a shark tooth, but from our current vantage point, it's' obvious that it is a volcano as the crater is clearly visible.


View of Diamond Head from Wilhelmina Rise

View of Diamond Head from Wilhelmina Rise


It's a long and steep way up—we drove! Tree on top of Wilhelmina Rise The view onto Honolulu

It's a long and steep way up—we drove!

Tree on top of Wilhelmina Rise

The view onto Honolulu


Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse Trail

Next, we picked up Rudi and Akasha, the dachshunds of Eric's friends Travis and Beth whom we had met in Seattle not quite a year earlier. The idea was to take the pups with us on the Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse Trail. The trail is gorgeous with spectacular views, but while it is not that long a walk, it is rather steep in parts, and it was hot! Fortunately, we had brought water for us and the dogs. It took just over an hour to reach the top, stopping a couple of times to let the dachshunds drink. Those short paws had to work overtime! The view from above was predictably fantastic, and the way down, assisted by gravity, a bit easier.


On the way up to Makapuʻu Point one has a great view of Koko Head and Koko Crater

On the way up to Makapuʻu Point one has a great view of Koko Head and Koko Crater


The view from the top It's a long way down

The view from the top

It's a long way down


Akasha is usually smiling Rudi will do tricks... for food! The Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse

Akasha is usually smiling

Rudi will do tricks... for food!

The Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse


A closer look at the lighthouse Kāohikaipu Island State Seabird Sanctuary and Mānana Island

A closer look at the lighthouse

Kāohikaipu Island State Seabird Sanctuary and Mānana Island


Amazing scenery from the top... ...down to the surf of the Pacific. On the way down (note the paraglider!)

Amazing scenery from the top...

...down to the surf of the Pacific.

On the way down (note the paraglider!)


The gorgeous seashore on the way to Kailua... ..where we enjoyed Shave Ice at Island Snow.

The gorgeous seashore on the way to Kailua...

...where we enjoyed a serving of Shave Ice.

Eric then drove us along the coast to Kailua where we each indulged in a huge serving of Shave Ice at Island Snow, apparently former president Obama's favorite. We retured Rudi and Akasha to their owners and rested for a while at our hotel. Before heading out to dinner, I took this picture from our room. Not too bad! After dinner and the obligatory coffee (did I mention they have great coffee shops in Hawaii?), we made it an early night.


Waikiki

On our last full day in Hawaii before flying back to North Carolina, we explored Waikiki and its beach on our own. The beach is amazing, especially considering that it is right in town. The whole area is very touristy with one fancy hotel resort next to another. Everything is perfectly well maintained, as one would expect. As we walked back to our hotel where Eric was supposed to pick us up, we came across this warning, and we were glad not to be driving!


Tourists on Waikiki Beach

Tourists on Waikiki Beach


On Kalākaua Avenu Palm trees Stately tree near the Waikiki Sheraton

On Kalākaua Avenue

Palm trees

Stately tree near the Waikiki Sheraton


In the Royal Hawaiian Center On Waikiki Beach

In the Royal Hawaiian Center

On Waikiki Beach


On Waikiki Beach On the beach, looking towards Diamond Head

On Waikiki Beach

On the beach, looking towards Diamond Head


Duke Kahanamoku Statue The local pastime On Waikiki Beach

Duke Kahanamoku Statue

The local pastime

On Waikiki Beach


On Waikiki Beach On Waikiki Beach

On Waikiki Beach

On Waikiki Beach


Downtown

Eric parked at the Punchbowl Queen's Medical Center where he works and we walked the rest of the way. We looked at the Hawaii State Capitol, the amazing Banyan Tree Terrace, the beautiful Iolani Palace, and the Hawaii State Supreme Court with the statue of Kamehameha I. We then walked to the Little Village Noodle House on Smith Street for the best Northern Chinese food in Hawaii—their Honey Walnut Shrimp must be tasted to be believed! After lunch, we wandered arounds Chinatown for a while before taking a cab back to Eric's car.


At the corner of North Hotel Street and Smith Street in Chinatown

At the corner of North Hotel Street and Smith Street in Chinatown


Next to the Hawaii State Capitol Inside the Hawaii State Capito

Next to the Hawaii State Capitol

Inside the Hawaii State Capito


Banyan Tree Terrace next to the Iolani Palace The Iolani Palace

Banyan Tree Terrace next to the Iolani Palace

The Iolani Palace


A closer look at the former home of Hawaii's last monarchs The Hawaiian Supreme Court

A closer look at the former home of Hawaii's last monarchs

The Hawaiian Supreme Court


King Kamehameha Statue In the Supreme Court garden Biki Station on Fort Street

King Kamehameha Statue

In the Supreme Court garden

Biki Station on Fort Street


Corner of Maunakea and North Hotel Streets The view across the street In Chinatown

Corner of Maunakea and North Hotel Streets

The view across the street

In Chinatown


National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Our last sightseeing stop on this day was the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific that is located inside Punchbowl Crater. Roughly 53,000 veterams from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War are interred there. Graves are marked by flat, granite slabs; there are no headstones which makes this cemetery look more like a park. The only stones that are upright are memorial markers, such as the one containing the text of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.


Over 53,000 veterans are buried in this cemetery at Punchbowl Crater

Over 53,000 veterans are buried in this cemetery at Punchbowl Crater


Looking from the crater to the mountains Flat granite markers identify the graves

Looking from the crater to the mountains

Flat granite markers identify the graves


There are no upright gravestones here One of many memorial markers The Gettysburg Address

There are no upright gravestones here

One of many memorial markers

The Gettysburg Address


View over Honolulu from Punchbowl Crater On the rim of the crater

View over Honolulu from Punchbowl Crater

On the rim of the crater


The Speakeasy

For our last evening in Hawaii, there was something spacial on the agenda: dinner and beverages at a speakeasy! Now obviously, it is legal to consume alcohol in Hawaii, but this venue was a great imitation of the secret and illegal bars that served alcohol during the prohibition. We first entered a restaurant, walked to the back and through a dimly lit corridor where a woman sat on a chair. We had an appointment, and when we said so, we had to give our password. We were asked to wait a minute; we were then led into what looked like a maintenance closet into another room where we emerged through a bookshelf! All very hush-hush and loads of fun. We ordered food and drinks and had a great time. The whole thing seemed deliciously illicit, and the décor was very well done.


The Speakeasy in the back of 'Pint and Jigger' (the bookshelf in the far wall is the door)

The Speakeasy in the back of Pint and Jigger (The bookshelf in the far wall is the door)

This concludes the trip report on our 2020 Hawaiian vacation. The next day, we took off for the continental United States with a few hundred photos and heaps of wonderful memories. I initially thought of doing two pages, but going through the images just brought everything back, and I didn't want to skip too much. It turned out to be four pages with 196 photos displayed on the pages themselves and links to 7 more within the text. Whether you have been to Hawaii before or not, we hope you enjoyed exploring this wonderful place with us. Kudos and special thanks to Eric for being such a wonderful tour guide. We wouldn't have seen nearly as much without him—nor would it have been as much fun! This is the fourth and final page documenting our Hawaiian vacation; from here, you can also access page 1, page 2, and page 3.

The photos on this page were taken on Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15, 2020.

The 203 photographs of all four Hawaii 2020 pages may also bee viewed in a Gallery or a Slide Show.




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