Gold rush

We left the mild and the snowless Skånish winter and took the convenient SAS direct flight from Copenhgen to San Francisico. After a few hours drive we passed Sacramento, the California state capitol, and arrived to Auburn. It was here the gold rush begun in 1849 and it is easy to find tracks after this intense period of development and decay.

The first day was a beautiful spring day with a wonderful tour in the exciting mountain landscape.

Then the weather changed and it became cold and windy with dense snowfall. Not what we expected in California. The snow created chaos in the Sierra Nevada mountains following weeks. A strong memory from our previous visit come to our minds, when we went to Lake Tahoe and passed the Donner Memorial commemorating the harsh and dangerous conditions when passing the Sierras. A group of settlers, ”the Donner Party”, got stuck and spent the winter here in 1846. Many of them died. We should not be surprised of the snow in California…

After some adaption to the new time zone, we flew from Sacramento to Hawaii our real goal for the journey, with 11 hours time difference to our home in Sweden.

Hawaii is a fantastic place known for its beautiful nature and unique culture. The combination of beaches, mountains, volcanos, rain forests, water falls and tropical climate makes it a popular place for relaxing and adventures.

Hawaii is the only state in the United States made up entirely of islands. Eight main islands: Hawaii (Big Island), Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe. It is located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 2,400 miles southwest of California. Hawaii is the 50th and latest state to join the United States in 1959. The state capital is Honolulu, located on the island of Oahu.

The culture is unique and diverse, combining influences from Polynesia, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Here is a strong music and dans tradition, with the traditional hula dans and the melodious slack key music style.

The traditional Hawaiian diet consists of staples such as taro, sweet potatoes, fish, and coconut. Today, the local cuisine in Hawaii is a mixture of different cultures, with dishes like poke (raw fish), kalua pork (cocked in an earth oven) and delicious fish diches. A great variation of international kitchens is also offered.

Maten på Hawaii är känd för sin mix av olika kulturer. Den traditionella hawaiianska maten inkluderar taro, sötpotatis, poké (rå fisk), kalua fläsk (griskött tillagat i en jordugn) och underbara fiskrätter. Det finns också en stor variation av internationella kök, inklusive japansk, koreansk, kinesisk och polynesisk mat.

Tourism plays a significant role in Hawaii’s economy.  

We are flying directly to Maui, the second largest Island in the state of Hawaii. It is often referred to as the “Valley Isle” due to its large central valley between two volcanic mountain ranges. We are staying at Kaanapali Beach, a vacation paradise with beautiful beaches and crystal-clear water on the northwest part of the island. This is the dry desert like side of the island, while the east side is lush, tropical and green because of all rain. The island is known for its agricultural industry, particularly the production of pineapple and sugarcane, although these industries have declined in recent years.

After our return to Sweden, Maui suffered from disastrous fires that have destroyed taken many lives, vast areas and huge values. The historical town Lahania with its picturesque streets, boutiques and galleries is more or less gone.

We especially remember “Peter Lik Gallery” that only exhibited Peter Lik’s fantastic photographs. His way of capturing the motives and his extraordinary technique impressed a lot on us.

Visit Peter Liks web site.

Every year during winter, humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the waters surrounding Maui. We can see many whales from our balcony, but to come really close, “whale watching” boat tours are offered along the coast.

The Hawaiian islands are volcanic islands and large areas consist of sharp and rough black lava stones that are difficult to pass. Maui is home to one of the largest dormant volcanoes in the world, Haleakala, which stands at over 10,000 feet above sea level and offers stunning views of the island and into the crater from its summit. Watching the sunrise from the top is a must, but requires that reservations are made long time in advance. Unfortunately, we are not able to get any last-minute tickets; so we can only make a regular day tour visit. Rain and thick fog is hiding the view. An example of the very rapid changing weather conditions on the island.

Eastern part of Maui is the green and lush part due to all moisty winds from northeast. The narrow and winding road to Hana in southwest is well known for its beauty with rain forests and numerous waterfalls. We experience a lot of rain when we are driving to Hana, but it makes our visit even more memorable although photography is limited to quick shots between the rain drops. Unfortunately, hiking is not recommended due to the muddy and slippery conditions. On the other hand, rivers are filled with water providing spectacular water falls. Just outside Hanan, is Charles Lindberg’s grave; the aviator who first crossed the Atlantic and had connections to Sweden…

The Big Island is the next island on our trip. It is also known as the Island of Hawaii and is the largest and youngest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, larger than all the other islands combined. The Big Island is characterized by its diverse landscapes and climates. It features stunning white, black, and green sand beaches, lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, active volcanoes, and vast lava fields. Two of the world’s most active volcanoes have shaped the island’s unique geology.

On the west side of the island is the Kona Coast, famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters. It is also known for its coffee plantations.

The east side, known as Hilo, is a lush and tropical region with an abundance of rainforests, botanical gardens, and stunning waterfalls. Hilo is known for its vibrant local culture, historic sites and sacred sites.

In the centre of the island lies Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano and the highest point in Hawaii. Mauna Kea is home to world-class observatories and offers breathtaking stargazing opportunities.

Kauai is our last island to visit. The oldest, most northern and fourth in size of the Hawaiian islands. It is often called “Garden Island” because of its natural beauty. The island offer picturesque landscapes, beautiful sandy beaches, lush rainforests and dramatic rock formations. Mount Waialeale is the rainiest place on earth, with an average rainfall of more than 11 m.

Waimea Canyon on Kauai is often called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”; is impressive with its deep red and green valleys surrounded by red and green cliffs that offers spectacular views. Na Pali Coast in northwest is breathtaking with cliffs, waterfalls and rich green landscape. The coast is only accessible by boat and helicopter. The spectacular landscape has been the scene for several movies and TV-productions, like “Jurassic Park” and “King Kong”.

We take the nightlight from Kauai direct to San Francisco. The SAS-flight to Copenhagen leavs late evening next day so we have two days in San Francisco. We have time to revive old memories and to adjust to the new time zone.

We are staying centrally close to Union Square on walking distance from many of the most known landmarks. The first day comes with the most beautiful spring weather for our long walk with big elevation differences via Lombard Street, the steepest street in the world to Pier 39, with view towards Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf. Many sealions are resting in the sun in the harbour.

Next day are we waking up to pouring rain. We manage to go to a nearby shopping centre during a short break in the raining, but we get wet on our way back to the hotel. After checkout, we take an early train to the airport.

Left is only our long flight home. Everything have been very smooth. Almost no waiting times and no delays. We have had a marvellous month with our friends with unforgettable experiences and memories. And may good photographs…

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