Columbia Gorge

We started pretty early today and drove all the way to Columbia Gorge to see a couple of amazing waterfalls. There was a lot of traffic and parking spots were pretty hard to find, but we were lucky every once in a while, especially next to the most beautiful waterfalls. The first waterfall we saw was the Multnomah Falls, where we hiked all the way to the bridge. I wanted to hike more, but daddy was already tired from carrying me all the way. Here are a few pictures:

After this exhausting hike, we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (generously provided by Roslyn) for lunch. Then we moved on to our next objective: Latourell Falls, where we stood so close to the waterfall that we got wet. On our way to Portland we stopped at the Vista House for a few pictures of the Columbia Gorge.

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There was no rush to get to the Coba archaeological site because it is larger and less famous than Tulum and Chichen Itza. We still woke up relatively early and left right after breakfast. We hired a guide who was much less informative than the one at Chichen Itza; or we may have had this perception because the site didn’t offer as much as Chichen Itza did. The site is divided into several sections; we started with the Coba group, where I slept through our guide’s explanations. My parents though learned about stelas: sort of bulletin boards carved in rock, seriously tempered by time, now protected by thatched roofs. They also learned about the elevated Mayan roads called sacbe; one of them was approximately 100 km long and almost reached Chichen Itza. We saw a few more structures and a ball court in the Coba section, then we took a pedibike toward Nohoch Mul group.

The only thing better than in Chichen Itza was that visitors can climb Nohoch Mul (the tallest pyramid on the Yucatan peninsula; 42 meters). Daddy climbed it while I was waiting with mommy, then mommy climbed it while I was waiting with daddy. Even though I appear in one of the pictures, it should be noted that I didn’t feel like climbing even a few steps at the bottom of the pyramid.

On our way back to the Coba section, we stopped in the Chumuc Mul section to see a few more structures, the most important of which can be seen in the pictures below.

Now just a few more pictures with today’s heroes:

This is part of our trip to Mexico: Welcome to Gran Bahia Principe Coba | The pools | At the beach | Tulum | Chichen Itza | Gran Bahia Principe in the dark | Coba | Kids’ club

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Chichen Itza

We wanted to get to Chichen Itza before most of the other tourists (and especially before the tour busses), so we woke up at 4:30 AM and started driving at around 5:00 AM. Waking up early is not such a big deal, especially if you can continue sleeping in your mommy’s arms. We made it right after the site opened for the public (8:00 AM), but we had to eat some breakfast before going in.

We hired a guide to learn as much as possible about the place. Did you know that

  • the Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo) is actually a calendar?
  • the sunset light and shadows give the illusion of a big feathered serpent descending from El Castillo during the spring and fall equinox?
  • if you clap your hands in front of El Castillo stairs, the echo resembles the call of the mayan sacred bird, the quetzal?
  • the mayans were playing a ball game? Apparently, the captain of the winning team got the honor of being sacrificed right after the game with the hope of being reborn in a higher social class.

Here are a few pictures of us in front of the most significant buildings:

Now a few more pictures of buildings with the view unobstructed by us:

And a few stone carvings:

This is part of our trip to Mexico: Welcome to Gran Bahia Principe Coba | The pools | At the beach | Tulum | Chichen Itza | Gran Bahia Principe in the dark | Coba | Kids’ club

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Even though daddy wanted to get to the ruins as early in the morning as possible (to avoid the crowds), we made it there only after 10:00 AM. After we got the tickets, daddy and mommy walked along the wall and pushed the stroller where I was sitting comfortably. The most imposing structure of the site is El Castillo, which may be the reason why we got so many pictures of it:

Walking among the other buildings with a stroller was not easy. In many cases (stairs, sandy paths) mommy had to hold me while daddy carried the stroller. But we managed to see the most important structures and even take pictures of them:

Now let’s move on to the fun part. Tulum ruins were built on a bluff ovelooking the Caribbean sea. The visitors can go down some stairs and spend time at the beach. Of course, we did that, too. While we were trying to build a sand castle resembling El Castillo (visible from the beach), the clouds quickly covered the skies and dumped some rain on us. We took cover under some rocks, and the clouds went away pretty much as fast as they came in (the whole episode was less than 30 minutes).

Here are a few more pictures of us throughout the site:

This is part of our trip to Mexico: Welcome to Gran Bahia Principe Coba | The pools | At the beach | Tulum | Chichen Itza | Gran Bahia Principe in the dark | Coba | Kids’ club

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My daddy wanted to show mommy his home town, so he called up Horia (one of his old friends), who gave us a tour of the city. We started by feeding pigeons and ended by feeding ducks. Those were the most important, the rest were all kind of buildings and statues that you can see in the following pictures.

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South Oregon Coast

The day started with a pathetic Azalea Lodge breakfast and an one-hour drive back to Bandon. The highlight was, of course, the Face Rock, which was initially somewhat difficult to spot in the ocean. Even if we had time for a walk on the beach, the cold weather and strong winds would have made it less than pleasant. This was the most spectacular area of the beach in Bandon, even though there are several others worth seeing along the Beach Loop Road. Another place that invites visitors to walk on the beach is Port Oxford. We only stopped at the Battle Rock then moved on.

There were so many other beautiful places along the South Coast, that I decided to declare it “the most scenic stretch along the Oregon Coast”. The Samuel H. Boardman State Park is especially interesting with named rocks like Arch Rock or Whale Rock. Unfortunately the fog caught up with us and we couldn’t see the others. On our way south, Brookings was also covered in a thick fog; we finally got rid of it only when the road took us inland. The road home took us through tall redwoods and the Smith River Canyon before hitting Highway 5.

Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This is part of our trip to the Oregon Coast: North Coast | Central Coast | South Coast

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North Kauai

The day started with what became the usual routine: early rise, breakfast buffet at Aloha Nui Cafe, shuttle to the airport, then car rental. We reached the first attraction on our list – Wailua Falls – at around 9 am. A local (who was guiding a small group of tourists) brought his own screwdrivers to climb on a traffic sign post and take good pictures with the waterfall in the background. He was really nice and took a picture of us, even though we were not part of his group. On the other side of Wailua River we stopped to see another waterfall – Opaeka`a Falls. Kuhio Hwy goes North along a never-ending beach – unfortunately parking is not readily available (or visible). We spent some time on the beach only once, when we noticed a semi-paved parking lot. With a single exception, the beach was deserted – probably due to the wind, the temperature, and the fury of the ocean.

The sun was shining on Kilauea Wildlife Refuge when we got there. We had to retreat (not for very long tough) in the gift shop in front of a pouring rain. Watching the ocean pounding into the rocky coast was very relaxing. However, it was very disappointing to see the dark clouds on the west side of the island. We laughed a little at the “historic site”: a lighthouse built in 1913, which was closed to tourists for protection. This is the first place where we saw the protected state bird of Hawaii: nene, the colorful goose. Relatively close to the Kilauea Lighthouse we hiked down to the Secret Beach. The trail was incredibly muddy and slippery. The good thing was that we made it down without falling; the bad thing was that the mosquitoes had a fiesta with Lida’s blood. A waterfall was supposed to enchant us once we reached the beach, but we couldn’t find it.

The rain was waiting for us as we moved West. It rained while we were heading to Hanalei Valley. It rained while we were looking down to Hanalei Valley. It rained on the way to Haena State Park. It rained while we were on the Kee Beach. It rained when we were looking at a small wet cave. It rained while we were inside of a dry cave. In these conditions, hiking part of the Na Pali trail was completely out of the question. Tired of rain, we decided it was time to move to the South of the island. It took us less than two hours to reach the Spouting Horn, which was acting up, fueled by strong waves. While it was nice to see the water thrown up in the air, the turtles were not very eager to show up at the surface. We caught the sunset on the Poipu Beach; not very scenic because some clouds at the horizon decided to perturb the uniform light diffraction.

Due to lack of something better to do, we got back on the ship much earlier than we wanted to (around 7 pm). Quite a few fellow tourists went to a Lu’au (Hawaiian show) and the ship was emptier than usual. After dinner (we eat at Paniolo Tapas and Salsa – a Mexican restaurant), we skipped the night show (Not-So-Newlywed Game) to get a good night sleep.

Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

This is part of our trip to Hawaii: Around Honolulu | Driving around Oahu | Pearl Harbor | Volcanoes National Park | Road to Hana | Haleakala and Makena | North Kohala | North Kauai | Waimea Canyon

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