Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Day One - Settling in on Maui

Today was the day we hit the grocery store and rented our snorkel gear for the week.

First we stopped at Snorkel Bob's in Lahaina, which was recommended by fellow travelers as well as noted in my Fodor's Hawaii book. They were super helpful at explaining the differences among masks and getting us sized for what we needed. We each got our own bag of gear for the week and were on our way.

Next, We shopped at Safeway for groceries in Lahaina as it was close to where we were staying in Ka'anapali. They had a good selection of organic items as well as other miscellaneous items we needed for the week. We got stuff to grill as there are quite a few barbeque grills at our resort.

We headed back to the resort to unload our gear and swam a bit more in the pools and the beach. We grilled hot dogs for dinner, everything tastes better grilled beachside! We also caught one of the many amazing sunsets we'd see on our trip from the lawn of our resort, which is just steps from the beach.

Sunset at our resort

Another day done!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hawaii - Travel Day

As usual our travel days are long! I booked another set of tickets via flight miles and chose the best possible option for those tickets. That option included driving to Chicago's O'Hare airport, catching a 5 am flight from Chicago to Phoenix, and after a short layover continuing on to Maui. The drive was fine, getting up at 2:30 a.m. for the flight the next morning was hard! I ended up with a migraine after the early rising and long travel day so I won't be scheduling that early of a flight again!

Our flight from ORD to PHX was around 3 hours and then we had about an hour and a half layover in Phoenix. We accessed the American lounge, which was nice for us to spread out in comfy chairs, have plenty of room to charge our devices, and have some good options for breakfast. Soon, we boarded our flight to Maui. We lucked out as no one booked the window seat next to Mike and Skylar so we were able to spread out some. I noted what a peppy bunch the passengers were when traveling to Hawaii! Everyone seemed happy and excited, as were we! The flight took about six hours and soon we saw a little bit of land in the distance, how exciting, we were approaching Hawaii!

I spy Hawaii!

Once we landed, we collected our luggage and headed to the car rental. I read that renting a Jeep in Hawaii is fun, especially if planning to drive the Road to Hana, which we were. We lucked out in that we got the last white jeep with removable tops, which we took down for our drive to the hotel.

We arrived at the Marriott Ocean Club, on Ka'anapali Beach, and were so impressed! There were several pools, the main pools all flow into one another with slides and waterfalls, volleyball net, and hot tubs. The best part is you overlook the beautiful beach with a clear view of Lanai in the distance. The walking path is so pretty as well, it takes you to other resorts along the beach.

Our room was a nice surprise as well. It was quite large and great for our family to spread out in. We had a king size bed in the bedroom, lots of space, and a full bathroom. The kids slept in a pull out sofa in the living room and we also had a rollaway. There was a full bathroom there as well and a kitchentte. It makes breakfast, lunch, and snacks so easy having that in the room.

Our one bedroom/two bathroom suite at Marriott Maui Ocean Club

I unpacked while Mike took the kids to explore a bit. Later that day we swam in the pools. We were excited to be in Hawaii!

Yay, Hawaii!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Roman Forum

From the Colosseum we then headed to the Roman Forum, which was very close by. I do wish we had booked a guide for this. The ruins were incredible but it would have been even more meaningful if we had a guide to explain it all a little deeper. We did our best to make our way through on our own self-guided tour, wandering about in amazement.

We were especially intrigued by the area where Julius Caesar's body was burned. A hump of dirt remains and coins and flowers are still brought daily in honor of the slain emperor.

Temple of Caesar in the Roman Forum

Sights within the Roman Forum

We spent a few hours here and then started slowly making our way back home. On the way, I knew we needed to stop at Trevi Fountain and be total tourists and throw coins in to ensure a future trip to Rome!
The Trevi Fountain where the kids tossed coins in to ensure a future trip to Rome!

Rome was absolutely incredible - from it's people to it's architecture to it's history to it's food - the ambiance was always perfect which made it one of those destinations that touched us deeply. Staying in the Trastavere neighborhood was perfect - it was a good, central location to the sites we visited as well as providing that quintessential Italian ambiance one hopes to experience when visiting Italy. On our very last night, Skylar, Mike, and I roamed around looking for last minute souvenirs. We loved the small piazzas and fountains we passed with people sitting in these sort of "outdoor living rooms", living the dream of people watching from their perch as the sun set on this amazing ancient city.