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Posts from October 2014

Malta, Gozo, the Azure Window, and a Fish Pedicure

 Malta1Above is the Azure Window in Gozo - MUCH bigger than I imagined it would be!

Let me start this post by saying that in the future I am going to make an effort to write shorter and more frequent posts.  This is another post that I am writing from memory of my trip to Malta last summer.  I spent seven days on this beautiful Mediterranean island.  I visited a small nearby island named Gozo.   I also got a fish pedicure for the first time. I really enjoyed my time there.              

One of the things that inspired me to visit Malta was the architecture.  It has a very old European look to it.  The beaches are rocky, but beautiful and known for great snorkeling.  The island is known to  be very safe and the people are very friendly.  It is not a terribly expensive place to visit in comparison to some of the places I have visited in Europe, but I had just spent a week in Paris before my visit to Malta so that might have affected my perception!               

The nightlife in Malta looked to be very good!  It definitely is a place I would've enjoyed visiting when I was younger.  On my last day there I had to get up at 5 AM.  I walked across the street to get a cup of coffee and people were still out dancing and partying at the bars and restaurants.

Below is a photo of St. Julian's Bay on Malta:

Malta1Popay Village was stunning and I would love to see it again!

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Malta5The roof top pool at the Intercontinental hotel where I stayed:
Malta5The following are photos of Valetta which I found especially beautiful!

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Malta5Malta is part of anarchipelago that consists of three islands which are Malta, Gozo, and Comino.  The three islands have a total population of over 400,000 people. Malta is the largest island. 
Gozo is the second largest island and is more rural and is known for and subsists on fishing, tourism, crafts and agriculture.

Here are some typical beach scenes on Malta:

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 My first "fish pedicure".  It doesn't hurt.  It just tickles and is not harmful to the fish.  You must wash your feet first. Maltafish1
Maltafish1The following are photos of my trip to Gozo.  It's only about an hoMaltafish1ur long ferry ride to get there:
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Malta012Here I am with a girl named Nicole from Switzerland.  She was traveling alone as well.  We seemed to have a lot in common being really independent people.
Malta012Maltafish1Thank you so much for stopping by!  Have you ever visited Malta?  Please leave me any comments or questions.  Take care my friends!

~Michelle


Maui's Rugged North Shore and My Wonderful Experience Traveling the Hana Highway

 *Another post from memory only using a point and shoot camera.  I truly loved northern Maui so I wanted to write about it.  I would love to go back and fly into Hana.  The photo of me below is at a fruit stand in the "photo booth" on my way to Hana via the famous or some may say infamous Hana Highway.

Maui6666_tonemappedI have been to Maui two times.  One time was for a whole month or close to it.  I was there for yoga training so I didn't have much time to see much on the island except the southern section in the Kihei area.  I have many friends who have visited Maui several times, and some that go every year. I am surprised at how many people only visit the south shore and never go to the state park.

I do understand why some people don't want to drive on the Hana Highway.  Although it is one of the most breathtaking rides I have ever been on, I can see the car rental companies don't want people driving on it.  There are many hairpin turns and you need to drive really slowly.  There are places where two cars can't fit through at once.   It is not a journey for the faint of heart or those who get carsick easily at all.  I highly recommend driving it ONLY in good weather and preferably during the daylight. 

If you do decide to drive the Hana Highway, I recommend allowing yourself plenty of time to see the beautiful sites safely.  I do have a friend who had to have a helicopter come pick her up because the road made her so sick.  I think that's rare, but if very curvy and hilly roads make you sick you might want to consider not driving all or most of the Hana Highway.

I would like to go back to Hana and fly into that airport so I can spend several days exploring that area.  I find the northern area of Maui very natural and untouched.  The flowers and trees grow so much bigger in this area.  I also enjoy the beaches which have larger waves.  There are less tourists and if you like nature than the northern part of Maui might be for you.  I do understand why some people want to go to the big-name hotels and lay on the beach.  Until I move to Florida, that's what I wanted to do when I needed a break from work.  It can also be less expensive to visit the northern shore of Maui.

My friend and I did the drive to Hana in about 4 hours.  It can be done in less, but I personally think you need at least 4 hours or longer.  I wish we'd had a little more time to experience Hana, but we need to get back to our cabin before dark.

Maui6666_tonemappedPracticing Yoga at one of the many scenic spots along Hana Highway:
Maui6666_tonemappedA storm approaching Paia Beach:
Maui6666_tonemappedMaui4A rugged rocky beach area on Maui:
Maui6666_tonemappedThe "photo booth" at the fruit stand:
Maui6666_tonemappedMy friend and I having fun at the fruit stands "photo booth" in Hana:

Maui6You will see many beautiful waterfalls long the highway.  I wanted to stop and take photos of many, but that is not always possible on this road.  The road is very narrow in some spots and there isn't always a place to pull over for these scenic views:

Maui4Here is a photo showing how curvy the "Hana Highway" is:

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The following photos are of Haleakalā National Park.  This is not a hard area to get to and does not take long to get there in a car.  It is about 10,000 feet above sea level so it's quite chilly.  I did not bring anything warm to wear as we and just been at the beach so I just threw everything on that I had in the car - which might be obvious :)
Maui4I felt like I'd landed on Mars!

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Maui4Here are some photos taken from the restaurant we stopped at coming back from the park.  The views were stunning.  I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but there are so many good one on your way to Haleakalā National Park.:

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MauiiWe balanced our stay out with  few days at the Ritz Carlton on the west coast of Maui with a cute cottage in Haiku.  One of the benefits of staying in the northern section of Maui is the price of lodging.  Our cottage had wifi, a kitchen and was very comfortable.  We only paid about $80/night.  Many of the hotels in Southern Maui can be about ten times that amount.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
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Maui6-2Here is a photo of a view from our cottage window in northern Maui:

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Mauiiii4444Here is a photo of yous truly at Paia Beach.  I'm dressed inappropriately in a dress because we were supposed to be going out to dinner:
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  Thank you so much for visiting.  Have you ever been to Northern Maui?  If so, I would love to hear about your experiences!  Take care and have a great week!

~Michelle

 


Visiting Marin County - One Famous Bridge Away From San Francisco

MarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrWarning:  I barely knew how to use my camera and nothing about editing my photos when I went on this trip around Thanksgiving 2013.  The following photo is a "selfie":

Sanfran1When I went to San Francisco I expected to be roaming around the city and visiting museums.   However, I was visiting a friend I had gone to Africa with.  In Marin County I stayed in a very nice town named Mill Valley.  My friend and I went hiking every day I was there.  There was so much for me to see in the Marin County area I really didn't feel like going into the city.

It's not that I didn't want to go into the city.  There just really wasn't enough time in a week to do all the hiking I wanted to do as well as see the city of San Francisco.  I decided that seeing the city of San Francisco in-depth would be a second trip.  I was enjoying the fantastic weather, the fall colors and the sunsets too much on our daily hikes. 

Here are a few photos of the lovely town of Mill Valley.  I love the combination of the foliage mountains and palm trees!

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Mar55The following photos are of Muir Beach.  There are many beautiful beaches in Marin County.  I liked the rocks and the homes built into the cliffs at Muir Beach:
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Mar55These photos were taken at Crissy Park.  It's a great place to view the Golden Gate bridge, walk your dog, see San Francisco from a distance.  You can see Alcatraz very easily too! 

 I am convinced at least one if not all three of the men who escaped from Alcatraz made it to shore.   Maybe they were or are running our banking system ;)  In case you don't remember, they were bank robbers.  To me it just doesn't look that far from the shore.
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99177338San Francisco as seen from Crissy field:

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These photos were taken at the Tamalpais National Park which is a wonderful place to watch the sunset:

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Mar8888888888888888888Here are some photos of the Green Gulch Farm which is also known as the San Francisco Zen Center.  I loved this place!  Unfortunately, I didn't slow down enough to take photos that were focused so I made a collage.  I also did not know how to use any editing software when I went on this trip last November (11/2013).

Here is there web site: http://www.sfzc.org/ggf/

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Thank you so much for visiting.  I look forward to hearing your comments and questions.  I am really wondering if you agree with me about the Alcatraz escapees surviving?   Have a wonderful week my friends

~ Michelle