Spurins Geriatric Gap Year


Spurins Geriatric Gap Year

Taken early retirement to see some of the world. Next trip South America...

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu » Waikiki December 6th 2021

Breakfast has not been properly thought through; it consists of Everything Bagels, topped with a thick coating of garlic and onion, and blueberry cream cheese. This morning daughter no 1 wants to go on a whale watching trip. On an island with a reputation for big waves. With storms forecast and a wind advisory in place. I cannot be tempted to join her, so she sets off for the marina alone. I am, of course, right and pretty soon she texts to say all boat trips have been cancelled. So we agree to meet at the mall 2 miles away. She has the money belt containing all our cash, so walking is my only option. Instead of sending me a block up and along a street lined with shops, Google maps sends me a block down ... read more
Heated trainer dryer

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu December 5th 2021

Today we have hired a car and are driving round the island. I have checked out the itinerary of the many island circle tours on offer and plotted a similar route. Our route is 105 miles, but as I will be navigating (without the benefit of wifi), the actual distance could be anything really. We collect the car at 8 am and set off for our first destination- Halona Blowhole. The car was cheaper than anticipated but the insurance comes with a $1000 excess. We stop to watch the crashing waves force a fountain of water through the blowhole at about the same time as everyone else doing an island tour this morning, then return to our car. W have to wait for 6 coaches to reverse perilously close to our $1000 excess before finally managing ... read more
Halona Blowhole
Makapu’u Point
Chinaman’s Hat

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu » Waikiki December 4th 2021

Today we’re going to Hanauma Bay – basically a drowned crater full of coral reef and exotic fish. It’s not easy (or cheap – at $25 a head) to obtain tickets; there’s a strict quota with tickets going on sale at 7 am each morning and selling out in minutes. We have managed to score some tickets for this morning. To reduce pollution, they have withdrawn the bus route which used to service the reserve, so the only access is by private vehicle. Only in America would the banning of public transport be considered a pollution preventing measure. So, after breakfast (there’s some leftover bagel which I tear up and leave on the balcony for the birds) we book an Uber and ride the 12 miles up the coast to Hanauma. We spend the morning swimming ... read more
Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu » Waikiki December 3rd 2021

Today we are going to climb to the top of Diamond Head Crater. Starting from the hotel, it is an 8 mile round trip. I’m all for catching a bus to the trailhead, but daughter no 1 will not be persuaded; we are going to walk the whole way. The Visitor Centre is actually inside the crater, so we must skirt around the bottom then walk through a tunnel which passes through the middle of the volcano. Then after purchasing a ticket, we can begin our ascent. The first part is along a concrete path, then as we climb higher and steeper, we follow a trail around the crater. The final part consists a large flight of steep stairs, a tunnel and finally a spiral staircase inside a vertical tunnel. To make it harder, masks are ... read more
Walking through a volcano
We’re walking up there!?
Diamond Head Crater

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu » Honolulu December 2nd 2021

Before an afternoon of beach and cocktails, we are going to fit in some culture with a visit to Pearl Harbor. First, breakfast at a nearby bakery where I buy the cheesiest cheese stuffed cheese topped cheese croissant. Then we catch the bus to Pearl Harbor. We take a wander round the harbour and museum, which tells the story of the attack, which took place 5 days short of 80 years ago. The Americans had moved dozens of ships and hundreds of aircraft from the mainland to Hawaii (so basically half way to Japan) yet were totally unprepared when the Japanese turned up and attacked. In just 2 hours, most of the boats were sunk and most of the aircraft destroyed with the loss of 2400 lives. 900 men died on board the USS Arizona, which ... read more
Cheese croissant
Pearl Harbor
USS Arizona Memorial

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu » Waikiki December 1st 2021

This morning we are up at 6 am for our flight to Honolulu. We have already checked in, uploaded our vaccine QR codes and completed the form to obtain our Safe Travel Hawaii QR code, so once we have dropped off the hire car, we can go straight through security to the gate. Here, we are offered the chance to show our QR codes to obtain a pre-clearance bracelet, thus negating the need to wait in a 1-3 hour queue in Hawaii. Sounds like a no brainer, although it feels a bit weird when the government official applies the wristband. In the past, wearing such a wristband meant festival access (in my youth) or all-inclusive hotels (in middle age). Now it’s proof I’ve been vaccinated against a virus…. At least it will be something for my ... read more
Teriyaki carb fest
Waikiki beach
Waikiki beach

North America » United States » California » Mountain View November 30th 2021

Today starts with some admin. As daughter no 2 is busy in the lab for the next few days, we are doing the honourable thing and buggering off to Hawaii for a week. An added incentive; there are no Trader Joe’s on Hawaii so I can attempt to kick my recently acquired dill pickle crisps habit. So, this morning we do some laundry, pack, and complete the inevitable covid paperwork – uploading vaccine certificates and answering a health questionnaire. It’s quite detailed. By the time it’s done, I’ve got a headache, which is unfortunate as I’ve just signed an attestation that I’ve not taken Ibruprofen in the last 24 hours. Once we’re checked in and have clean pants, we spend the rest of the day on a tour of Silicon Valley. First stop Google. It’s somewhat ... read more
Google Android statues
Google Android statues
Google HQ

North America » United States » California » Napa Valley November 30th 2021

Today we plan to hire bikes and cycle the Napa Valley Vine Trail. From the map, I had assumed it to be a ‘Dr Beeching’ style trail along a disused railway. In fact, the railway is still there and the trail is a tarmac strip which runs parallel to the track and the adjoining freeway. It’s not, therefore, as idyllically rural and scenic as I’d imagined, but it’s a pleasant 9 mile ride from Napa to Yountville in the morning sunshine. We reach the quaint little town of Yountville and stop for brunch amidst the tourists and Mamils at a café in a converted train. We take a wander along the high street, stopping to purchase the obligatory fridge magnet. Along the way, daughter no 1 manages to lose the card containing the combination number for ... read more
Napa Valley Vine Trail
Napa Valley Vine Trail
Napa Valley Vine Trail

North America » United States » California » Pescadero November 29th 2021

Today daughter no 2 has lab time booked – lab time makes her very stressy so we say we will entertain ourselves, then return via the shops to buy/prepare food, so at least when she comes home, dinner is sorted (this is our intention – in reality, she returns to find us in the jacuzzi drinking cocktails). We are now well acclimatised to the US; not only do we sleep until 7.30, but we have blueberry waffles for breakfast. Waffles consumed, and daughter no 2 despatched to the lab, we head to the west coast, droning down Route 1 to Año Nuevo State Park. Here, you can follow a trail to a bay where elephant seals breed. Mating season is in December - we arrive just as the male seals are starting to come ashore to ... read more
Pelicans at Pescadero

North America » United States » California » Palo Alto November 29th 2021

I’m off to the USA for a couple of weeks with daughter no 1. It’s been a while. Since the beginning of the pandemic some 20 months ago, I’ve hardly even left the county let alone the country. But as we are finally allowed to travel to America and I haven’t seen daughter no 2 since she left to work in California 3 months ago, we’ve decided it’s time for a visit. We have managed to get a cheap deal. The bad news is this means transiting Frankfurt, making a long day that much longer. We get up at 3 am and drive to the airport. The rules of travel are complicated – we have to adhere to those set out by the Germans, the Americans and Lufthansa. We join the check in queue armed with ... read more

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