Friday, October 14, 2011

three roads

today I got an email from a woman we went on safari with-  about the royal wedding in Bhutan. it reminded me of the fall we went to Bhutan and India.  we had a busy travel season and actually made (in the span of about eight weeks) three fairly big trips.  each of these trips involved a "road trip" of some note.

we started in early fall in Hawaii- I was there for a business meeting and we decided to spend some time on Maui for a personal getaway.  once on Maui the thing every book and guide recommends is to drive the road to Hana.   we dutifully bought an audio guide CD for the car to follow along the lengthy drive (of more than five hours one way) by mile marker signs.  and as we started off that morning I said to Phil- I have a feeling that this is something everyone says you should do but that it is going to turn out to be a lot of raving about something that we won't find all that interesting -

but we headed out early as we wanted to be there and back in by midnight.  we stopped for breakfast    

six hours later we arrived in Hana- here is the main attraction in Hana -

we had lunch in an overcrowded overpriced burger place (no competition except from the Spam dumplings steaming away in the general store) LOL

along the way we saw some really lovely scenery- but all of Hawaii has scenery and you don't usually have to drive on two lane roads with 50+ one lane bridges to see it -

some of the good views-

 look at the color of that water!

OK so maybe the guy in the photo was not such a "good view" but the blow hole was pretty darned good!

then, less than a month later we were in Italy on another "road" and that was the Amalfi Coast road- as many twists and turns and as narrow as the Road to Hana--- this time we were smarter - got ourselves a driver and let him do the driving while we took in the marvelous views!  AND to top it off when we got there- we actually were someplace!

we left Sorrento after several days stay and headed to our next accommodations - the Santa Caterina in Amalfi.  we stopped along the way in several other places including Positano and Ravello.  every stop brought either great views or great food- sometimes both! what more can you ask for?  (maybe the Italians could help the Hawaiians with the food options)

first the view from our hotel room in Sorrento: 

the area is renown for citrus fruit and especially limoncello:

we arrived in time for some of the olive harvesting- done "high tech" with nets to catch the falling olives:

fruit for sale outside the entrance to nearby Pompeii:

the pool deck at our Sorrento hotel:

the road brought some wonderful views:

ther awning in the center of the bottom of the photo was a place we went to eat several nights later- beautiful views from the porch where we dined on fabulous food!

our next hotel - was lovely as well - here views of the pool and from the terrace of the breakfast room:

some photos from Positano and Ravello and Amalfi - all places we stopped on the road along the Amalfi Coast:

and then not long after we returned home - we left again. 

this time we were headed for Bhutan.  we would follow the trip to Bhutan with a journey to India (Phil's first trip to India) to visit with friends Mac and Niti in Chandigarh.  but the reason I got started on all of these roads was Bhutan's royal wedding.  the king (who just got married) had then recently been named king and when we visited they were preparing for his coronation.  one of the things that was being done was the paving of the main road from Paro (where the only airport in the country is located) to Thimphu (the capital of the country.)  the road was being built by hand by Indian laborers and what was once bad pavement was now abysmal dirt and potholes.  the driver, Mr Ganga and the guide, Karma, warned us when they picked us up at the airport and although we had a Toyota SUV four wheel drive vehicle, I have never bounced and pitched in the way we did that day for nearly five hours (the journey is only 55 kilometers - 33 miles- and now takes about an hour)

however- that being said- Bhutan (the last shangri-la) is probably the single most beautiful country on the planet...

so there you have the tale of three roads - each taken- each bringing its own story and its own experiences.  as I said it was a busy fall.

today I began to get some materials ready for our next adventure- Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Bosnia.... stay tuned....

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