On The Road...Again - Part 1
It's been quite sometime since I was last on the Island of Hawaii, or the Big Island. In fact, the last time I was here was in March of 2001. On that visit, I stayed with friends in Hilo. The last time I was actually in Kona area was back in the late-90s. Long time between visits, huh?
Getting up at 3:30 am to make my way to the airport proved to be no easy task, especially since I went to bed at midnight (I didn't pack ahead of time). I arrived at the airport just as the plane was getting ready to board, so I took my seat and strapped myself in for the 40 minute flight. Upon landing, I picked up my rental car and made my way over to the hotel hoping to check in. Unfortunately, there were no rooms available and I was told to come back at 3:00 pm. Now what?
OK. Deciding not to waste my day, I decided to call a friend who told me to come over and pick her up. After a quick cup of coffee, we set out for the day. Initially I had wanted to make my way over to a few places -- Greenwell Farms, the Kona Historical Society and the Kona Coffee Living History Museum -- too bad they were all CLOSED on the weekends. Instead, I continued the drive down Mamalahoa Highway and made a stop at Saint Benedict's Painted Church.
Why is it called the Painted Church? Well, see for yourself.
After taking a look around the church, we decided to drive down towards Pu'uhonua O Honaunau (The City of Refuge). It was hot and humid, a really nice day to be out at the beach. Too bad I didn't bring a change of clothes (my bag was left at the hotel). Instead, I walked around the park snapping pictures like all the other tourists.
By the time we decided to leave, it was almost noon. We decided to head further down the coast towards South Point. My intention was to actually hike out to the Green Sand Beach (Papakolea), but since I didn't have much rest from the night before I decided to forgo the 5 mile roundtrip hike. Instead, we continued to past South Point in the direction of Na'alehu.
Once in Na'alehu, we stopped at the Wong Yuen Store for some drinks and snacks before continuing on.
(I'll write more notes about this store and the mural later.)
Along the way, we passed the Mark Twain monkey pod tree and found ourselves at the Punalu'u Bake Shop.
There I decided to purchase a loaf of the kalakoa sweet bread to bring home (it never made it). Across the street from the bakery, we came upon Shaka Restaurant and decided to have lunch there.
(see review above)
To be continued...