Diana Beltrani

Joined July 2016
  • Day19

    Back in Queens (plus kittens! )

    August 12, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Three planes and 20+ hours later Amanda and I arrived back in Queens. After unpacking and taking a quick cat nap (pun intended), we hopped in the car to pick up the two kittens we adopted right before we left for Hawaii. Coming back to reality after a dream vacation was made a bit easier when we were finally able to bring Tiger and Lily home. Thanks to Bobbi and the Strays for taking awesome care of them!Read more

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  • Day17

    Maui - Day 8 (Maui Brewery)

    August 10, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Yesterday was sadly our last day in Maui. We spent it having breakfast on our lanai (thanks to Melissa for the homemade everything bagels), doing some snorkeling and boogey boarding in the Pacific, and taking a tour of the Maui Brewing Company where our friend works as a master brewer. He attended brewing school in the second oldest brewing school in the world, located in Chicago. He then returned to Maui and is the only one on the island with his certification. I didn't realize quite how much science went into the beer brewing process. It was very interesting and both Amanda and I learned a lot! Shout out to JD for the behind the scenes look at the brewery. After the tour we headed back to our happy place.....the beach. There were hardly any people there despite the unbelievable weather so it really felt like our own private sliver of sand. We ended our trip with dinner with friends and "real" shave ice the way the locals do it... with vanilla ice cream and optional red beans.

    As we sit in the airport with the better part of 20 hours of traveling ahead of us, we are filled with gratitude and love for Hawaii and its people. This was truly a bucket list trip that we will never forget!!! Thank you to YWLN for helping to make this dream a reality.
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  • Day15

    Maui - Day 7 (Mt Haleakala)

    August 8, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    This trip has expanded our horizons in so many ways. Today Amanda and I pushed ourselves over the edge... literally! We booked a tour with Eco-Adventures, a zipline company with minimal impact on the environment and a percentage of our admission going back into preserving the environment. Our tour guides, Kelsey and Shane, were very knowledgeable and extremely entertaining. They kept us laughing as we hiked through Mt. Haleakala to the different ziplines, which grew increasingly longer and steeper. Ziplining itself was incredible! The final step off the platform was a huge adrenaline rush, but once you're swinging a sort of calmness comes over you as you "fly" through the forest. It was Amanda's first time ziplining and I hadn't been since I was a teenager... by the last zipline we were both running and jumping off the platform, wishing the adventure could last forever! Fear of heights? What fear of heights?

    We could have easily called it a day after ziplining, but with only two days left of this amazing vacation we didn't want to waste a minute! We headed to the Kihei Village Shops, where local artists sell their work, and picked up a few souvenirs before heading to the beach. After an early evening swim, we watched the sunset over the Pacific and stars emerge in the night sky. What a day!
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  • Day14

    Maui - Day 5 & 6 (Ohana)

    August 7, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Yesterday Amanda and I took a puddle jumper from Oahu to Maui. We picked up our rental car and headed twenty minutes west to meet up with some old friends who've put down roots here in Maui. We caught up with them at the locally renowned Kihei Cafe where our friend ordered a family style breakfast with everything from traditional Hawaiian fried rice and gravy to banana macadamia nut pancakes and everything in between. (The local iced coffee is out of this world and quite possibly the best I've ever had.) We then spent the rest of the day getting settled into the condo we rented, visiting the local food market, and hanging out on our lanai which overlooks, you guessed it, the Pacific Ocean. Our friends came over and we cooked a family style meal together. The food was great and the company was even better!

    This morning our friend, a professional baker by trade, cooked us a phenomenal breakfast from scratch including fresh squeezed orange juice, brioche French toast, German pancakes, banana muffins, and bacon (okay, the bacon wasn't from scratch). We also had locally grown Hawaiian fruit including starfruit, guava, pineapple, and a super tart fruit with crunchy seeds you eat whose name escapes me... I loved it. Our coffee was from a sur la table which we learned takes out all of the acidity in the coffee and results in a smooth, velvety cup of joe. Amazon prime here we come!

    Originally the plan was for me to stay out of the water the remainder of our trip after my knee incident, but our friends would have none of it. They made my wound watertight with a homeopathic remedy known to the island locals as "dragon's blood" and although I was weary it worked like a charm! We spent the remainder of the day on one of the world's 10 best beaches, Keawakapu Beach in Wailea. Swimming in the bluest, clearest water I've ever seen was an unforgettable experience. To share it with my wife and friends made it all the better.

    I'm writing this as Amanda and I watch the sunset from our lanai. Soon we'll be off to grab some local bbq and finish the night with some shaved ice. I sure could get used to an island life... things move much slower here and relaxing is exactly what we needed. We are so grateful for this experience.
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  • Day12

    Oahu - Day 4 (PCC Continued)

    August 5, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Some more photos from today including the scenic route where we road alongside dormant volcanos and had a clear view of Mokoli-i, known to the locals as "The Chinamen's Hat."

  • Day12

    Oahu -Day 4 (Polynesian Cultural Center)

    August 5, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    After a picturesque drive through both mountains and seaside, we arrived at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The best way to describe this place is like Epcot Center for the seven major Polynesian Islands which include Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). It's a sort of living museum where indigenous people from each of the islands put on a show illustrating their customs and traditions, while also engaging audience members. We learned dance moves from Tonga, games from Aotearoa, the many uses of the coconut from Samoa and much much more! We drank fresh coconut water from a freshly cracked coconut, though truth be told I learned I'm more a shaved ice kind of girl. We feasted on traditional island fare such poi rolls, kalua pork, and of course fresh pineapple, one of Hawaii's largest exports.

    We ended our last night in Oahu the same way we started it, eating dinner at Rock Island Cafe in King's Village and chatting with the manager who is one of the sweetest women we've ever met. If you're ever in Waikiki you should definitely stop by for some kalua pork nachos and milkshakes!

    Tomorrow morning we leave for Maui to visit some old friends and maybe even make some new ones!
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  • Day12

    Oahu - Day 3 (North Shore and Dr. Jeff)

    August 5, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Yesterday we visited Laniakea Beach on the north shore of Oahu. The ocean was beautiful shades of blues and greens. The beach is referred to by the locals as Turtle Beach because the large number of native green sea turtles that gather at the shore and on the beach. We saw a few from the shore and I decided to jump in to get a better look. They were even more magnificent up close! Unfortunately, the volcanic rock was not so majestical up close... I did a nice number on my knee, but the orthopedic surgeon who happened to be scuba diving nearby and a local doctor back in Waikiki were super friendly and helpful. Word to the wise, volcanic rock is sharp!

    Today we plan on heading to the Polynesian Cultural Center and staying on dry land :)
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  • Day10

    Oahu - Day 2 (Hanauma Bay)

    August 3, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    After an emotional day at Pearl Harbor we decided to unwind some at Hanauma Bay, a natural pool formed in a volcanic crater some tens of thousands of years ago. Everyone has their happy place... mine is snorkeling! Although it was high tide, we were able to spot some local fish feasting on the coral reef below. One was particularly friendly and kept me company while Amanda took a short break on the beach. And in true Diana and Amanda fashion, we found some local cats who were super friendly!

    It was a long, eventful day and we'll certainly sleep well tonight.
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  • Day10

    Oahu - Day 2 (Pearl Harbor)

    August 3, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Today we woke before the sun to embark on a journey through history. Visiting Pearl Harbor was something I've wanted to do since I was young and was the deciding factor in our decision to visit Oahu. The visit was both somber and eye-opening as we delved deeper and learned more about the events leading to the U.S.'s entrance into WWII. Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial (where oil can still be seen rising to the water's surface--the "tears of the Arizona") was a truly moving experience, as was meeting one of the last two living survivors of the Pearl Harbor attacks. I found myself thinking often of my grandfathers, both of whom joined the Navy as a direct result of the events of December 7th, 1941. I now understand on an even deeper level what prompted them and a multitude of others to enlist in the armed forces with ferver. I thanked a young man in his freshly pressed navy uniform on our way out for his service and he simply smiled and said, "Oh, of course." Amanda and I walked away with a deeper appreciation for all the men and women who served and continue to serve to protect our freedoms. For all those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor we say mahalo.Read more

  • Day10

    Oahu - Day 1

    August 3, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Aloha! After a long day of traveling, we arrived yesterday in paradise! We picked up our rental car and drove through Oahu to our hotel. The streets were bustling with tourists and locals amidst a background of rolling hills and dormant volcanoes. When we arrived at our hotel we were pleasantly surprised to find out our room had been upgraded to an oceanview room and we were greeted with a Hawaiian welcome basket with traditional local treats. From our balcony there's a breathtaking view of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head off to the left. We ended our day with a quick swim in the Pacific and a stroll through town.

    It was an amazing start to our trip!
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