Travel Tuesday: Meandering To Washington

 

As you might have guessed, we are no longer in Okinawa. We aren't in California yet either, though we did have a bit of a layover in San Francisco on our way up to Washington State. We're spending some time with my husband's family, as we haven't seen them in three years. 

That very first photo was from the Naha airport. I'm going to miss seeing those gorgeous orchids anytime I'm at the airport. The plane wing with the deep blues and teals was just as we were leaving Okinawa. I had such a strange mix of emotions with leaving. Part of it still just feels like we're on a vacation and we'll be going back in a few weeks. 

Flying out of San Francisco gave us a chance to see the Golden Gate Bridge. That iconic bridge is in the photo, up on the left, though it really didn't look impressive at all from our altitude. I'm looking forward to seeing it again from a vantage point that doesn't leave it looking like a toy. 

This trip did have one extra little bit of excitement added in. We were flying two cats internationally. Now, I'm not sure if you know this, but most cats aren't exactly huge fans of being in a kennel, let alone being in a kennel for about 24 hours and not getting breakfast before they went! To make matters even more fun we got to pick them up between flights and get them re-checked. Which meant we got to go through security before each and every one of our flights. 

Going through security a gazillion times might not seem like such a horrid thing, but it isn't exactly fun when your carry-on happens to be playing host to a laptop, a camera, a few lenses, a few hard drives, card readers, flashes, remotes, a bamboo tablet, and a bird's nest of cords for all of the above. They made me entirely unpack it and run it through the x-ray machines in much smaller batches before they let me go on my merry way. In their defense my carry-on did look suspiciously like I was up to no good, or lots of photography! Do you have any awesome tips on how to safely get your technological toys to the next destination while flying, without getting flagged as a suspicious flyer? 

Travel Tuesday: Six Must See Flower Festivals in Okinawa

 

Flower festivals in Okinawa are pretty amazing! The festival part tends to be pretty similar for most of them, but the flowers all differ so much! The other amazing part about a lot of the festivals is that many of them happen during the middle of winter in Okinawa! Nothing cheers up a grey day like going and seeing a giant field or mountainside of blooming flowers!

6. Cosmos

While this one isn't technically a festival how could I resist sharing an entire field of cosmos? The field of cosmos bloom throughout the month of January and were planted as a memorial for the victims of a landslide and every year there is a lovely field of cosmos. More info can be found here

5. Hydrangeas

The worst part of the hydrangea festival is that it is in late May and early June... and that means it gets hot in Okinawa! Be prepared to sweat and enjoy the mountainside covered in all different colors of hydrangea blooms. More info here, and be sure to put in on your calendar for this year! 

4. Little Yellow Flowers

There doesn't seem to be any reference online in English to this awesome festival we stumbled across on Christmas Eve two years ago at Nakagusuku Castle. The best explanation we were able to understand was that it was a festival celebrating the little yellow flowers that were in bloom! Even if you don't stop by during the "little yellow flower" season be sure to check out the Nakagususku Castle ruins.

3. Sunflowers 

Close to the Nakagusuku Castle ruins is the sunflower festival! This one typically happens in early February and is so cheerful and well... sunny! You can wander mazes through the fields of sunflowers to enjoy them surrounding you! If you're interested here is more information.

2. Orchid Show

Once again this one isn't technically a festival, but it is the Okinawa International Orchid Show! There are tons of amazing orchid displays to wander through. There is a small fee to enter the show, but the orchid displays are well worth it! 

1. Cherry Blossoms (Sakura)

I can't list the must see flower festivals in Okinawa and skip the best one, the cherry blossom, also known as sakura festival! They are the first cherry blossoms to bloom in Japan and nothing quite beats seeing clouds of pink blossoms! They don't stick around long, but they are breathtaking when they do bloom! Here is more on the cherry blossom festivals!

Hawaii Adventures: Hilo Farmer's Market

Hilo Farmer's Market was one of the places I really wanted to see in Hilo. My Aunt Laura sells salsa there, so I've been hearing about the market for quite some time. (If you're ever in Hilo on a Saturday stop by the One Simple Salsa booth and say hi to her!) I've also read about it being one of the best farmer's market's in the entire United States. 

The market was amazing. It is split into three sections. One full of the fresh and tempting produce and flowers and the other two were filled with arts and souvenirs of all shapes and sizes. 

At the corner of the food tent this vendor would chop open a fresh, young coconut, stick a straw into it and hand you the most delicious coconut water. Then if you managed to actually drink it all he would chop it open again so you could eat the coconut meat. 

The colors and textures throughout the entire market had me happier than a kid in a candy store.  

Something tells me that you won't believe that this was meant to be a small post with only a few photos. 

Now I want to hear from you! What do you enjoy most at farmer's markets and do you have a favorite one that you frequent?