After a rather long and uncomfortable flight from Vancouver (something about people who take up 2 seats should be made to pay for 2!) we were delighted to touch down in Honolulu. After a wonderful welcome with a band playing at the baggage carousel we hopped in a taxi and made our way to The Beach Waikiki Hostel, our home for the next 8 nights. The hostel was previously holiday apartments so we were staying in a private room of a two bed apartment with a shared living room, bathroom and kitchenette. Unfortunately, despite most of the hostel having been recently renovated, we were in an apartment that had not been touched since the 80's but hey, it had a comfortable king sized bed and powerful air con so we couldn't complain too much. After a quick trip to the convenience store to grab some water we crashed out.
We enjoyed a long lie and then grabbed a quick coffee for breakfast before going for a wander through Waikiki, we (and by we, I mean Katy) did a bit of window shopping in Tiffanys and Harry Winstons, however the budget most definitely didn't stretch that far! Despite not being big fans of the beach we found ourselves a relatively quiet spot and parked ourselves up with our books for the rest of the morning. Having been going at 100mph since we left home back in July it was most definitely a welcome break!
Having had the best nights sleep of the entire trip, we were up and raring to go. A quick Starbucks coffee for breakfast and we checked in to our Clipper Vacations ferry down to Seattle. We managed to get ourselves an excellent window spot and enjoyed the 3 hour journey. By the time we reached Seattle and got through customs, we were able to check straight into our room at HI - The American Hotel, which thankfully was far nicer than the hostel room from the previous day!
After freshening up we set off to join Bill Speidel's Underground Tour, taken around by the lovely Sarah. We learnt about the history of the city, the history of the tunnels that can be found under Pioneer Square and what the tunnels have been used for over time. The city had to be rebuilt after the Great Seattle Fire in 1889 however it was required to be elevated as the city regularly flooded. Initially the city didn't have enough money to do both at the same time so all local businesses agreed to rebuild first and then in time they would raise the sidewalks. The original ground floors of the buildings would then become basements interconnected by the old, lower sidewalks, therefore these tunnels have been left behind. They have had many uses over the years including shopping malls and speakeasies however now are mostly used as a tourist attraction or storage.
Following a comfortable flight from Reykjavik we thought our luck was in as we sped through customs & passport control - fortunately getting in in front of the 20 million Danish Scouts on our flight (okay...it was maybe more like 30) - and our bags were some of the first off the carousel. However, our luck changed as the heavens opened and the biggest thunderstorm we have ever seen started. This meant everything came to a standstill and we had an hour to wait for our airport transfer meaning we were delighted when we finally arrived at our tiny, tiny room in the Yotel at 22:00 (03:00 GMT, 02:00 Iceland). We took in the amazing view from our window, ordered some room service pizza and crashed out with some Friends on the TV (The One Where They Can't Remember Which Episode They Watched).