As part of my mission to show our exchange student as much of Hawai’i (or at least Oahu) as possible, I took the gang on a self-guided walking tour of Honolulu today. By doing it on a Sunday, we saved on parking, avoided crowds, and didn’t have the opportunity (much to my kids’ delight) to go into any of the museums for tours.
Armed with an informative printout from Frommer’s, we started at St. Andrew’s Church.
The kids needed a bathroom so I asked the first people we saw — who just happened to be the bell ringers. They encouraged us to join them in the bell ringing (practice is Tuesday nights, no need to be a member of the church) and gave us great tips on how and where to add to our tour. Definitely filled with Aloha spirit.
The next stop was Washington Place, the home of John Dominis husband to Queen Liliuokalani, who lived there after her imprisonment at Iolani Palace (from reading the book The Betrayal of Queen Liliuokalani, I gathered that she didn’t like living at Washington Place prior as John Dominis’ mother also lived there and he was a total mama’s boy).
My son suggested that Father Damien was a “Cuban” (get it — “cube?”). Despite being afflicted by the teen years, he can be pretty funny sometimes.
Behind Father Damien is the Hawai’i State Capitol. By reading the guide, we learned that the Senate and House rooms are cone shaped like volcanos, and that the columns represent palm trees.
In contrast to the 1960s Capitol Building stands Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the US. According to the Frommer’s guide, there’s actually two — the second being the Royals’ summer home in Kona on the Big Island. No tour today, but definitely worth returning to (sans smaller kids).
And on the palace grounds stands the lovely Bandstand built for King Kalakaua’s Coronation.
Across the street is the main reason for our tour — Aliiolani Hale (the State Judiciary Building), AKA Hawai’i 5-O Headquarters. J and I watch Hawai’i 5-O together as do her parents back in Germany. We love picking out locations where we’ve been, and they love recognizing some of the place names their daughter has talked about.
Not on the tour, but a must-see next door for us, is the Honolulu Post Office. I’m quite certain that these are the arches under which McGarret and Danno meet with lawyers and banter with each other while underway to the police station or other important business. I’ve confirmed via Hawaii Five-0 Undercover that the Court House is indeed the Post Office in real life, and should add that the Territorial Office Building should be part the walking tour as it stands in for HPD in the show.
Back to the tour, we stopped at Kawaiahao Church — Hawai’i’s oldest.
Then we continued on to Mission Houses Museum. The home of the first missionaries, this group of buildings is a little patch of New England in the center of a tropical metropolis.
Heading back to our car, we passed Honolulu Hale, or City Hall.
And finally, we passed the State Library. I’ve never been inside, but now I’m tempted.
Now we’re home, tired from the heat, but happy to have had a taste of Honolulu and it’s history.