Maui, above sea level....

Ready to spend some time away from the beaches and all the crowds? Here is my perfect day spent exploring parts of Maui you may have never seen.

Start your day at the Iao Valley State Park, home of the Iao Needle. Take Kaahumanu Road (HI-32) west out of Wailuku in central Maui. This turns into Iao Valley Road. Follow signs to the park. The park is open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m..

Towering emerald peaks guard the lush valley floor of Iao Valley. Located in Central Maui, this peaceful state park is home to one of Maui's most popular landmarks, the 1,200-foot Iao Needle. This iconic rock peak overlooks Iao stream and is an ideal attraction for easy hiking and sightseeing.

Aside from its natural tropical beautiful, sacred Iao Valley has great historical significance. It was here in 1790, at the Battle of Kepaniwai, that King Kamehameha clashed with Maui's army in his quest to unite the islands. Kamehameha defeated Maui's forces in a ferocious battle that ultimately changed the course of Hawaiian history.

There is a well-marked path from the parking lot to view Iao Needle and the ridge-top lookout provides incredible views of the valley. The Needle is often covered in clouds, so an early start is your best bet for a good view.

After your time at the Iao Needle stop for an early lunch in Wailuku at the A Saigon Cafe, the restaurant does not have a sign, but is easy to find at 1792 Main St, Wailuku. Take Main Street to a slight right on Oihana Street, turn left on Waiale Rd and then a sharp left back onto Main Street, the restaurant is on the right, look for the neon open sign. It’s not much to look at but the food is very tasty and a real bargain for Maui.

After lunch head up the slopes of Haleakala Crater to the Surfing Goat Dairy, home of the best Goat Cheese on the Islands. Located about 20 minutes from the airport and Kahalui area at 3651 Omaopio Road, Kula, Hawaii 96790. You can stop by for a “Casual Tour” of the dairy and then pick up some great goat cheese to snack on later.

Your next stop is the Ali`i Kula Lavender gardens, located at the 4,000 foot level of Haleakala Crater and home to some of the best views Maui has to offer. The gardens are located on 10 acres and include walking paths and a small gift store with more things made from lavender than you can think of. Located at 1100 Waipoli Road, Kula, Maui Hawai'i 96790, 16 miles and about 35 minutes from the Surfing Goat Dairy.

Next stop is Makawao Town, home to several art galleries, boutiques, craft stores and places to grab a snack if you are hungry. Makawao Town is one of the state's last paniolo towns. The paniolos were the first cowboys in the United States. Long before there were cowboys in the old west, paniolos came to Hawaii in the early 1800's from Mexico to teach the Hawaiians how to herd cattle. The town retains a lot of its original feel and is a refreshing break from shopping in the resort areas. Travel time should be around 35 minutes from the Lavender Gardens.

Last but not least is dinner at The Hali'imaile General Store, which is entering it's 20th year and is consistently rated one of Maui's best restaurants. Nestled among pineapple fields in upcountry Maui it a great place to end your Maui upcountry tour. The rack of lamb and the ribs are my favorites, and be sure to leave room for dessert! Located at 900 Haliimaile Rd, Makawao, HI 96768, a short 10 minute drive from Makawao Town. Phone: 808.572.2666 for reservations.

The drive back to Wailea or the Kaanapali resort areas will take about one hour depending on the time of day and traffic.

So there you have it, my perfect day in Maui when I want a break from the beaches. Have fun, take it slow, drive carefully, and enjoy the scenery.


Segway's in Madrid

While I was in Madrid I had an opportunity to participate in a great tour provided by Madseg’s Madrid Segway Tours. This was my first experience on a Segway, and let’s just say that I was hooked! This is a great way to experience more of a destination than you could otherwise do on foot. We covered more ground in 4 hours than I could have possibly done in a full day. Plus we had a great guide who gave the group some history and background to many of the sites at which we stopped.

First let me say that the Segway can look intimidating. The tour starts out at the Plaza de EspaƱa, where you get a lesson on how to run your Segway. Literally within minutes I felt very comfortable on the Segway, it is truly amazing how maneuverable they are. The tour takes in many of the popular sights in Madrd, including the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Royal Opera, the Egyptian Temple, the Cathedral, Sabatini Gardens, and many more points in between. The tour included a stop for lunch at a nice little cafe.

Here are few facts from the Madseg website:

Can children use a Segway HT?

The Segway HT is an intelligent mode of transport and makes calculations for you. There are sensors in the base that detect when you have lost your balance or at worst fallen off. Due to this there is a minimum weight of 25kg for any rider. When gliding you are the responsible person and in complete control of the Segway HT, so we at Madsegs, for your safety and others have applied a minimum age of 17 (7 if accompanied by parents and a safety helmet is preferred).

How safe is using a Segway HT?

The Segway HT has redundant systems and sophisticated alerts built into its design, and many thousands of hours of use have demonstrated that the Segway HT is safe when used appropriately. It is important that Segway HT riders understand their responsibility to ride safely. Proper skill level and understanding of the Segway HT prevents injuries caused by loss of control or misuse. BUT yes it is possible to collide with an obstacle and fall.

There are some limitations to using a Segway HT.
  • You must be able to climb and descend stairs without assistance as you will be required to mount and dismount the Segway HT.
  • You must weigh between 25-150 kg (55lb-331lb).
  • You must have full use of your left hand to enable you to operate the steering control.No pregnant women may use the Segway HT (due to the speed limiter placing some pressure on the abdomen).
I would definitely recommend this tour as something out of the ordinary and a great experience.


Madrid Spain - Westin Palace

I had an opportunity to stay at the Westin Palace in Madrid in March of 2008, or as locals like to call it "the Palace".

The hotel is very centrally located, within walking distance to the Prado, Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen art museums, as well as a variety of great cafe's and shopping.

The hotel was built in 1912 and has 486 guest rooms. The hotel is large and can be quite busy at times, it is especially popular with American tourists and business people. The public spaces are grand and very nicely maintained.


Of the six floors only the second floor is designated a smoking floor.

We checked in at around 2:30 pm but our room wasn't ready, they gave us a standard room to relax in and take a quick nap while our room was being prepared, took about 45 minutes.

The Jr Suite was ample in size, king sized bed (a little hard, we had them place a couple of comforters on the mattress as a pad), nice closet, great bath with big shower. My only complaint was that the connecting door to the room next door allowed noise to come through, and our neighbors stayed up later than we did. The HVAC worked well. Good high speed internet connection, expensive if it is not in your room rate, I think 18.95 euro per day, ouch!

The breakfast was good, a lot of fruit and cheeses and cereals. we didn't have any hot items but they did look good, service was quick and efficient, it is served in the magnificent grand cupola area.

The lobby bar is excellent for afternoon tea or a pre-dinner cocktail, good service, great tapas/munchies.

The concierge made dinner reservations for us on three nights, two of the places where of our own choosing, Moroccan and Indian, and one night they made reservations at a place of their suggestion, Loft 39, very trendy and high tech, it was a great dinner. I was a little worried because I had read some bad reviews about the concierge selections.

We ate at the Asia Gallery restaurant one night, it was good, but not that different from Chinese food we get here in the states, just a little more upscale.

In the mornings they had a coffee and tea station set up in the lobby of our floor with an espresso machine, nice!



Welcome to the Davault Travel blog, a resource for your next journey. At Davault Travel we believe that travel should be an adventure, travel should take you to new destinations, whether that is a hundred miles from home, or thousands. Travel should entertain and educate, travel should be exhilarating and also calming, most of all travel should be memorable and it should be on your terms. Davault Travel is here to assist you through every step of the process, before, during and after your next great journey. Please enjoy our blog and please contact us to help make your dreams a reality.