This semi-hidden door actually leads to St. Augustines, a Catholic church which sits behind a wrought iron fence just off Waikiki’s main drag. Its history dates back to 1850s when it was just a shack made from palm fronds and driftwood. You can read more about the history here.
As to why the church is behind a locked wrought iron fence, across the street is a beachside park that is home to many homeless people. They oddly co-mingle with tourists from around the world, primarily Japanese, taking selfies in the sunset. Some look as though they’ve spend the night in the piss-filled gutters of San Francisco even though there are public showers and restrooms along the beach. I guess it’s hard to panhandle if you look clean and neat and well-fed.
Just to the right and in front the church is a very common sight in Waikiki, an ABC Store.
It is not an exaggeration to say you can find one of these shops on every block. You can find one of these shops on every block even though they all sell almost exactly the same stuff, which is basically everything but mostly cheap touristy trinkets.
You expect to see wonderful things when you travel but for me, the unexpected is what makes a trip special. This time it was a YWCA in the middle of Honolulu’s business and government district.
The Y is across the street from the Iolani Palace. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, however once past the reception area is an atrium with one of the most beautiful swimming pools I’ve ever seen. I wanted to leap right in with this fellow.
The architect of this building was Julia Morgan, the very same Julia Morgan who designed Hearst Castle. But that wasn’t the best part of the surprise. Inside of the atrium is the best restaurant we found in Honolulu. It’s modestly called Cafe Julia.
One of unique things about this place, beside its menu, is the owner’s collection of whimsical liquor bottles. There were thousands but because they were behind glass, it was hard to get a picture of them. Here are a few:
So if you’re ever in Honolulu, check out the Laniakae YWCA and Cafe Julia. Make sure to save room for the chocolate mousse! Check out other doors and unexpected delights over at Norm Frampton’s #ThursdayDoors event.