While we’re putting the finishing touches on Pam & Mike’s wedding photos to share tomorrow and Friday, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite personal images from our time in Aruba! Thanks to the wonder that is wifi, we actually posted pictures pretty regularly during our trip. If you don’t follow chelsea_mcgowan and ejmcgowan on Instagram, well, you’re just missing out.
We flew into Aruba on Monday afternoon, and were met at the airport by our beautiful bride holding a “Welcome, McGowans!” sign. If that’s not a #winning moment, then I don’t know what is.We didn’t do much that afternoon & evening except lay around the beach and try to soak the saltwater off.
We woke up bright and early Tuesday morning though, with our minds set on adventure! We spent the entire day (about 9 hours) driving alllll over the island in a beat up rented jeep, exploring everywhere the wheels would take us (and, admittedly, someplace I don’t think the wheels were meant to take us.)
This is the California Lighthouse. Why? I don’t know.
This view was too pretty not to take a picture of people… so I made Pam & Mike cheese for me.
It was so sad to me to see miles and miles of driftwood littered with trash on these otherwise pristine beaches. In the US, they’d be cleaned… but would probably also be regulated to death. It’s all give & take.
This is Mack on vacation.
Alto Vista Chapel on top of a hill was absolutely lovely… as long as you weren’t there at the same time as a tour bus. We took a little walk and came back when the place cleared out.
Our next stop was some ruins right on the beach. This is another thing that absolutely couldn’t happen in America… we’d have to pay to get in, or sign waivers saying we wouldn’t sue if we fell and broke our legs. But in Aruba? No such fuss. You just walk right up, and maybe buy a beer to drink on the way.
Bahaha! I think Mack edited this one with a “badass” filter.
For miles and miles and miles of coastline, there are these little “wish stacks” of rocks. Thousands. Tens of thousands. Of course, all four of us added our own wishing rocks!
There used to be two natural bridges in Aruba, but one collapsed. After hearing that story, we declined to walk out onto the remaining natural bridge.
We went into the Aruba National Park toward the end of the day, to explore the caves with indian drawings and visit Natural Pool (a highlight of the trip, for sure).
And really, that’s all I have to show from the Natural Pool. It was an incredible protected pool of saltwater like 30 feet deep with tons of fish. It was a CRAZY drive down, and a crazy climb down after the drive, and a treacherous scurry over sharp rocks after that. Needless to say, I didn’t bring the camera with me. Here’s a picture from my good friend Google Images, though! (Source) My favorite part of this experience was that we were actually the only people in the pool for a little while… I get the feeling that’s a pretty rare treat!
The off-off-OFF road drive through the National Park gave us some incredible views… Aruba is actually a desert island, so it’s completely different from more lush tropical locations I’d visited in the past.
Thursday was the wedding… you’ll read all about that tomorrow.
On Friday morning, Mack put aside his own desires and helped me cross a biggie off my bucket list… horseback riding on the coast! We booked a private 2-hour ride through the interior of the island, ultimately ended up at the dunes on the northern coast. And there was galloping.Our native guide did a great job with the camera, too!
This is one of the fattest looking pictures I’ve ever posted of me, but it’s worth showing how steep it was to get our horses down this hill. I totally did it, though. Only minor nervous squealing.
Friday night was the bride & groom session, and Saturday, we flew home!
I have to close the blog on one of my favorite pictures, and it’s admittedly one that the blog doesn’t really do justice. This sucker is going to be at least 60 inches wide SOMEWHERE in my house, for sure.
Whenever I’m deprived of sleep, sore, headachy from too much computer time, or whatever… I need to remind myself of the AMAZING opportunities like this that McGowan Images has provided us with. We never stop being grateful beyond belief for our amazing clients who take us on such wonderful adventures!
Be sure to come back the next two days and see Pam & Mike’s wedding photos… we think we kind of knocked it out of the park for them.