Now most of you will be expecting me to say we went to all the Disney attractions but if you know me well then you know that's not my style. I'm not big on commercial tourist attractions, in fact I'm not big on commercial anything! So before we went The Boy did lots of research and found lots of interesting 'local and independent' things to do. That's not to say we didn't do a couple of touristy things.....and just a little bit of shopping!
As anyone who has gone to Orlando will know, most of the accommodation is on International Drive and that's exactly where we stayed....and to my delight we were right opposite an IHOP (International House of Pancakes). In a bid not to put on a stone in a week we only ate breakfast here twice! The rest of the time we grabbed breakfast from Wholefoods Market.
After fuelling up we jumped in the car and went on adventures. Orlando was the perfect location for my foot. Downtown Orlando is pretty much just a business district but there are lots of out-lying areas with unique and interesting shops and cafes, each taking only a couple of hours to bimble round.....so the days went much like this......drive a bit, walk a bit, repeat! Perfect!
One of our favourite things was an evening market of local producers and crafters. It was a small market in the parking lot of a great independent cafe called Stardust (to where we returned more than once!).
Here we met a wonderful illustrator called Maria Bolton, we struck up a conversation based on my love of Raccoons and her wonderful illustration of one (needless to say I bought it!). We'd already seen her work on an advert she'd illustrated for a local pet shelter. She invited us to a wildlife shelter re-launch but unfortunately it was the day which we flew home so we couldn't make it.......I was gutted as they currently have two baby raccoons!!!! We chatted with Maria for quite a while and she gave us lots of great tips about local things to do.....one of which was an open air cinema at the Enzian Theatre....a date which we promptly entered into the diary!
I took this photo just after we arrived (we were advised to get there early!) and by the time the film started there wasn't a spare inch of grass left! The film was Super Troopers......... we grabbed some 'chips' (crisps) and some freshly squeezed orange juice form a local market beforehand and had a great evening relaxing in the warmth of the Florida climate.
After a couple of local days we decided to head a little further afield to Daytona Beach. I love to see the sea and hearing that Daytona had become a little less touristy and slightly run down since the new resort of New Smyrna had opened we thought it sounded perfect.......
....and we weren't disappointed. It reminded me of Venice Beach in California, a little run down, bu with some beautiful buildings and a whole heap of atmosphere! A walk along the pier, a stroll on the sand, sunshine, sea air and bikers.....it was a great day.
A little up the road from Daytona is Ponce Inlet with a beautiful red brick lighthouse. Normally we would have climbed to the top but sadly with the foot this was out of the question.
Our one big touristy outing was to the Kennedy Space Centre....and it was AMAZING!!!! SO many interesting things to see.....not too scientific...and not too kiddie-fied. Rockets, spacesuits, moon rock, the Astrovan (an airstream no less!) and most impressively Atlantis.......the space shuttle!
Atlantis was beautiful. Much smaller than I had imagined, and her outer shell looked so soft she didn't seem like she could have gone into space and re-entered the Earths atmosphere 33 times! There was so much to see at Kennedy and our trip included a bus tour to view the launch pads, the assembly building and the Saturn Building housing the Saturn 5. This tour was so enjoyable with so much to see that I totally forgot to take any photos!
I would definitely recommend Kennedy Space Centre to anyone visiting the area. Plus it is surrounded by a Nature Reserve which yielded sightings of Alligators, Rose Spoonbills, Crested Cranes, Armadillos, Turtles, Eagles, Osprey, and so much more! Truly amazing.
I also took my old analogue Olympus Trip with me, once I get the photos developed I'll be sure to share them with you......hope the security x-ray didn't damage the film.......they wouldn't do a hand search on it! Grrrr!
What a wonderful, fun filled, holiday we had......the Florida climate definitely suited me......and we're already planning a return trip.....next time it's Miami!
Have you been to Orlando? Or perhaps Miami? I'd love to know your thoughts on either.
Happy Thursday my lovelies. xx