Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Vacation Vacation

We had a lovely time in Florida. We stayed at Steve's Mom's (& boyfriend's and aunt & uncle's...the 4 of them own together...) condo in Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island in the gulf. It was so nice to be in a condo instead of just a hotel room. We had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a dining area, an eat-in kitchen, a living room and a balcony.

The weather was okay - not too warm but much warmer than Minnesota! We rented bikes the first day and used them a lot to get around the island. Everything is flat so it was easy-peasy and kind of fun. No hand-brakes or gears though so that took a while to get used to.

We visited Myakka River State Park which was about 35 minutes east of Sarasota (the island was off the coast in that area) and it was nice to get outside and see the landscape. The park was really cool - we did some hiking and also enjoyed the treetop canopy walk. I was petrified of seeing snakes and/or alligators but thankfully we did not. Instead we saw wild boars! Luckily they were more concerned with rooting through the tall grasses and not into eating us! whew.

We had happy hours on the beach nightly...even though it was chilly & windy that didn't matter. A bottle of wine goes down so easily on the beach. We ate seafood and bbq. We made rice krispie bars in the condo and snacked on them all week.

We kayaked in Sarasota Bay with Bain who looked a lot like Santa. We saw thousands of "upside down" jelly fish, white egrets, blue herons, regular (?) herons, pelicans, and the best - 3 manatees! They are so incredibly cute, docile, gentle & curious. I want one for a pet. *sigh* We kayaked through mangrove tunnels and saw Florida from the water level. And thankfully Alligators don't like salt water.

We went to the Magic Kingdom because I've always dreamed of going there on my honeymoon (and really, we got free tickets so how could I resist?). We went on Space Mountain and Stitch's Great Escape; Peter Pan's flight, Snow White's Scary Mine ride, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean (the new Jack Sparrow looks surprisingly real....); We saw the new 3-D movie "Mickey's PhilharMagic" (loved it!)and we watched the parade and fireworks. Steve liked it....less than me but I am happy that he put up with it for a day. He knew I was very excited and happy.

We drove to Cape Canaveral to watch the first nighttime shuttle launch in 4 years. We found a spot on Hwy A-1A between Cocoa & Cocoa Beach and had a perfect view of Kennedy Space Center. Thousands of people were out doing the same thing. The party atmosphere was all around. The count got to T-Minus 60 seconds and they canceled the launch. HUGE bummer....Ah well...The traffic back to the other coast (well, at least as far as Orlando) was an even BIGGER bummer.

We lounged, ate, drank, listened to music, read, napped, knitted (well, I did), biked, hiked, kayaked, strolled, looked for seashells, rode a trolley, browsed funky stores and walked amongst palm trees and mangroves. It was very lovely.

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