Flashback Friday – Watching a Shuttle launch from Cocoa Beach February 2011

Back in February 2011, on vacation with my brother and his family we decided to go and watch a shuttle launch from Cocoa Beach.

Parking wasn’t too bad – we managed to park at a meter on the roadside fairly near one of the boardwalks to the beach.

It was February but the weather was good and we had fun playing on the sand, eating a picnic while waiting with many others for the launch to take place.

Having waited several hours, bought binoculars to see the launch and a radio to hear it, we managed to almost completely miss the event by looking in the wrong direction!!

Before we travelled home we visited the massive Ron Jon Surf Shop for some essential souvenirs.

Combined with a 6 hour journey back to Orlando (it was Daytona weekend the same day and the toll road was rammed) it turned out to be a very memorable day for many reasons – we still laugh about it 6 years later and the best thing is that apart from the fuel, toll and parking it was pretty much free fun in the sun!

2 girls, 1 week in a holiday villa in Orlando

So after the disappointment of Sarasota and the Red Tide preventing us from visiting the beaches we were back on the road at 8.30am.

We decided to drive straight through to Celebration for a stroll around the lakes followed by lunch at Columbia.

There was a small tortoise on the walkway.  We also looked at the shops which are a bit disappointing and very touristy – OK to browse.

Lunch was amazing as usual – I tried something new a sauted  beef stew called Steak Saltedo – fantastic.  My friend chose a mojito  (comes with sugar cane) gazpacho and Steak with onions, plantain and rice.

Leaving room for a scoop of Kilwin’s – I tried the Georgia Peach which was apparently flavor of the day meaning I got 2 scoops for the price of 1!

 

2 girls, 1 holiday villa in Orlando, on a road trip!

We thought we’d have a change of scenery and with easy images coming to mind of cocktail drinking on fine white sand beaches we headed over to Sarasota on the Gulf coast.

Just 1 hr 40mins  along the I4 and I75 and we arrived at our destination – the Hyatt Regency.  We were able to check in early and then set off walking to funderstand somewhere nice to have lunch.   It was hot, the traffic heavy and noisy with a lot of construction.  After going round in a circle with sidewalks closed, our enthusiasm was fraying so we headed into the Ritz Calton to lunch as Jack Dusty’s overlooking the marina.  A mojito and lunch later we felt better.

Unfortunately we heard that all the beaches along the Sarasota area were affected by Red Tide which is an algae that kills fish and affects humans breathing – it also stinks.  The beaches are littered with dead fish.  With this in mind we headed off to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens instead.

What a haven, not massive but absolutely beautifully maintained with lots of interesting gardens and play areas – greenhouses, waterfalls, tree hugging, mangroves and wildlife – we while away a couple of hours.

Then buoyed up we decided to risk it and head over to the shops, bars and restaurants of St Armands Circle.  When we gor there we couldnt smell the red tide (although I was a little wheezy) and free parking was abundant.   Reminding us a bit of Winter Park but in a circle with statues we had a little stroll and browse before heading back to the hotel.

We ended the day with room service and sitting out on the balcony looking back across the marina towards Jack Dusty’s.