Wednesday, 15 February 2017

2017 Feb - Florida holiday - week 1........

All packed and ready (even bought a new suitcase) for another trip to friendsL&K's Florida home. Really looking forward to seeing them especially as they've both been unwell recently I'm sure they could do with a hug brought from home. Have to say with all the President Trump news of late I'm a bit concerned what we will find there, protestors and holdups at the airport are my first concern really.

Tuesday 7
5am start from my lovely warm and snuggly bed and out of the house about 6:20am, so a little later than Hubby had wanted but not a problem as he'd allowed plenty of time. But that little bit later meant a lot more traffic so it seemed to take forever to get from home to Gatwick. We were all on board and had about 20mins to wait before take off as something in the hold had to come out of the hold and go back in. All minor hiccups including the quarter of an hour or so of minor turbulence that coincided with us all trying to eat and drink from the meal trays we'd been given. I wasn't giving up as it was delicious and thankfully I didn't get any down my front. On arrival we were pleasantly surprised to find the whole passport control system had been greatly improved since our last visit. Our case came off the carousel as one of the first but unfortunately our other case was one of the last or we would have whizzed out of there. But the delay for luggage did mean when we went to the car rental desk there was no queue and that took minimal time. It was really lovely arriving at L&K's with an evening of dinner and lots of chat. There was a huge storm just as we went to bed, lots of loud thunder and bright lighting with some much needed heavy rain. I don't think it actually lasted too long or maybe we were so tired we fell asleep despite the noise.

Wednesday 8
L&K went off to their very early pilates class and Hubby and I had a much less active start, just breakfast, unpacking and showers, then L&K were home again. After they'd showered and fed and watered we all ventured out in the golf cart, stopping first in Brownwood town square
And the men mostly found a bench outside each shop we popped into.
Then onto Lake Sumter Standing, another town square, for a lunch stop and walk

Looking really cloudy but actually 27°C so definitely shorts and tshirts weather.
Home and out again about 6:30pm into Brownwood for dinner at Cody's restaurant, where Dangerous Dave was the live music entertainment and you eat peanuts from little buckets on the tables and the shells just get thrown on the floor. Our table was of the high bar stool variety but I managed to get up and down without making a fool of myself hahaha. Dancing in Cody's then just enough time to catch the end of the town square entertainment and a bit of line dancing. Pleased I'd remembered how to Electric Slide from our last visit.

Thursday 9
Really cloudy blowy start but still 23°C, so at 7am I'm sitting in my PJs in the lanai (outside room) while the others are still sleeping
Another lazy morning, total holiday relax. Our men do like to get a few jobs done though, some of it was techy Hubby sorting out their tablet with a promise to do the laptop later and some was actually measuring up the lanai and friendK doing lots of online research for retractable screens with the big debate between them of professional or DIY. When we headed out mid-afternoon the first stop was Home Depot (Hubby can't stay away from B&Q at home and this looked just the same) to price up stuff they unfortunately don't sell, hahaha men were searching up and down all the isles for ages so I went and asked then we left! 

Dinner was at Ruby Tuesday and it was yummy. I had southern fried chicken with a plate full of help yourself salad bar. As they were leaving a man from the next table gave us some vouchers they had extra so we got a bit of a discount too!

Mark Seymour was the singer in the square and he's got a great voice, so we stayed for a dance or two or three. 

From there we went to one of the many recreation centres as tonight was the British-American Club meeting that L&K usually go to. Hubby and I were introduced to a lovely bunch of people, very welcoming. One of the members had arranged the film show in the style of early cinema with lots of short clips and old news reports, very nostalgic and very entertaining. Good use of our hire car today as these venues were all a bit further away from home and from each other so would have taken ages in the golf cart. Back at home we ended the night with some heavy discussions on the political situations both sides of the pond, really hard to avoid talking about it the way things are. 

Friday 10
I was up at 6:30am and now at 7:30am it's bright and sunny with a clear sky but only 8°C so far. Everybody else up by 8am. FriendsL&K went to their pilates class and again we both declined. After some lunch we headed out as there was some shopping needed, friendL did better than the rest of us in the clothes shop . In the evening we went out in the golf cart to Brownwood Square and met up with another English couple L&K are good friends with and all went to World of Beer to eat. Food was great, men tried lots of the beers, lots of laughter by all, fun evening.

Saturday 11
Football was on tv all morning as we are five hours behind so live in the afternoon in England. Then we went out to the Polo Club for a really good craft market.
We had an early dinner at home as we were meeting last night's friends again for dancing, but unfortunately the husband's back was painful so no dancing for him tonight but we went anyway. Scooter was performing in Sumter Square and he is hilarious and gets everyone dancing silly dance routines. He works the cruises too. It's also fun to people watch and L nearly got in trouble when she tried to use a chair someone else had obviously laid claim to but wasn't actually sitting on lol. There always seems to be a happy hour in the drink huts around the square and when K bought L a glass of wine he was given a pint!

Sunday 12
This is day one of our holiday-holiday! The four of us have arrived in St Augustine, about 2hrs 15mins drive to the east coast. Hotel seems to have all we need, nice big rooms and very welcoming and friendly staff. So bags into rooms then out to explore. FriendL had booked a great location as a very short walk and we were through the gateway (no actual gates) into George Street

Which is full of food and drink places and lots of shops of the gifty variety (most a bit expensive though). We seemed to be shopping for hours but there was an early lunch stop and a later relax with drinks in a garden bar then back to the hotel for a quick freshen up and out again for dinner.  Harry's Restaurant was lovely and our waiter was brilliant at explaining flavours and making recommendations. We all came out feeling really full and had to walk it off before heading back to the hotel. Hopefully we can sleep ok with this noisy air con unit that we've set to auto so it only comes on every now and then when it needs to.

Monday 13
We are booked as breakfast included and thankfully L had warned me US hotels are not great at providing breakfast, especially a selection that we are used to. I was not disappointed as I'd been warmed. Very basic, the eggs looked like processed food, had to have coffee as no breakfast tea but none of us went hungry. We crossed the road and bought tickets for the Tour Trolly Bus, expensive but the full circuit takes about 90 minutes with constant commentary, we can also use it as hop on hop off, and we can use it tomorrow too. Had a late lunch in a Greek restaurant then back on the trolly to the museum.

St Augustine is so full of character and historic stories laying claim to being the oldest settlement in America, you may want a quick history link here.
Unfortunately half way round the museum friendK didn't feel too well so with L they went back to the hotel, Hubby and I followed taking in a few extra shops on the way. A brief hotel rest and K felt so much better. So out we all went to eat at O.C.White which we'd seen advertised and had a voucher for. The waitress was lovely chatting all about England as she'd spent some time there. Meal was lovely. Then over the road to a pub which had about 20+ beers on offer!

So a week has whizzed by but only half way though our holiday.
                    To be continued.............


Michelle said...

Spent a happy diversion looking at 16th maps from your museum link. Thank you!

We recently watched the first two part series of the real marigold hotel with Miriam margoyles (not sure on spelling) and three others including Wayne Sleep. They went to Florida in the first part and visited a gated retirement community which sounds similar to the place where your friends live with lots of activities and golf buggies to get around. It sounded and looked like a place I wouldn't like at all yet could see how easy and comfortable a place it would be to live all at the same time.

MumB / @mumbosh said...

Watched that too and The Villages is much nicer than the first place they went to and not as "plastic" as the Miami one. Very different looking at this life style as the young mum you are and actually coming here as retired but definitely not ready for the nursing home!