It was the first morning jet lag that meant I was up around 6am and spent sometime exploring the villa quietly so as not to wake up Karen who was still snoring. Just before 8am I was sitting outside by the pool eating my porridge watching a glorious sunrise over the Lake. It was truly special and not just because of the old fashioned oats that the US put into their porridge. The temperature was perfect and there was that lovely Florida smell of warmth and early morning dampness. It was idyllic and make the journey and hassle of everything else so worth it.
Karen then joined me for breakfast and we spent sometime messaging people back home.
We then decided to plan out our week here. Whilst the 2 weeks in Kissimmee had a finely honed schedule we had deliberately left this week empty just to see what we felt like doing. But as we sat lapping up the sun we started to list all the places we wanted to visit we soon realised that unless we planned it out we could either miss out or end up double backing on ourselves. There was also the weather to consider as there was some showers in the forecast and we didn’t want to be heading to the beach at those times.
It wasn’t difficult though to decide to spend the morning by the pool, although as the time progressed Karen kept bringing forward the time for us to go out. It was so nice that I even ventured into the pool where to my surprise I found it was heated. This was not what I expected or had paid for (I must remember to check the paperwork) but nevertheless very pleasing.
We ended up having a very early lunch of boiled eggs at 11.30am before getting ready to venture out.
People would be shocked if I said that our first stop wasn’t Starbucks and no to disappoint people we headed to but the nearest one less than 2 miles away. We got Karen a drive through and carried on our way some 10 miles or so to Robinsons Preserve.
I should have listened to the Sat Nav as I came across an entrance about 1 mile before it was telling me. I decided to over rule it and take that entrance. The place and car park was deserted which we thought was strange. We got out and headed towards what we thought was the Visitors Centre. It wasn’t. It was instead an Education Centre that was closed. It was all very new and somewhere the boys would have loved when they were younger. It had an optional rope climb to get in/out of and a slide that came out underneath the middle of the building. We wandered around struggling though to understand though why the place was so highly rated on Trip Advisor for normal visits.
We drove out and decided to follow the Sat Nav directions which took us to the proper entrance where there were lots of cars parked and signs leading to proper trails. We parked for the second time and headed out to the trails.
It was now the peak heat of the day and we were soon very hot. We had made a school boy error on our first day of forgetting to take water and hats with us, despite them being in the car. The Preserve was flat with no shade. It reminded Karen of the Norfolk Broads. There was not much too see although plenty of birding wildlife, including some Spoonbills with lovely Pink wings. We headed to a viewing tower which was 4 stories high. Karen waited at the bottom whilst I climbed to the top. It was a lovely view overlooking Tampa Bay itself as well as the whole Preserve. We made it back to the car where we downed a bottle of water.
The next place on our plan was the De Soto Memorial Park. We had visited here previously 4 years ago and thought it was worth another visit (especially as it was free). We had a chat with the volunteer in the Visitors Centre before walking round to De Soto Point. It was a lovely walk as we were able to be in the shade for much of the time. We sat for a while admiring some of the enormous houses on the shoreline opposite. As we walked back to the car our route a couple of times by Gopher Tortoises crossing the path.
On the way back to the Villa we stopped at a Dollar Tree to stock up on household items for the Villa. We prefer getting such items from there as they sell them in much smaller quantities and they only cost $1 each which is my type of price.
After cooling off in and around the Pool for a couple of hours we headed out to University Town Centre which is a large complex with lots of new shops and restaurants. The main reason is that this is where the nearest Cheesecake Factory is located. We wandered in and were given a buzzer as there was a 15 minute wait for a table. We started to head to towards some shops to pass the time when in less than 2 minutes the buzzer when off and we had to rather hurry back. We were sat outside which was welcome as the air con inside was rather chilly. We both had the Skinnylicious Chicken Caesar salad, which Karen paired with a Ghirardelli Cherry Cheesecake.
There was a Super Target opposite which Karen wanted to visit to get a new chain for her Poppy necklace. I found some cheap Levi Jeans so purchased them whilst waiting around for Karen.
Back in the Villa we were super tired as the jet lag caught up with us. We had a glass of wine watching Shark Tank before retiring for the night.