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November 2021 - Florida - Day 6

We love Florida, just in case anyone hadn't realised that.

Difficult to put our finger on exactly why, but we bloody love it. It’s also a love we have evidently passed onto our boys. It’s not as some people think just all about the theme parks. Actually for the boys it might mainly be, In fact, for us we could, and we have been here without going into one. There is just as much fun and things to do outside of the parks themselves.

I think it’s a combination of weather, the villas, and all the fun we have whilst we are relaxed together that makes it so special. We have been lucky enough to travel lots of the world, but nothing is like Florida. The coastal areas are laid back, the Keys even more so, the cities and towns can be large but not overbearing. It does feel like a second home to us.

We have good times on our own but have far better times when here with Barry, Ellie & Neil. It is difficult to explain to those who haven’t been or those who sneer their nose up at the prospect of coming to Florida. We know we are fortunate to be here and have other trips planned to come back. We don’t take them for granted and really do count our blessings every day we are here. If we could, we would love to be in a position to bring lots of other family and friends out here to share the experience it with us.

This morning was a chilled start with all of us sitting outside by the pool soaking up the sun. Actually, to be fair, Karen almost ventured to the bottom of the steps into the pool itself , which is the furthest anyone has got so far. It is safe to assume that I didn’t pay for pool heating (my excuse this time is that I wasn’t offered it because there isn’t any). The water is flipping freezing. I hate any swimming pools unless they are hot so I am not convinced I will be challenging Karen for the ‘longest in the pool’ title. I was engrossed anyhow reading on my kindle a series of detective novels set in Norfolk.

Around 11am, Karen & I set off out as we needed some fresh rolls for lunch. We decided to go via Celebration to get Karen a coffee. The place was heaving as it was their Veterans & Founders weekend. The high street was closed for traffic as they had it set out with chairs and tables ready for a concert on a stage overlooking the Lake. As we sat outside Starbucks we were reminded how much we would love to buy a property here when (not if) our lottery numbers come up. The atmosphere and sense of community here is magical, and we both could have sat there for hours again drinking it all in. Instead, we headed off to Publix to get the fresh provisions so that we have our lunch back at the villa. I treated myself to some Crab Claw meat to have with my rolls which was delicious.

After another sit in the sun, we left for an early evening meal at Buffalo Wild Wings a short drive away. Needless to say, this was Neil’s choice. He had a massive pile of very hot wings whilst Karen & I settled for ‘naked’ chicken tenders. I had mine with a Parmesan Garlic dip whilst was actually hotter than it sounds.

The reason for the early meal was that we had tickets at the Amway Centre to watch Orlando Magic play Washington Wizards. The sat nav took us a strange route there which we assumed was to avoid traffic. We ignored the official parking garages and instead parked on ‘Fairwinds’ Bank office car park which was open for $10 and was within sight of the stadium. We had used this before and knew it to be safe.

Outside the stadium it was the usual pandemonium with loud music and all sorts of different activities happening. The only hassle we had getting in was that Karen’s small handbag was apparently 2cm too wide to be allowed. However, with some persuasion and a thorough search it was allowed on a promise not to bring it again.

Our seats at only $20 each were unsurprisingly in the gods or to be precise almost in the roof rafters but gave an excellent view side on to the pitch.

The game was watchable but not exciting. The problem is that Orlando Magic are just rubbish and seem to have always been that way. By half time they were already almost 20 points behind. There was no way back and they knew it. Still the pitch side announcers kept us entertained particularly when they brought on with what seemed to be a mixed dance troupe of 60+ year olds. We were not sure if they were trying their best, were meant to be ironic or were in fact just plain hopeless.

As usual none of the T Shirt cannons could fire any of the free T Shirts up to our level. The Americans do know how to hold a sports event. I do not know why we cannot apply some of their ideas back in the UK. The build up and razzamatazz over here is great whereas at home it seems forced and poorly constructed and thought through. We wince at some of the ideas they have tried at Carrow Road.

It was a smooth and steady ride back home once we managed to find our way back to the I4 with the road blockages for the game. On the way back we were getting messages from both Barry & Ellie who had now arrived into their posh hotel in Anaheim and were both very excited for the next part of their trip.

Yet another good day. This is becoming repetitive.

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