Thursday, 22 August 2013

Florida fun Part 8 - General moments to remember

Believe it or not, we did take a few days off from straining ourselves and it was gratifying and soothing to know you had a full day of relaxing around the pool and in the sizzling jacuzzi, eating a feast all cosied inside the villa or taking a break from feeling grubby and getting dressed up to eat out at a restaurant instead. I'll start by sharing a few generic around the pool pics which I'm much more satisfied with this year compared to last years'. It may have only been a few pounds I shredded but I certainly felt much more confident in a bikini not having to worry about that dreaded, annoying puppy fat. 

Please excuse my 'no make-up' face, it's unbelievable how haggard I look without it *sigh*
Small heads up here, I wasn't actually jumping in the pool because my body is way too fragile for that but jumping in the air beside the pool and allowing somebody else to click the capture button at the right time results in a pretty fooling picture.

Our villa was based on a long, striding lake which nearly had me falling asleep as the river rippled with the brief winds. I have honestly never been in such a gentle, peaceful location. It was home from home, it was laid back and we could do as we pleased and that's what I enjoy about my family holidays. Birds were everywhere at the side of our villa (including those whom species could not be identified through our lack of knowledge) but all villas had netting because of the insects and the animals around the lake, including alligators and baby turtles. I was gutted we never saw any turtles whatsoever in the two weeks we stayed there as the villa is called the turtle villa for a reason but I'm guessing it was either out of season, just our luck or they were being cheeky and hiding from us. Alligators on the other hand often bobbed their heads above the water and we had to concentrate or turn our heads in a flash otherwise we'd miss them. We could have taken a walk just by the side of the lake but I didn't fancy risking my life ha ha.

Watching the sunset was beautiful!
It wasn't always sunny, more or less every day we had a storm and the sky turned like this then half an hour later it was back bright. Florida definitely had bipolar weather!
On the Friday after we arrived and the day before we went home, we had our breakfast at Ponderosa which was an all you can eat buffet and definitely tickled my taste buds as well as baffling me. Chicken nuggets for breakfast, really? On those few days we also explored the gift shops and bought nearly all our souvenirs before we'd even got started into the holiday which is typical behaviour from me there. 

As you can most likely work out for yourself, the top left photo is just half of our Walmart shop AND that was only our first trip to the supermarket. We often stopped off to pick up a few extra groceries on our way back from the parks too which meant we had so much food left over when it was time to go home. As predicted really, I think we went a teeny weeny bit over the top! In the villa there was a garage which had been made into a games room with a table football and a pool table to become way too competitive over. Me and my brother spent a lot of time in there challenging each other but often found it hard to breathe with how stuffy it was. The last picture is all the girls and I showing off our Disney pyjamas, even my grandma gave in to being the odd one out and bought some in 'Bargain World' :)

It wasn't just birds that were found around the lake, lizards appeared here, there and everywhere and came in all shapes and sizes. It was our daily entertainment as we studied the lizards gazing at the ants and then stretching its long, floppy tongue to give it a good old munch. It was pretty amusing to watch! Another thing is this red/yellow thing that popped out of its neck, it was fascinating yet interesting and I ended up having to research it to see what the hell it was!
Now I'm going to tell you about one of the funniest days of the whole holiday, the events which were supposed to be equaled out over the 2 weeks all happened on one occasion and this was it. We went to Aquatica water park as that was the family choice and I'm so glad we did, I had so much fun and laughed no matter what we got up to even when I suffered a near death experience near enough 4 times. It started off with me catapulting out of the rubber ring as me and Chloe went down one of the slides (and not to mention this was one of the smaller ones) I lifted my bum up at the end to prevent me from grazing myself but that was a mistake as I flew straight up in the air and into the middle of the pool where I attempted to swim out but couldn't move as Chloe was layered on top of me in the rubber ring so every time I lifted my head, I was stuck. It was scary yet extremely amusing just like when I lost control in the wave pool and had to swim my way to shore! 

However, nothing beats the moment we persuaded my Grandma and my Mum to come on the river rapids. You had no chance once you set foot in there with your life jacket on, you just let the rapids do the work as you swerved and turned aggressively. Awesome was an understatement! We didn't let on that it was like this when we tested it out as both my mum and grandma aren't too keen on water. It was impossible to keep up to everyone as you braved the water and before I knew it I'd reached the beginning again with plenty of laughs following; along came my mum and grandma soaked to the skin, clinging on for life and striving for the exit but that didn't happen... the rapids were so forceful it took them back round again, my brother had to try and go in for the 3rd time and stop them but it ended up taking all three of them then. I was in absolute hysterics and I just wish my camera wasn't cooped up in a locker as that so would have been a You've Been Framed moment!

If that wasn't enough, we got back to the villa after a tiresome, eventful day and decided to have a glass of wine in the jacuzzi. After a general conversation, my Grandma decided to just nip out of the tub and turn the light on as it was getting dark when all of a sudden, she randomly flies into the jacuzzi mid chat, goes right underneath in slow motion and we all go silent and worry as we thought she may have hurt herself or panicked because she can't swim but then we all just die of laughter when she comes up dramatically gasping for air, her face a picture. We couldn't get it out of our heads for days and kept picturing the snippets all over again. Being the lightweight she is, she blamed it on the wine but I honestly thought we'd accidentally brought a dolphin home with us instead of my Grandma!

Aquatica had a 'false' beach, so as we never got the opportunity to visit a Florida beach, we took advantage of the pretend one instead and even that was gorgeous.
As you entered the parks, the first thing in close view was the slide which was a tube and dolphins were swimming underneath in a glass tank. They were such unusual dolphins (I can't remember the name) but they swam upside down and looked more like baby sharks. I didn't manage to get a clear picture of them, so here's another Florida tradition of cutting hedges into a shape or an object, in this case it was a dolphin.
That's me on the far right. I was originally supposed to be coming down at the same time as my brother but I got stuck at the top and had to wait for the next turn with my brother in hysterics as I finally got going. Another hilarious moment!
On the 28th July which was my brother's 16th birthday, we celebrated with a night in style at International Drive. As America is so huge and confusing, we weren't sure which part to go to but in the end we settled with Pointe Orlando which had everything we needed; restaurants, gift shops and other various things. You weren't spoilt for choice with the restaurants but guess what we all went for? TGI Fridays, which you can get back at home but I'm 100% sure the food was ten times as good as here. It was the only meal I truly enjoyed!

This is Wonderworks which was an upside down house/attraction with various activities to do inside. Everything was inverted, and I think it may have been a good thing that we weren't able to go inside as, as fabulous as it was, it made our heads spin. 
Eagle Pointe is the name of the complex we stayed on and just this simple photo holds so many exhilarating memories. If anyone is planning on going to the Kissimmee area of Florida, I'd definitely recommend a villa on here or anywhere nearby which I'm sure is just as beautiful. I think now the whole adventure has come to an end both in real world and blogging world, I'm going to miss it more than ever. All that preparing and building up to it and then it's over in two weeks. That was the only disappointing thing about it!

Lots of love...

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