We are back from sunny Florida, where it was in the mid 80’s every day we were there. Only rained once so of course that was the perfect shopping day 🙂 We stayed in Port Charlotte with friends of ours (and her parents) who are lucky to have parents with a home in Florida that they winter in!
The goal of this vacation was to relax and not plan too much, which was exactly what our friends wanted to do, too, so that worked out well. The dollar exchange is so horrible that you really have to justify the extra 30% when paying for something (but I was able to justify it easily in Hobby Lobby where all of their scrapbooking paper was half off!)
We watched a ball game (neat because the Toronto Blue Jays won against the Tampa Bay Rays), went to a Taco Night event (I’d never had a taco before and discovered I like them), hung around their pool and visited a couple of beaches.
Kenz and I really wanted to see some gators so we went on a riverboat ride through Myakka River State Park. First of all, it was so pretty driving in because there is a canopy of trees above you. We were enjoying the drive so much (and in a convertible borrowed from my friend’s parents!) that we did not take any pictures, so this one is from the Internet:
At the first bridge that we came to, we saw what we were looking for:
There were a bunch of kayakers launching their kayaks in this same area. One gator was so close to the side that another kayaker decided to steer his kayak overtop the gator, so that it slinked back under the water. I was surprised that didn’t make the gator mad! Another crazy kayaker was paddling with his feet IN THE WATER. We learned a lot of cool facts on the boat ride through the river – one being that gators don’t attack anything during the day unless they are threatened/cornered. This is because it takes too much energy for a gator to do that. Our boat captain did say that nighttime is a different matter: “at night, the Mayakka River only has gators and gator food in it”….and that’s why there is no canoeing/kayaking allowed at night.
There are over 1,000 gators in this river, including this 12-footer which we saw up close (from a bridge on top of it):
Another day, Kenz went golfing and saw a ton of gators as well. Don’t worry, he had friends to watch his back while he golfed haha:
We also went to a few beaches, including Boca Grande which had a ton of shells! I have had a few projects in mind for a while involving shells, and now I think I have enough to complete them, plus a hundred other shell projects haha:
I was walking across this one shell, and couldn’t get it out of the sand so I asked Kenz to help me. It ended up being this huge conch shell! Since it didn’t have an animal living in it, I was allowed to remove it from the beach.
So between all the shells we brought home, plus the mountain of paper I bought at Hobby Lobby, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that the zipper busted on one of my carry-ons! Thankfully, it happened AFTER I had it already zipped up (when I did so, the zipper pull literally just came right off after zipping it up), so at least the bag was zipped up (and nothing important was in it – like passports – that would have required me to bust the bag open to access them).
On our final night, our friends and us went to town and did a bar crawl, where we found this cool sign at one location. It showed how many miles to other major cities:
We planned our flight home so that we returned and still had some of the weekend left, which is nice before going back to work. Kenz is still pretending he’s on vacation, so lots of Caesars, cigars and snacks still happening around here! The “only” difference now is that instead of sun, palm trees and beaches, we can now enjoy views of snow storms. So really, no big difference at all 😉