Monday, October 7, 2013

See me fun fun fun fun

People have been wondering what it is I actually do these 2 weeks in Florida. There have been the flimsy and unavoidable jokes of getting "some", and although that is certainly part of our activities, it is not the only thing.

This update is to set your hearts at ease and assure you I am having a wonderful time.

Squirrel counting has been among the high praised activities, and it may not sound exciting to you but I can tell you it most definitely is. There is something to be said about having a day of total relaxation. A day which you can devote to looking out the window, entertained by little critters alone. Especially after weeks of working 50h a week. It is my well deserved respite.

But I am not a person who prefers to lounge about all vacation. My choices, when Michael is at work, are limited, and thus we have made sure that on his days off we have explored and adventured. First off all, the house is not finished yet. Furniture was missing of which - as you know if you have read my previous updates - the dinner table. That itself was an adventure that kept us quite busy.

Gainesville is a big city. Not population wise, but definitely a city which is spread out over the land. The downside is that you really need some sort of transportation other than you feet to get around, the upside is that it has space available for lovely nature parks. Thankfully they also use this available space for such purposes. We have visited, for example, Devil Millhopper geological state park. This park is IN the city itself. It is a sinkhole with wooden stairs spiralling down to bring you close to the depths of it and a looping trail around it. You have to pay to get in, and this money is used to maintain the park.

On walking distance of the house, literally 5 minutes walking if not less, is the Ring Park. Perhaps not a State Park, but it is even more beautiful than the Millhopper! And free. It consists of a long road that is available for dogs and their owners to walk on, a flower garden (even a fish pond) and a long winding creek that passes through the whole park and followed by hiking trails. Its water bubbles up from underground in several places and is very shallow with tiny sandy beaches, fishes and pebbles in its bends.
Ring Park

We have graced Manatee Springs with our presence. But alas, there were no manatees to be seen. Those take refuge in the springs waters during the winter time. We did see a small alligator and the wonderful spring itself. So blue, cold and deep. I was amazed by it. Michael said all springs look like that. I marvel at it still. What was even more frightening was that people actually recreationally swim in there, even though the alligators are lurking. I suppose the water is so clear he can't sneak up on you. Chomp chomp?


Then 3 days of where Michael was hard at work. I swam in the swimming pool that is a 30 seconds walk from our backdoor, took walks in the Ring Park and daringly took the bus to downtown to lunch with Michael.

swimming pool
Next was Paynes Prairie Reserve, also a State Park. And BIG! Full of wildlife and long hikes. Paynes Prairie hasn't seen the last of me yet. I plan to walk there many miles yet. Forest bordering stretched out plains where wild horses, bison and alligators roam. Not that I saw any.

Saint Augustine, a city next to the Atlantic ocean is one of the few cities with historical sites. You could almost call it "quaint". The Spanish influence is quite noticeable and to be honest I thought it was quite cool that there were still remnants from 500 years ago when they first landed. They even build a fort. It was closed because it is a National "park" but you can't have everything. The plans to swim were thwarted by flags, but can you imagine the water was 80F? That's almost 27 degrees Celcius! 2 flags were flying in the gentle breeze, a red one for dangerous current, just one step below DO NOT SWIM ARGGHHH, and a purple one which told us DANGEROUS MARINE WILDLIFE. Which to me, translates to sharks, sharks and deadly jellyfish. I went with my feet in the water and dreamed away for a while, swimming will have to happen another time. When I don't risk being eaten by a shark.

Fort closed due to shut down

The one time
Michael takes
a picture...
Beautiful Floridian beach