It's been a whirlwind month and the highlight was our trip to Florida. While Papa K had been to Florida several times, Mama Juju & The Bugman were total newbies. I had never set foot in the state or swam in the Atlantic Ocean. And what an adventure we had!
Our first three days were spent in St. Augustine enjoying the great combo of beach & historical sites. I grew up on the Pacific coast, so I'm not so good at going to the beach and just staying there. And we're all three very sun resistant, so the beach is an in and out activity. This made St. Augustine a particularly good choice because we could spend part of each day doing different things and come back to the beach for a dip whenever we cared to.
The following day we really went all out on the crazy adventure scheme. A good friend from home was visiting her family in Florida near an attraction we really wanted to see: The Weeki Wachee Springs mermaids! First Bugman and I went to the springs state park where we not only saw the iconic mermaid show, but went on a remarkable boat ride where we were privileged to see birds and raccoons and an alligator and, most importantly, a manatee! It was breathtaking and made me long to be one of the canoe paddlers on the spring. This amazing morning was followed by a trip to Tarpon Springs, SPONGE CAPITOL OF THE WORLD! Populated by Greek sponge fishermen, this little community is full of fantastic Greek restaurants (where we met our friend from home) and displays about the sponge trade. It was hilarious and tasty and fun and, did we mention that it's also on the gulf so we also got to take a dip in the waters of the gulf. First time in both the Atlantic and the Gulf.
Pretty good for one week! But it wasn't over yet.
Our final two days were spent with great old friends from college who teach at a college north of Orlando. Avid birders, they were able to fill us in on lots of the species we couldn't identify and had that wonderful birder instinct that points out interesting birds wherever we went. I was in heaven! In addition to a tour of the area, lunch at the skydiving field (where they had actually jumped several years before!) and a fantastic concert, we spent some time just hanging out playing games and reacquainting ourselves. It was a wonderful way to end the trip.
On both ends we had long drives, but we pushed through in one day on the way home. Papa K needed to get back to work on Monday morning and we just didn't want to cut our time short with our friends. So 19 hours, one trip to the peach orchard & 3/4 of a long book on CD later we finally pulled back into the driveway of our cozy little home. It was good to be back--just ask the cat--but we really had a fantastic trip.
I just can't express how much I love traveling with my family. They are good travelers and good companions. They both have good attitudes and bring fun, interesting ideas and perspectives to our travels. Every trip makes me excited about the next one. It just doesn't get any better than that.