Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wild Africa Trek for My 30th Birthday

On March 7th, I turned the big 3-0. To celebrate this milestone, Chris surprised me with an extra special trip to Wild Africa ... in Disney World! It was this amazing 3-hour trek around the Animal Kingdom grounds where we got to see the animals from a different viewpoint than you normally get on the safari ride. We also got an awesome authentic African lunch with more amazing views of the animals.

The photos below are a mix of pictures I took and pictures our guide took and gave to us after the trek.

This was our African-style lunch, served out of the cutest tins I've ever seen. It all stacked and locked together.
That hut in the distance is where we ate our lunch.

I really couldn't have asked for a better birthday! Chris is so sweet and amazing! I enjoyed every minute of it and love the amazing pictures we'll always have to remember it by.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Our Trip to the Florida Keys

A couple weeks ago, Chris and I hopped on a plane and went to the Florida Keys ... Well, sort of. What actually happened was not that expedient or trouble-free. We ended up stuck in the Syracuse airport all day, waiting for the next flight to JFK because the first one was cancelled. Then we almost missed our connection in JFK because that flight was delayed too. Then we got to Miami and Delta lost our luggage (it was still in JFK!), the car rental reservation didn't exist, and we had a 2-hour drive ahead of us, which would now get us into Marathon at 2am (instead of 9pm like we planned). Super start to the vacation.

But then we woke up to beautiful weather, a beautiful rental house, Chris's dad and Lisa, and all was right in the world again.

The House in Marathon
Dave and Lisa rented this house for the month of February, and they were nice enough to let us crash with them for the last few days of their trip. It was a great house with an amazing pool. We really enjoyed just lounging around there.
The house was on a canal that lead out to the ocean, so of course, Chris wanted to swim it. Unfortunately, he went out at low tide and it was pretty gross at the end. It cleared up further out, but with manatees and man-o-wars possibly lurking beyond, we decided he should hop out.
There were a lot of pretty lights at the house at night so it looked really neat out there. My picture doesn't really do it justice.

Dave and Lisa's New House in Marathon
Chris and I got to tour the house Dave and Lisa just purchased in Marathon. It was really neat to see it and hear what work they plan to do on it before they start renting it out. We also enjoyed seeing the local wildlife that hang out nearby, including this cute bird.
The house is also on a canal that leads out to the ocean, so they'll be able to dock a boat right outside.
They plan on painting the outside of the house.
The house is 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and they are planning to put in a pool.
They also have big plans to redo both bathroom and completely change the kitchen up, ripping out a wall and everything.
(This is the wall they plan to rip out).

Sombrero Beach
One day we headed to the beach and swam in the ocean. So nice and refreshing! The water was super calm and blue and we found lots of little pieces of coral on the beach.

More in Marathon
We wandered around Marathon a bit. I just love all the buildings with the grass roofs.
I also love all the teal and turquoise and other great colors down in the keys. This front door is perfect.
And of course, the views are amazing wherever you go.
Dave and Lisa took us out to a great restaurant that will prepare fish you bring in. Dave and Lisa caught a ton of fish before we got there, so we feasted since they wouldn't be able to have anything leftover when they left Florida.

Key West
Of course, we had to make the drive to Key West for a day. Loved that town! So cute and walkable. Great places to eat, great shopping, lots of history. 

Hemingway House
We toured Ernest Hemingway's old house when he lived in Key West. There are now over 50 cats that live there. They have a veterinarian on staff to care for them! They now do weddings here, and were setting up a wedding while we toured.
My favorite part (aside from all the kitties!) was getting to see the space where Hemingway wrote several of his books. Such a great space and totally inspiring. I read that he averaged about 500-700 words a day, which surprised me (Stephen King does 2,000 a day!). Made me feel good because I usually only eke out 1,000 in a writing session (which sadly is not daily).

Mallory Square
We ended our day in Key West at Mallory Square, where there were loads of street performers, food carts, stands selling local goods, and an amazing view of the sunset.

After the Keys, we drove up to Orlando and began our Disney World trip! Pictures of that portion of our vacation will be up soon!