^^^^^^^^^ Hey, that's a funny date for this entry. Why? I use this mechanism to keep this entry pegged as the first entry in the travelog. Subsequent entries will appear below, in reverse chronological order -- the most recent entry first. That's the way blogs work.
If you want to read more about our plans for this trip, click on the Read More link on the next line to the right.
One hour (~50 miles) south of Miami is the Entrance to the Eastern edge of the Everglades Park. Close to the entrance is the Anhinga Trail -- the best bang for the buck wildlife area we have found in Florida. If you have limited time, go here. In the dry months in Florida, you are assured of seeing lots of aquatic wildlife. In our many visits to the Everglades, we have never been disappointed.
Here is an overhead view of the trail and parking list. To see the area where there are lots of alligators, go to the very end of the boardwalk. It's worth the walk. (Click to enlarge)
Here are some of our favorite pictures taken on this visit.
We left our wonderful Airbnb this morning and had a few hours before we could check into our hotel so we went to the Beach.
Lowdermilk Beach is one of many public beaches in Naples operated by Collier County. With easy parking, picnic tables, clean restrooms, a snack bar and a very short walk to the powdery sands it is very close to perfect. There was a stiff breeze coming on the water so we zipped our windbreakers up and just sat and enjoyed the scene. Since this is the beginning of the February school vacation week up north there were many multi-generational families in evidence. Jr and Sis and the their little ones visiting Grandma and Grandpa. A lovely way to spent the afternoon.
This evening we went to the Number 1 restaurant listed on Trip Advisor's for Naples - Rumba Cuban Cafe . It was, of course, very busy since it is Valentine's Day but the staff were cheerful and very helpful and the food was really good. The dessert menu description for the Flan boasted that it would be "the best Flan you have ever had". They were not exaggerating.
When looking at the Top Attractions listed in Trip Advisor for Naples Harry found one that we had not previously visited. The Bird Gardens of Naples which offered two-hour tours. This non-profit houses parrots that have been abandoned, abused, or in need of a home. Located near the Audubon Sanctuary at Corkscrew Swamp. During the tour we walked down paths lined with flight cages and learned about the more than 300+ parrots from all over the world.
We also entered the macaw aviary for some time up close and personal with the birds.
After almost a month on the road we have finally slowed down our pace and are really relaxing. Sitting by the pool in the morning Marsha does crossword puzzle and sudoko while Harry reads or computes. Then we decide on one activity for the day.
When we are home we hardly ever go to the Movies and when we are on vacation we hardly ever watch television. Although we haven't the slightest idea why this is, we are on vacation and we have been to the movies twice this week. First to see "Selma" and then "The Imitation Game". A few years ago we visited Birmingham and one Sunday went to the Church were MLK Jr. had been pastor. After church we drove the 50 miles to Selma and walked over the Edmund Pettis Bridge. Before our visit to England and Bletchley Park last fall we read a great deal about Alan Turing and saw a play about his life. We enjoyed both films despite their straying unnecessarily from the actual facts, the settings were familiar and the acting superb.
When we were in Naples in 2009 the Botanical Gardens were under Construction. Marsha visited the Gardens with Kathy a few years later but Harry had never been. So it was high on our "To Do" list.
After a couple of cups of Alex's cappuccino we packed up and said our goodbyes to Alex, Kathy and Zoe and headed still further south to Naples. We enjoyed seeing the McKnezies in their new home and hope they will visit is in Lexington soon.
We have immensely enjoyed the past week of socializing. First meeting up with Linda and Dan Chessman in Apalachicola, then an overnight visit with JoAnn McManamy in the Villages, and lunch the next day with Alan and Linda Baker in Lake Placid, and then with Alex and Kathy McKenzie in Sarasota. But now it's time for just us and some pure vacation time. Slowing down and really enjoying the weather.
The main activity of the day was attending the Sarasota Pops where Alex (right end) and a group of singing men from The Fountains, known as Barb's Beaus, started the second half of the concert. Alex is the youngest and the oldest at 97 was standing to Alex's right.
Earlier in the day I took a walk about The Fountains for some early morning photos.
A delightful slow morning with good conversation multiple cups of Alex's delicious cappuccino and Kathy's fresh out of the oven croissants. Midday we ventured out for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Gulf intracoastal and then on to Venice, Florida to see where Alex moors his sailboat and for a stroll through the downtown area capped off a happy hour at the local daiquiri bar as the sun turned the sky glorious shade of pink.