I’ve been volunteering at the Salvation Army here in Fort Myers each morning for the last month. It gets me out of the flat, I get to actually have conversations with people other than Rasmus, and I make a teeny difference (through filing, answering the door with a smile, doing mock interviews for job-searching clients).
Each Monday I’ve come in and my wonderful colleagues have asked “how was your weekend?” and I’ve answered, “It was great, we went to Sanibel/the Everglades/Orlando/Key West”… They usually respond with something about how much we get around and how active we are. Well, we might not come back to Florida for a long time, if ever, so we gotta fit it all in now.
So I’m getting behind with the blogging again and complaints have been heard (from my dad mostly) so here is my attempt to catch up. We’ve had such a great couple of weeks, including two weekends away to Orlando and then to Key West, meeting up with old friends from Brussels and two of my cousins who live over here, getting sunburnt despite religiously applying factor 30 suncream (stupid Scottish genes), drinking a lot of margaritas and generally just enjoying every minute.
We spent the day at Universal Studios, and wandered around Downtown Disney too. The long queues combined with incredibly hot humid weather and outdated rides (five year old 3D movies now look pretty rubbish) meant it wasn’t our favourite place yet, but it was good to spend time with my cousins Hannah and Rosie who happened to be in town that weekend (Although we managed not to take any photos together: major fail).
We also happened to be in Orlando the same weekend as Jackie and Richard, old friends from Brussels who moved back to the US a couple of years ago. We had so much fun catching up with them over sushi and champagne.
We took the ferry from Fort Myers to Key West on Saturday morning, and the sea was calmest we’ve ever seen. So very beautiful!
Key West is apparently the southern most point in continental USA. As my mum asked, how can an island be part of continental USA? I’m not sure, and anyway, there is a naval base on the island that is technically further south than this spot, but we took the compulsory tourist pictures anyway!
At sunset, we headed for the seafront, bought pina coladas and sat on dock with hundreds of complete strangers enjoying the beautiful view. I loved how communal an activity this was. Literally half the island seemed to head here to witness this moment before heading off again for drinks and dinner.
Sunday was possibly my favourite day of the trip so far. We got up early and after breakfast on the front porch of our adorable bed and breakfast, we boarded a catamaran with about 20 other excited people and put put to sea. Eight miles later, we dropped anchor and spent an amazing morning snorkeling through the reef.
I’ve never snorkeled before and it was just mind-blowing to me. From above, it looked like any other patch of sea, but bob your head under the surface and you are suddenly surrounded by hundreds of brightly coloured fish, swimming through the corals. It was entirely astonishing and I loved every second. Others in our group reported sighting two sharks. I am divided over whether I would have LOVED to see that, or whether I might have been so scared I’d have swallowed half the sea and promptly drowned. Who knows, but it was a lot of fun.
Just being out on the boat was wonderful. Rasmus commented that when you’re on the island, your world ends at the dockland. But if you have access to a boat, suddenly there’s so much more to explore and see. It felt so good to be out on the boat, enjoying the large expanses of turquoise sea and blue sky. We’re now contemplating a life at sea…
The rest of the weekend was mostly margaritas, great sea food, secretly celebrating when Japan won the women’s world cup and then nursing our sunburnt skin on the way home. Trust me when I say that we are not taking a second of this for granted!