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Goodbye, Florida

Well, all good things must come to an end. Our trip ended where it began – in Miami. For the last time we were relaxing in the pool, took the last chance for a drive-through dinner and watched the last episode of “Family Guy” on TV. Goodbye, Florida – see ya!

- Isabell -

You might ask yourself how I was able to take this picture while being ON THE PLANE ;-) (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
You might ask yourself how I was able to take this picture while being ON THE PLANE ;-) (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)


Category: 2014 USA  Tags: , , ,  One Comment
A trip to Sanibel Island

We visited Sanibel Island for only about three hours and we loved it. Though it is a little overprized it offers you an incredible atmosphere…

- Isabell –

Isabell (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Bernd (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Bernd (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
   


The Florida Aquarium

After the disapointing trip to Sea World we took another shot at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.
With lovely arranged sceneries, wide-open tanks with an intact marina life and a huge glass house with free flying birds this aquarium was well worth visiting.

- Isabell -

The shark tank (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
The shark tank (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Scary jaws of a sand tiger shark (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Scary jaws of a sand tiger shark (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Duck face (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Duck face (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
He reminds me of someone...can't remember the name...ah, GRANDPA! ;-) (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
He reminds me of someone…can't remember the name…ah, GRANDPA! ;-) (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Turtle (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Turtle (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Skin of a snake (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Skin of a snake (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Portrait of a lemur (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Portrait of a lemur (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Smile and wave... (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Smile and wave… (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Photoshoped owl - hope you like the composition (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Photoshoped owl – hope you like the composition (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
 


Activities in and around Sarasota

Far away from entertaining Orlando we spent some quiet days on the west coast of Florida.

In Sarasota we took a kayaking tour in the shallow waters of the bay. With local tour guide Scott and only four other participants it was a fun experience. The highlight was paddeling through mangrove tunnels with its millions of tiny black crabs.

In the afternoon we made a short visit to the No. 1 beach of the USA – Siesta Key! The relaxing atmosphere with some snacks and bird watching was heavily interrupted by the daily 5 o’clock thunderstorm that we still had to get used to.

During our trip we heard and saw Florida’s oldest inhabitant only from the distance. By visiting the Myaka State Park we were hoping for a close encounter – with the American alligator. And as you can see – we were pretty lucky…

- Isabell -

Isabell kayaking through mangroves at Sarasota (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Isabell kayaking through mangroves at Sarasota (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
The branches of the mangroves were full of little crabs (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
The branches of the mangroves were full of little crabs (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
See the cool head cloth? Those are Bernds pants ;-) (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
See the cool head cloth? Those are Bernds pants ;-) (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
The biggest gator we found in the wild (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
The biggest gator we found in the wild (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Closeup of the gator (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Closeup of the gator (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Beautiful sunset at Siesta Beach (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Beautiful sunset at Siesta Beach (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Only a few minutes later: On our way home through the pouring rain (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Only a few minutes later: On our way home through the pouring rain (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Selfie!!! (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Selfie!!! (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
   


Old – older – St. Augustine

St. Augustine is said to be the oldest city in the US – well, define “old”…

Anyway, in 1565 it was founded by the Spanish as a military base against the French, Pirates, the British and some other folks. The remains of its over 400 years of history are scattered around the city.

We started at the lightner museum, followed the very touristy St. George street to the pirate museum and, of course, to the Castillo de San Marco National Monument – whereas we had seen the main attractions.

With it being the hottest day of our trip we basically focused on shady places, drinks, refreshments, sunscreen and… shady places.

At sunset we gathered for an unusual walk around town: the St. Augustine Ghost Tours. A really fun and interessting tour where the city’s history is told from the view of creepy ghosts and haunted souls. Thanks to Eric an novel writer Arliss Ryan, we had a lot of fun with you!

- Isabell -

Typical view of St. Augustine: Historic buildings surrounded by palms (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Typical view of St. Augustine: Historic buildings surrounded by palms (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Statue of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés... (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Statue of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés… (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
...founder of St. Augustine (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
…founder of St. Augustine (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
This guy asked me "Wanna take a picture, man?" so I did! (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
This guy asked me "Wanna take a picture, man?" so I did! (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
The oldest wood school house of the USA (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
The oldest wood school house of the USA (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Canon (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Canon (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Jolly Rogers at the entrance door of the Pirates Museum (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Jolly Rogers at the entrance door of the Pirates Museum (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Skeleton in the Pirates Museum, scared us to death (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Skeleton in the Pirates Museum, scared us to death (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin - Isabell excitedly waiting for the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter to tell her (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin – Isabell excitedly waiting for the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter to tell her (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Home-grown ice pops (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Home-grown ice pops (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Eric and novel writer Arliss Ryan took us on a ghost tour at dusk (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Eric and novel writer Arliss Ryan took us on a ghost tour at dusk (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Can you see the spooky Indian face on the wall of Fort Castillo de San Marcos? (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Can you see the spooky Indian face on the wall of Fort Castillo de San Marcos? (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
 


On the road again…
International Drive of Orlando - that is where all the theme parks are located (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
International Drive of Orlando – that is where all the theme parks are located (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
On the highway (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
On the highway (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Selfie!!! (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Selfie!!! (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
THIS is a RAM pickup truck! (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
THIS is a RAM pickup truck! (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)


Category: 2014 USA  Tags: , ,  Leave a Comment
Kennedy Space Center

If you think Kennedy Space Center is a more adult and serious spot to visit around Orlando – you’re only halfway right.

The Visitor Complex is a small area and yet the heart of KSC. Stuffed with several food stations and low-level entertainment centers which serve some information on the side which you might as well find on Wikipedia.

That is why we headed for the bus tour right away. This tour is the only way to access the secured area where you get to see the good stuff: the vehicle assembly building (known from several movies and tv series – such as the x-files ;-) ), the launching platforms as well as the Apollo/Saturn V center.

We loved the bus tour and were really impressed by the victories and failures of men’s mission to space.

- Isabell -

Visitor Complex at the Kennedy Space Center (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Visitor Complex at the Kennedy Space Center (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell in the Rocket Garden (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell in the Rocket Garden (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
A...plane...with NASA logo...awesome! (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
A…plane…with NASA logo…awesome! (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
The Space Shuttle launch pad (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
The Space Shuttle launch pad (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Mission control center of Apollo 8 (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Mission control center of Apollo 8 (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Original size Saturn V rocket with Apollo 11 on top (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Original size Saturn V rocket with Apollo 11 on top (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell in front of the Saturn V boosters (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell in front of the Saturn V boosters (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Kitty hawk landing capsule (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Kitty hawk landing capsule (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Reenactment of the moon landing (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Reenactment of the moon landing (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Spacesuit (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Spacesuit (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)


Sea World – petting zoo with orcas

Drawn here by their main attraction, the wonder- but also pitiful orcas, Sea World is just another Entertainment Park wrapped in a maritime costume.

Nearly every tank is linked to some kind of attraction – the crowded manta bay only seems to be the sidekick of the manta-style rollercoaster. Same can be said about the (touch-a-)sting-ray shore, the turtle & manatee shelter (incl. a 3D underwater simulation), the (feed-a-)dolphin lagoon and the shark tunnel – a truly moving experience (not because of the animals but the conveyor belt on which you are moved through the tunnel).

The orcas themselves are amazing, beautiful and left us speechless (and dripping wet). Yet their show is just a wanna-be “take-care-of-our-environment” theater.
As if this isn’t sad enough we were almost shocked by the last part of our tour through bling-bling Sea World: Antarctica. A traumatized walrus, an apathetic polar bear and five (!) stressed belugas packed in a huge, air-conditioned to a chilly temperature, fake arctic research station – to be entered through a simulated helicopter ride, of course.

After all, this was a dissapointing visit. If it wasn’t for the orcas and connected to them maybe the intention to create a more sensitive handling of the environment, we would not recommend to visit Sea World.

- Isabell –

The orca theater (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
The orca theater (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Orcas (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Orcas (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Orca posing for the audience (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Orca posing for the audience (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Deep blue water (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Deep blue water (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Sea lion and its teacher having fun with each other ;-) (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Sea lion and its teacher having fun with each other ;-) (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Baby gators (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Baby gators (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell trying to take a picture from the conveyor belt - worst shark experience ever (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell trying to take a picture from the conveyor belt – worst shark experience ever (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Manatee gasping for breath (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Manatee gasping for breath (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Selfie!!! (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Selfie!!! (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
 


Welcome to Miami

Our big trip this year was a two-week roadtrip through Florida, USA.

The arrival in Miami could have been better: being welcomed by a tropical thunderstorm was not what we had ordered. We made our way to the first hotel accross flooded streets and were thankful that we had planned a road-trip to get out of rainy Miami.

On the next day we had a four-hour drive to Orlando ahead of us and after only half the way our trip in the Sunshine State finally started.

- Isabell -

Arrival at Miami Airport (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Arrival at Miami Airport (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)


More temples!

I know we’ve already filled this blog with a lot of temple pictures but you got to see those: The temples in Thailand are totaly different than the ones in Bali (and compared to German churches they seem to be out of this world). If I just had one word to describe them, I’d say: Amazing! They are bursting with gold and silver roof top mosaics, shiny pads of coloured glas and everthing is just “bling-bling”. Not to forget the numerous statues of Buddha showing him in all his characteristics!

The biggest Buddha collection is displayed in  Wat Pho, the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok, with it’s really big attraction: A stunning reclining Buddha, 46 m long and 15 m high (the one that’s been sung about in the song “One night in Bangkok”).

One of the other temples we visited is Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan – also known as the Golden Mount. It’s an artifical hill with a large golden bell-shaped tower on top. A lot of  Buddhist people come here to pray and donate money – lots of money…

Okay guys, enjoy the pictures! It`s our last blog entry from hot and busy Bangkok. Tomorrow we’ll be on our way back to Germany…

- Isabell -

Pompous gate in Wat Pho temple (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Pompous gate in Wat Pho temple (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell playing with a stone ball in the sculpture`s mouth: “How did they get it in there?” (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell playing with a stone ball in the sculpture`s mouth: “How did they get it in there?” (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Buddha statues (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Buddha statues (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Wat Pho (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Wat Pho (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Huge golden altar in Wat Pho temple (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Huge golden altar in Wat Pho temple (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A very kind Buddhistic monk we met outside the temple (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A very kind Buddhistic monk we met outside the temple (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The Reclining Buddha – you just can`t believe that it fits in a temple! (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
The Reclining Buddha – you just can`t believe that it fits in a temple! (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Isabell with golden Buddha statues (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell with golden Buddha statues (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Wat Pho (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Wat Pho (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Chedi on top of Wat Saket, the “Golden Mount” (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Chedi on top of Wat Saket, the “Golden Mount” (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Praying Buddhist (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Praying Buddhist (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Lion sculpture (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Lion sculpture (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell ringing the bells on top of the Golden Mount (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell ringing the bells on top of the Golden Mount (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Donations before tax… (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Donations before tax… (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
…and after tax ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
…and after tax ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Guess who`s that…BUDDHA! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Guess who`s that…BUDDHA! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Dinner is ready! ;) (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Dinner is ready! ;) (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
   


Poor Bernd…

One of the worst things that can happen to you while you are travelling  is getting sick and having to go to hospital…

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we did on sunday morning, 1.00 am. For two days Bernd was suffering increasing pain in his ear, at last so bad that he could not sleep at night. In addition his ability to hear decreased. :-(

In Bumrungrad International Hospital the doctor diagnozed swollen parts in the external ear, also affecting the eardrum. Bernd was treated with antibiotics and pain killers. We assume that the infection came from a bacteria in the water of the swimming pool from our hotel.

He is feeling a lot better now but he still has to take antibiotics for the next days…( so no more Singha beer for him – poor Bernd!) ;-)

- Isabell -