Before my husband reaches 61 we realised his life-long dream to visit Cape Canaveral. I was a little nervous of spending a week in Orlando, what with the heat and the reputation for being the city of theme parks, but we actually had a great time.
On our first day we travelled on local buses to visit Winter Park, an area in Uptown Orlando of lakes, canals, designer shops and chic cafes. A gentle boat ride took us past all the exclusive homes on the banks of the lakes and we popped into the quaint museum before catching the bus back. It was not hard to think of a different era entirely when passing the train station too.
On another day we walked along International Drive which was landscaped with trees and shrubs to give maximum shade as we strolled by. We were tempted by the Pirate’s Cove crazy golf where, after my initial hole in one, it was all down hill from there – although light-hearted fun.
Our day at The Space Station was brilliant. I was in awe of The Atlantis Space Shuttle, even more so when we spoke to a lady who had a team working for her to make the ’tiles’ to protect the shuttle from re-entry. These were padded fabric, sewed, in the main, by machine using steel thread, but she did admit that some even had to be finished by hand. Unbelievable – it reminded me of the ladies sewing the wings of planes during WW1.
Then we had lunch followed with a talk by an astronaut – fascinating to hear first hand about his experiences in space. Next we enjoyed a special tour of the launch sites and the grand stand where exclusive guests observed lift off across the water. There was the building where the rockets were put together -the tallest single storey building in the world. My husband was thrilled by the day, which finished at the Apollo Centre where he touched the famous moon rock. It was certainly a privilege to be there and hard to lift ourselves for the rest of the week.
Our final day was a trip to Clearwater – coast not far from Orlando. With a boat trip and lunch as part of the outing it was the most relaxing day we’d had as we ambled along the beach and pier – perfect before preparing for our journey home. Just before we left for the airport we treated ourselves to a famous Denny’s Brunch, which was just as well because the food on the plane was awful.
Mind you, we couldn’t help but sing ‘Bad Moon Rising’ on the way home.
Did we visit a theme park? No, we didn’t in the end. We might have done so if Disney, a town in its own right, had advertised evening tickets, but for us the price was beyond our budget and we had other priorities to ensure that our stay fulfilled our expectations.