Florida, Family, Flora, Fauna and Fun

We flew to Miami on Sunday January 28th and met with my sister and brother-in-law the next morning. My sister drove us to Naples where we were booked to stay for the next 3 nights.

Took it easy the first night and strolled down to see what is left of Naples pier and wait for the sunset, it was a bit breezy but well worth the wait

On the way back we had dinner at a Thai restaurant that was excellent but as we walked further on, on our way back to the hotel, we saw an amazing looking Persian restaurant and promptly booked a table for the following night.

Lazy start the next day and a brunch at the local cafe before driving off to Corkscrew swamp sanctuary which belongs to the Audubon group. https://corkscrew.audubon.org/

It was perfect winter weather for Florida, warm enough to not need coats but not sweltering hot and humid. There are about 2.5 miles of walkways around the swamp and while we did not see loads of birds, those we did see were quite close and I was able to use my new camera and get some pretty decent shots.

Back to Naples and the most amazing dinner at Bha Bha the Persian restaurant on 5th avenue. It was so good, I ate it instead of taking pictures!

Next morning we drove to Sanibel Island and had a walk and drive around the Ding Darling reserve. We were treated to a lot more birds but other than this great Osprey, they were further away than my camera would have done justice too.

After a happy few hours at the reserve we carried on to Captiva and had lunch sat out in the sun and watched the world and a few more birds go by! Can you see the crab in the beak of the small heron

On the Thursday we drove back to Miami, ready to fly out the next morning, we were coming back to Atlanta and my family were on their way to Martinique to start a catamaran trip.

On the way back to Miami, my sister had booked an airboat tour of the Everglades, it was so much fun, we got up close and personal with a number of alligators and this delightful little bird called a Gallinule, first time we had seen them. They were obviously used to the boat pilot as one of them came and ate a small worm out of his hand. The Airboats are quite noisy but it’s amazing how they glide through the Everglades. Thank goodness we were spared from seeing any of the infamous Burmese pythons.

We took an Uber down to Ocean drive and sat outside for dinner and people watched, to say there were some interesting characters would be an under statement! After dinner we walked along the front, admiring the architecture and enjoying the views. I was particularly drawn to the Betsy Hotel, it had two very interesting additions, the Betsy Orb which the Google describes here “The Betsy Orb is a work of public art installed to connect two architecturally significant buildings: The Betsy Ross designed by L. Murray Dixon and The Carlton designed by Henry Hohauser. Once a month, we use The Orb’s surface to project artistic videos or photographs for the community to enjoy.” And the Betsy poetry rail, again curtesy of the Gooogle “The Betsy Poetry Rail is an homage to the poets who have shaped Miami literature by including their diverse, historic, and contemporary voices: Muhammad Ali, Richard Blanco, Adrian Castro, Chenjerai Hove, Langston Hughes, Donald Justice, Campbell McGrath, Geoffrey Philp, Carlos Pintado, Hyam Plutzik, Gerald Stern, and Julie Marie Wade.”

The Trip was rounded out by a cocktail or two in the hotel bar, their speciality was a whisky sour with peanut butter and yes it was delicious. Kat and Ian taught us a new card game and Rob was happy to win at least once and so is looking forward to playing it again.

All in all a great trip and good to see family !!