Fort Lauderdale & Orlando ᛫ March 20 – 26, 2018
The best flights from Cuba to my next destination Brazil went through Florida. Since I had already stayed with a couchsurfer in Fort Lauderdale, I decided to go there again and stay a couple of days before continuing my journey. Then I found out that my former host family that I had visited in November was going to be in Orlando. So I ended up flying into Miami, then took a bus to Fort Lauderdale and stayed there for two nights. From there, I went to Orlando for three nights and then returned to Fort Lauderdale to fly to my next destination.
During my first two days in Florida, I mainly worked on this blog, hung out with my Couchsurfing host and worked out by his pool. The only thing I visited there was an Aldi supermarket which is a grocery store from Germany. It has cheap, but good quality products. Since public transportation is not very convenient in Fort Lauderdale, I took an Uber taxi there. The 15-minute drive by car would have taken over an hour with different buses. Shopping at the store made me really happy because I got a lot of delicious healthy and sweet food for a low price. It was a change from the previous months in Jamaica and Cuba, where food is rather expensive and stores don’t have such a big variety.
I bought so much that I couldn’t finish it all in Fort Lauderdale and took the rest with me to the next destination. After a 3.5-hour bus ride heading north, I arrived in Orlando and was greeted by my American family at the terminal. I was really happy to see my “mom” Leslie, “dad” Joe, “aunt” Sue and “cousin” Lindsay again. We drove to their hotel, which was huge.
It had many different buildings, a lake, golf course, sports courts, several swimming pools, a small lighthouse and an area with restaurants and shopping. The atmosphere felt more like a village than a hotel. 😉 All of us stayed in a suite with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two balconies, living room and kitchen. I slept on a very comfortable pullout couch in the living room.
Alternative Activities to Amusement Parks
We spent three wonderful days together. Apart from catching up, sharing stories and ideas, we played pickleball, hung out by the pool, played card games, took a ride on Ferris wheel, went out for dinner and made delicious food in our kitchen. We hadn’t planned to go on the Ferris wheel called the Orlando Eye or ICON Orlando 360°, but saw it by chance. Lindsay, Joe and I waited in line for a while before we could enter a capsule. It took us up to 122m/400ft, while the structure played a red and white light show because it was sponsored by Coca-Cola. There were 30 air-conditioned stabilized capsules, each of which could carry up to 15 people. Luckily, we had an entire capsule to ourselves and it was nice that it wasn’t swinging around in mid-air.
Since we went at night time, seeing all the lights of the city was stunning. Usually, I’m not afraid of heights and really enjoyed the view on our way up. But when we reached the top and went over the vertex I did feel a little queasy. My heart started pounding more rapidly and my stomach tightened when we could see nothing around us but a gaping abyss. Of course, everything was fine and I relaxed quickly. The 20-minute ride was fun and over too soon. Most people come to Orlando to go to amusement parks, but the Ferris wheel is also worth a visit.
On the last day, I was sad to say goodbye, but also very grateful for the great time we spent together. My American family left earlier than I had to. We checked out at 10 am, but luckily the hotel stored my luggage and I could still use their amenities until I left. So I spent a nice day in the sun near the lake, working on this blog. I also tried to relax a little and prepare myself mentally for the following two days.
At night, I started traveling and would arrive 38 hours later. From the hotel, I took an Uber taxi to the bus terminal and then the bus back to Fort Lauderdale. Sleeping on buses is almost impossible for me so I continued working on my laptop. The bus arrived at 3:30 am and I ordered another Uber taxi to go from the terminal to the airport. After a lot of waiting and no comfortable seats for sleeping, my plane finally left at 10:30 am towards Brazil.
See More Pictures of My Time in Orlando
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