Saturday July 7th
With perfect timing I was able to watch the qualifying for the British F1 Grand Prix over breakfast…..a great start to the day, although not for those back home as it was pouring down with rain!
Donna [my DW`s friend ] arrived at mid day after a 4 hour drive from her home in Miami and after a long chat [those two ladies could win a gold medal for natter if it was an Olympic sport :blah:], we headed over to DTD for lunch at [yep, you`ve guessed it…the Earl of Sandwich ].
After walking around for a while and browsing in several of the shops we arrived back at the villa around 4.00 pm, just in time to receive a phone call from Ricardo who suggested that we meet up for dinner tonight with him and his DW.
The venue he chose was a new eatery along US192 called “Eat at Joe`s” where we arrived at about 6.00 pm.
Just as I approached the podium, the guy behind the desk turned around to join in with all the servers at the restaurant who were clapping their hands and dancing to music, encouraging several of the diners to join in! This lively venue is certainly not one to visit for a quiet romantic meal!
I stood there wondering what on Earth was going on and then I saw Ricardo waving to me from a table where he sat with his DW as they had arrived a few minute earlier.
There was quite a comprehensive menu on offer with a strong bias towards seafood and crab in particular, although carnivores were also well catered for.
Ricardo ordered a crab which came served in a metal bucket and appeared to have more that a crab`s fair share of legs dangling over the sides of the bucket!
Donna in particular was very amused at Ricardo`s prowess in eating his meal with a bib around his front and extracting the meat from the legs and claws without the aid of any “tools”... although they were provided!....is there no end to this guy`s talents?
As we were having dessert, the staff again did their ritual sing and dance act in the restaurant, much to everyone’s hootin` and hollerin`.
Now we don`t normally go to places like this for dinner, however I must admit that we all had a great time there and with great company to boot, the time just seemed to fly as we talked about this, that and the other for ages.
After saying our goodbyes and with Ricardo and his DW declining our offer for a nightcap back at the villa [they both had to work the next day], the 3 of us returned “home” for a glass [or 3] of wine before calling it a day.
Sunday July 8th
Being the perfect gent, rather than insisting on watching the Grand Prix, I offered to take my DW and Donna to Celebration as there is normally a Sunday market there [along Market Street would you believe? ]
Despite this being “Market Day”, the town did seem devoid of people and so we could browse the stalls in comfort.
I made a bee line to the stall of a photographer/artist from the Keys [Cliff Cook] who sells some very nice images of the keys.
We bought a few small framed photos from him last year and he remembered us, probably because I spoke to him at length on the subject of the Keys during that last visit.
This time I bought a couple of larger prints for back here in the UK to act as a reminder of what I am missing by not being “over there”.
Donna and my DW bought several knick knacks along with some snack items from several of the stores, and after a coffee and a walk around the lake area, we headed back to the villa for lunch, via Publix to purchase a hot roasted chicken because my female companions both fancied a chicken salad on this occasion.
We said our goodbyes to Donna at around 4.30 pm as she departed for her 4 hour drive back to home and at 7.30 pm we had dinner with our property managers and their son at a very nice restaurant called Stonewood in the Dr. Phillips area.
Monday July 9th – Wednesday July 11th
These final days in the Orlando area were mostly spent shopping at the Florida Mall, Premium Outlets and Walmart [where I needed to get some keys cut for the villa].
A final visit to DTD on the 10th enabled me to stock up on my dose of Ghiradelli chocolate squares that I always bring home with me.
Dinners were taken at Olive Garden [9th], YSH [10th] and we ate at the villa on the last of these evenings.
We normally say our goodbyes to Ricardo on the last night of our visit, but seeing as American Airlines had brought forward our flight to New York by an hour on the 12th, and knowing that the YSH would involve a late night, we therefore arranged to have dinner there a day earlier than usual.
Ricardo as usual made a fuss of us and during the evening several of the staff came over one by one to wish us “Bon Voyage”, including his brother [aptly named Orlando”] who also works at the restaurant.
[Apologies for the quality of the photo as it was taken by the lady at the podium at the YSH and she had only used a point & shoot camera before!]
The only other side trip we made during these days was to go to Kissimmee in order to meet up with an attorney to sort out some paperwork concerning the villa.
This in itself was interesting as the attorney`s office was in the historic part of the town, somewhere we had never been to before.
I was surprised to see a roundabout [traffic circle] here, which is a rare sight in the US.
Tomorrow we leave for New York.