April 1986


This is a family vacation trip. You may assume that this is much different from the other ones, but the following is still valid:

This is an abridged description of a three weeks trip to Florida in April 1986. The intention is to give a firsthand personal experience of how we, Holly, Andrea, Oliver and I, did get to and through the country. Despite the fact that I did not book anything in advance, except the flight, the rental car and first night's hotel, it was no problem getting any means of accommodation on the same day, though sometimes I made reservation one day in advance. I only did some kind of pre-planning in so far that I wanted to be back in Atlanta one day before our return flight to Germany.

At the time of writing all this, more than 22 years have passed. I still think that Florida has not changed much since then. However, I will not name any accommodations, restaurants, exchange rates and prices, because I don't remember them.

The only thing I remember was the overall cost of around 12,000.00 DM, of which the air fare took the biggest chunk. We mostly stayed in Holiday Inns or in similar hotels. The rooms always had two queen size beds that could accommodate four persons, thus the two children actually traveled for free within the USA, except for entrance tickets and food, which was comparatively cheap. Beside eating in restaurants we also had enough provision with us, even a portable barbecue for the picnics in some parks.

Since this is not only a travel report but also my personal memory album I apologize for also showing too many family photos for old times' sake.

Unfortunately, I lost the Florida pages of the Rand Mc Nally Road Atlas. The one map below is just a substitute until I get a better one.

Georgia to Florida

How to get to Georgia in the first place? And why? The cheapest air fare to the southeast of the USA I could get was with Sabena from Brussels to Atlanta. We drove with our car from Cologne to Brussels where we left it in a cheap parking lot close to the airport.

We landed in Atlanta in the late afternoon. I took over our rented car from Alamo at the airport and we stayed the first night in a hotel close by. Next morning we started on our trip down south to Florida, our primary destination, but with stopovers at some interesting places, like Mahon and an Indian Mound, until we reached Silver Springs in Florida.

Remark: The photos on the right side may not be correctly adjusted if you use Mozilla Firefox or Chrome. I propose to use the Explorer of Microsoft instead.

Click the small picture to get it enlarged

We didn't rent a truck but just a car
Gorgeous kids in Georgia Antique couple in Georgia
Conquer an Indian Mound Resting on a railway track
Want to buy an Indian arrow? Finally, Florida Silver Springs
With a typical swamp and real pelicans

Disney World

We settled down in Orlando for several days in order to visit Disney World and Epcot Center (the second time again after five years). There is not much to tell. Let the photos speak for themselves. Look up guidebooks or the internet for more.
Disney World Entrance Disney Main Street
Sonny with famous Goofy Also Pluto is a star
Want to play with Mickey Mouse or trying to drive a "racing" car
Or diving around with the Nautilus
A beautiful sight: Cinderella Castle I would be happy with this casa
It looks beautiful by night Leaving it behind on Main Street
Feeling happy within all the plush He really must be a Disney fan

Living in Florida

After life in Disney wonderland we would like to find out how to live in USA wonderland, especially in a Florida village compound. They are being advertised on huge billboards along the roads all over Florida. In order to lure people to a guided tour, they offer you two Disney or Epcot entrance tickets (worth 40 Dollars) for free if you join (expecting you to buy or just into a timeshare).

Ok, that's what we did (no commitments). And it was very interesting and appealing to live in such a village: Nice houses, beautiful landscape, swimming pool, tennis courts, golf course, gyms and sports halls, etc. etc., but all fenced-in with a guarded entrance (a must to live safe in USA).
Shall we live here in a nice house
Sleeping like in heaven and having a lot of fun
Swimming in a nice Olympic pool not necessarily with the crocodiles

Epcot Center

We had to buy two more tickets for the Epcot Center in addition to the ones we did get from the real estate company. What Disney World is for kids, is Epcot Center for adults. But we all liked both. Again: I don't want to tell much. Let the photos speak for themselves. Look up guidebooks or the internet for more.
Should we take the Mississippi steamboat or should we fly the balloon with Mickey?
Epcot Center with its famous sight
The world sphere representing many countries like Japan
Chinese gate English castle
Mexican temple Mexican pyramide
Italian people Maroccan musicians
Germany shouldn't be missed because of the many Germans
Also here around: Disney characters
Last resting place It's getting late
A beautiful fountain and the sphere by night
Starting to the future or back to Egypt

Sanibel Island

Now we have earned some relaxation after the strenuous walk all around Orlando: on Sanibel Island on Florida's west coast in the Gulf of Mexico. It's partially a natural reserve for fish and birds.
Back to nature and bird watching
Oliver with pelican Oliver with black cat
Relaxing at the coral beach Don't get baked in the sun

Fort Myers

Next stopover was Fort Myers. One of the main towns on the west coast. It's a nice relaxed place with many retired people living here, like in St. Petersburg further up north. Though not as much as in the previous years. Many young families have also settled down here. It's also not a sleepy town but with a lot of actions as you can see from the following pictures.
Shall I run the marathon? And finish on a gurney?
For the lazy better drive a car or get a lift from a milk truck
I would rather drive any of these cars
If you like the Arab band then join as a member
Having fun, whether old or daring young
Is the vintage fire engine still ope-rational? It's all a little bit like Mardi Gras or carnival

St. Petersburg

We have been here before more than once. The reason was visiting relatives and now only the aunts, who survived their husbands. That's St. Petersburg. I was told Americans live ten years longer in Florida than in Cleveland up north, for example. But still, women keep their longer life distance to men.
Paying a visit to aunt Else in her beautiful Florida home
Nice to have a private swimming pool and a garden with a papaya tree
Visiting aunt Anna in her trailer home
The white beaches around St. Petersburg are also very inviting. I can imagine to live here, having a nice house with garden and pool, driving to the beach once in a while. Once upon a time a house with lot was real cheap here. Else paid for hers around fifteen thousand Dollars back in the sixties. And Anna only seven thousand for her huge trailer home in the seventies.
The beach parking lot with the beach behind
Getting lazy and a nice tan?

Florida's Panhandle

From St. Petersburg we drove up north into the panhandle of Florida, so called because the shape of the state of Florida looks like a pan with a handle. On the way we stayed and picnicked here and there until we reached Pensacola almost at the west end of the panhandle.
Having picnic at a lake
In Pensacola we were looking for a nice and quiet beach. What we found was a crowded and loud beach. But it was some interesting event and we all liked it.
Welcome to a rock concert on the beach at Pensacola
Everybody occupied every space So did the rest of the crowd below
In the middle of it we found a spot best view of course was from the top
There is a long stretch of beach, miles after miles, between Pensacola and Panama City. So it was easy to escape the crowd and have a beach all for yourself. It was the best beach in Florida: with powdery white sand and clean water. Time to relax.
One way to kill time or reading the Time
Or build a sand car or just bury the pa
Against the wave he is fighting Over the dune a bird is flying
Next stopover was in Panama City. This was the last beach before we went inland in the direction to Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, and then to head further up north back to Georgia.
Another beach, same procedure: Women are lazy, men keep busy
Oliver's new job: an advertiser to lure customers into the castle
Then he was promoted to CEO and playing golf and more

Back in Atlanta

A little sight-seeing in downtown Atlanta, one of the most modern cities in the USA (at that time). Next day we flew back to Europe.
And now we say Good Bye to Atlanta and America

Ok, that was Florida, though only a small part of it. There could have been seen and done a lot more. Also I could have written more. If you want to know more about the places we have visited, then just look up any of the many guidebooks or in the internet.

© WEW Tours