Monday, December 28, 2015

A Christmas Affair With Friends In Florida

One of the things about cruising is that people come and go. We are always saying hello's and goodbye's. Christmas is especially hard when you don't have family and friends close by. Our friends are fairly global now and every year we have been fortunate enough to spend it in good company.
Out for a stroll in the Villages on Christmas
No less so than this year when one of my very best friends (made while cruising) invited us to stay at the place they were housesitting for Christmas. 'The Villages', in central Florida, is a very unique "active adult retirement community" for the over 55's with more of a 'theme park' feel to it than an actual village. It's a very surreal place. Not everyone is an OAP. But the over 55's (Sim could join them!) race about in golf carts to play golf on one of the numerous golf course's, or just to hangout in one of the many fake historical villages eating...or drinking as seems to be the popular occupation for those who no longer need to work. 
Look at that smile, Sim and his Camero...all the better for being a free up grade

It was 150 mile drive from Vero Beach to 'The Villages', Enterprise is the only car hire company we use as they pick you up and drop you off and their rates can be very reasonable. Because we have hired a few cars over the last year with them, Sim asked if we could get a free up grade for our two day jaunt. You should have seen his face when they offered him a Camero convertible! He was one happy bunny. So we drove to The Villages in style, with Sim trying his hardest not floor it on the way there. Needless to say we made good time! 

The very colourful and unique home in which Mark and Liesbet were housesitting

Mark and Liesbet greeted us when we arrived and showed us around the very vibrant and colourful home they were sitting and introduced us to the two huge slobbery but friendly dogs.
Fun times with our friends
Apparently Florida hit record highs on Christmas day with temperatures soaring, the sun shining bright all day. We hung out, exchanged gifts (..thanks), went out in the golf carts to walk around one of the villages, ate sumptuous food (roast pork), and basked in the hot tubs. We had a blast. 
Mark cooked an amazing roast pork
As we had no one to check in on Ali - it was back the next day after a fantastic 24hrs away. But it wasn't sad goodbyes as Mark and Liesbet are coming back to join us for a few days over my birthday and New Year.
Out and about in the golf carts -how cool do we look?

Mark and Sim in their wheels...
Me and my bestie.

The Christmas decorations in one of the villages

Some of the wheels about town!
Some of the local residents
Says it all!
Girls out on the town!
The Villages is full of lots of "faux" - for example there are no gators and the boats are for display only.
Amazing chandeliers in the house our friends were sitting.


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