Friday, 25 January 2013

Ca' d'Zan - House of John

I think our bad colds are beginning to ease. Hopefully. Yesterday evening we were invited to dinner by a charming couple I hadn't seen for nearly twenty years - Michael and Sandra Ashington-Pickett. They live in a beautiful house in Orlando. I first met them when they owned a small mansion - Wells View - in the English countryside near Penshurst Place. Back then I painted full sized oil portraits of each of them. So it was good to see all four again. I was still suffering from this awful cold so could hardly eat anything.
On my last blog I was just about to describe the Ringlings Venetian Gothic Mansion they had built in 1926 but was too tired so here's a bit about it. Mable and John Ringling were determined that their home on Sarasota Bay would emulate the grandeur of Venice's Doge's Palace and the famous minaret of the Giralda Tower of Seville in Spain. The Ca' d'Zan mansion meaning 'House of John' is the largest historical mansion on the west coast of Florida.



We had a walk around inside the mansion. Very impressive - and sumptuous.

When we left Tarpon Springs for Orlando yesterday I thought we'd pay a visit to Cypress Gardens on the way. But having navigated to the site we found it had closed 6 years ago! (So much for English up-to-date guide books.) Not to worry and fairly nearby we decided to visit 'Splendid China' - Florida's most cultural adult-oriented theme park. You've guessed it. Closed! So yesterday was a bit of a wasted day. My young friend has been doing all the driving and has been wonderful. We do have a very good sat-nav though. Would never had made all the driving without it.
Yesterday we went to Sea World. Here are a few pictures of some of the things we saw.




Today we went to 'Islands of Adventure'.We both wanted to see the new Harry Potter spectacular but when we got there found that it was a twisty- turny ride with all sorts of warnings for anyone suffering from vertigo, high blood pressure, etc etc- all of which I have. My young friend wasn't too enamoured either. Besides which we would have had to queue for over an hour. However the actual buildings were great.



And here is the Hogwarts Express
And a few of the genuine looking shops

Although there was plenty of colour everywhere we were a little disappointed as we expected separate islands with things to do on them, but most attractions were 'upside - down' rides which neither of us fancied. We did see a so-called Sinbad story which was OK but would have been better if we'd been about nine years old.
And there was the Poseidon Adventure
Now we are ensconced in a very nice motel right next to Tampa Airport in readiness for our flight tomorrow morning to Las Vegas.

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