Alright. A few people might have noticed already that I use song titles as headlines for my blog-entries. Song titles, hopefully, that kinda relate to the day’s events. Now, I also understand that not everyone is quite as much into music as I might be. So here’s today’s explanation: It’s a song by Iron Butterfly, kinda an ancestor song to my beloved Heavy Metal genre of music, and should have been named ‘Garden of Eden’. For some reason or other, there are many stories around, either through alcohol or other substance abuse, Doug Ingle was unable to pronounce the title in a way that anyone could understand him, and ‘In the Garden of Eden’ turned into ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’. Reckon you have to be pretty intoxicated for that…anyhow, this mondegreen stuck (a ‘mondegreen’ being a mishearing or misinterpration of a phrase, enough educational blogging for today, promise) and thus ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ was born, laying roots together with ‘Voodoo Child’ and ‘Born To Be Wild’ for Heavy Metal.
The original plan for today was going to Biscayne Bay National Park and take another glass-bottom boat tour there. The Park was there alright, yet ownership of the boat tours changed very recently. The new owner found out day before yesterday, hopefully in harbor, that the engines of his boat left a lot to be desired, i.e. functionality, and had the boat shipped off (ship boated off? hmmmm) for an engine overhaul, rather for a set of new engines. We started to chat a bit about boat tours, him telling me of his plans to have a day-long tour available next year to go from reef to reef instead of just going out for two hours, when we got to talk about our trip in Pennekamp. He was interested in my pics of that cruise, I showed them to him…and he asked me for my permission to use some of them for his new website. Well, I’ll clean them up once I am home again and send them over to him, he’ll put them on his page (so if you see pics on there with my credits…it’s fake actually, as you will NOT go to that particular reef, that one’s actually off Key Largo) and let’s see what happens when we return next year, I’ll at least get a discount on the boat tour… đŸ˜‰

The lack of boat touring kinda took quite a chunk out of our planned day though. Leafing through our travel guide, I spotted something and entered an address into our satnav. We were off to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, as Mel mentioned a few times that she’d love to see a proper Botantical Garden if we’d ever find the time throughout our trip.

I have to say that the description we had in our travel guide, I have to note that it IS the National Geographic Guide (German Edition) for Florida, did not by far do the Garden any justice at all. It’s listed in there as a nice place with cheap ticket prices. Arriving at the ticket counter, I had to swallow when the cheap ticket price turned out being 20 bucks a person. Hahummm. Still, I coughed up the credit card with a slightly sour look at Melanie (telling her, non-verbally, in no uncertain terms that she’d rather have the time of her life for that price along with the fact that ‘lil ole me’d have to walk through an exhibit of flowers upon flowers. Soooo not my thing.

What happened though when we stepped into the ‘garden’ though was that it turned out to be huge. Tons of palms and…heck, I can’t list all there was to see, but it was breath-taking. I have to warmly recommend the place, it took us over three and a half hours to see even a part of it, there was a tram tour taking 45 minutes through the park which comes highly recommended as well…and, well, what can I say… I took a ton of pictures, 180, most of them actually turned out great. Some close-ups of blossoms, quite a few of lizards and iguanas, a blue heron (one of the shots hilarious but less flattering, he was in the middle of number two…or number one…you never know with birds, looks like he has a third leg), dragonflies, butterflies, water fowl, some weird looking turtles (where is a biologist when you need one) and rather tame ibises…ibisi…well, more than one ibis at least.

Time flew by and I had fun (imagine my surprise)…and we’ll definitely have to come back again next time we are here. The multitude of plants, trees, animals, the colors, the variety, I’ve never seen the like. And we’re not talking just a few trees, this is, ah what the heck, ask me for the URL to my pictures and see for yourself if you really are interested. They have the biggest selection worldwide in palm trees alone, and it’s not just the midgety variety of just planted trees, we’re talking over a hundred year old buggers here, numbering in the hundreds.

Now we’re back at the motel, layed out the route to Orlando for tomorrow, taking the road less…well, I’m not quite sure about that, but it certainly is not the direct way there, it’ll hopefully rather scenic, so…

More news tomorrow.

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