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Archive for the ‘Globetrooping’ Category

Lion + Tiger = Liger?

Posted by Susanna On February - 19 - 2011

After being refused at the Big Cat Rescue in the Tampa area where the stuff welcomed us very unfriendly I decided not to waste my money for their “zoo“! The friend of mine and I gave the cats another try and decided to check out the Big Cat Habitat. Just so we could get a couple of nice shot with the big cats. We saw them – yes. But the whole spectacle seems to be more of a circus show for the big predators which private people once owned… I was surprised how many cats must have been in private households… People even had crossed lions with tigers to get a liger… The cats and bears are in a few cages which are very small but I guess they can leave when there is no public visiting. And since that place is open only at the weekends there might be quite a few options. I was glad getting a glimpse on how majestic the white tiger were looking. Even though the photos I made were not high class. There was just no real nice possibility. Everywhere people stressing and the cats seemed all far from happy about that. Later we watched the show they make which reminded on a circus show. The tricks were funny but nothing extraordinary. I still wonder if big cats are happy like that and if there is no alternative than a life like that even though there are rescued… And why is it allowed in Florida to own big animals like that? Do you need to cross a tiger with a lion?

Big Cat Habitat

White Tiger

Lion + Tiger = Liger?

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Crystal River Manatees

Posted by Susanna On February - 17 - 2011

Have you ever snorkeled with Manatees? Mostly it is actually forbidden. When I visited Australia I had done a cruise at Monkey Mia and seen them from above. Then of course in the aquarium in Sarasota and in Blue Springs where you can watch them from the shore. But in Crystal River you can actually go and snorkel with them. There are hundred and hundreds of manatees in that area migrating over winter time and even in summer a few stay all year around. There big but gentle. Some recently hurt manatees carry a special sensor buoy with them so the park ranger can follow their healing progress and their migration. The water is nice but still chilly and one is officially not allowed to dive down. Behind a designate area the manatees can relax and snorkelers are not allowed to enter. But the manatees don’t leave their designate protected area when to many people are around and especially when they move around like hippos barely are able to hold themselves in a horizontal position on the water. I have to admit that this is difficult since the water is fresh water and the current is kind of strong. It was amazing to see these beautiful animals but so annoying to bump all the time in others which snorkel or kayak. I still can recommend that place if you wish to have a once in a lifetime experience. Who knows how long it will be possible to be that close to these gentle giants.People already discussing to stop the contact with the animals via snorkeling since there every now and then still people who abuse the manatees and separate calves from their mothers. Believe it or not, the place with the spring where the manatee migrate had belonged to a private person which wanted to fill the river and spring up with sand to build condos! Ridiculous it is such a magical place and thanks god the town and private investors bought it to save its beauty as one of the unique places on earth.

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The Ringling Museum

Posted by Susanna On February - 16 - 2011

For visiting the Ringling Museum Complex one needs definitely a day. The area is wide and contains the Ringling Art Museum, the Ringling Circus Museum and last but not least the Ringling Mansion.
All in all is wonderful but especially the Circus Museum was great since it might be the only one on the world. It is great to see how the whole circus and freak show business worked back then when this was the greatest entertainment one could wish for.
The Ringling Brothers Circus was a circus founded in the United States in 1884 by five of the seven Ringling Brothers which were originally from Germany. In 1919 it merged and became the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus and promoted as The Greatest Show on Earth. The circus was so successful that they could afford a luxurious mansion at the sea and a big art collection with old master pieces.
The art gallery reminds very much on the Getty Villa which was built like an ancient roman villa. The rooms are divided in epochs and countries and contain paintings, sculptures and furniture or accessories like fans. I was very impressed of the seize of that collection which contains a lot of remarkable pieces like the over dimensional Rubens paintings or the one of the last portraits of queen Marie Antoinette of France before she was executed.
The Mansion was build in 1924/25 and reflects the splendor and romance of Italy which the Ringlins admired very much. All the 56 rooms contain finest original furniture and art. It is inside as beautiful as it is from the outside – a real luxurious palace.

Ringling Circus Museum

Ringling Art Museum

Ringling Mansion

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Too much to see…

Posted by Susanna On February - 16 - 2011

And too less time… For a city I had never heard before Sarasota had so much to offer… Even though we made plans what we wanted to see and take pictures off it seemed impossible to do everything… For today Andrew took us to the beach in the morning. Before arriving at the beach I was attacked by a small raccoon which was looking for food near the garbage bins. I escaped but not without taking a few photos of that cheeky creature. The beach was so beautiful that I truly wished to stay there for the whole day. The sand stayed cool so it must have been out of quartz. Few people enjoyed the sun and here and there birds. The world seemed so peaceful right here watching few people fishing for bait and few birds waiting for stealing away the fish. I felt the warm sun on my skin which I liked. I saw Amish people I had never seen before. This kind of people refuse modern life and life like 150 years ago. Very interesting. Why? I don’t know. But you notice them everywhere in this area because they wear as well very old fashioned clothes.
After the beach we went checking out the Mote Marine Laboratory. A place I can only recommend. It is a big aquarium with lots of different fish and other marine animals. They had a massive dead giant squid displayed. And which was very cute lots of baby seahorses to see. The Laboratory is very big and in another section you will see all kind of native birds and another dolphins, manatees and turtles. What is great about that place that almost all animals you see are rescued animals. There are not able to live in the wild anymore. The most interesting for me were again the manatees. There were so big and with a bit imagination I realized the relationship to the elephants.

Sarasota Beach

Mote Marine Laboratory – Fish

Mote Marine Laboratory – Birds

Mote Marine Laboratory Manatees


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The Ringling Park

Posted by Susanna On February - 15 - 2011

Meanwhile I left Orlando. Todd another friend of mine had picked me up and we went to visit his friends Lathrop and Andrew and their family in Sarasota in Florida. I never had heard of that city before and was surprised how nice it was. Even more – Sarasota and the surrounding area has so much to offer! Since Todd and I wanted to do photos of a lot of things. Turns out we really cannot decide what first. Yesterday I was just relaxing and doing some workout and Pilates with Lathrop but today I took first photos of the Ringling Park (This time we were too late for entering the museum.) and a Sandhill Crane and a Tricolored Heron. For bird watcher Florida has a lot to offer.

Ringling Mansion and Park

Rose Garden

Sandhill Crane and  Tricolored Heron


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The taped gator…

Posted by Susanna On February - 12 - 2011

Actually I had met a great new girlfriend in Orlando: Nicole! The moment we met first we immediately liked each other which can be rare with girls sometimes. Don’t ask me why but it is indeed hard as being a girl to find trustworthy great girlfriends. So I was happy even more be able to have a girl again and real girls talk… Anyway Nicole’s mum had birthday and she invited Travis and me as well to the birthday party at some restaurant at the water… It was pretty quite be Nicole and I had a great time. At that place you could hold an alligator baby which is, to be honest, far away from being dangerous… But since we are in the US we could only hold the baby when it was taped around its mouth… Too bad because it looks just stupid and it is not necessary at all… Everywhere in the world where they offer this kind of attraction you can hold it without tape… But no discussions helped… Only tape photos! Well except when the owner Captain Steve was holding it…

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Orlando Skyline

Posted by Susanna On February - 11 - 2011

Travis got a white tomcat called Ghost which is very much worth taking pictures of… This cat is smart and just appeared one day and stayed ever since.
To show you at least a little bit of Orlando here the skyline at sunset… The fountain was broken for years my friends told me but now its back to its beauty. Orlando’s skyline might be not as famous as NYC or LA but it is certainly nice to look at. Enjoy!

Ghost the cat

Orlando skyline

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Blue Springs

Posted by Susanna On February - 9 - 2011

Since yesterday I am in Orlando at friend Travis place. He lives at a lake which is nice but right now it is so freezing. I feel the temperature difference since I came from the south so much. Today I had to get up fairly early around 5:30am so I could observe the manatees at Blue Springs. It was amazing kind of magical as the mist rose from the warmer spring river which was crystal clear. Everywhere trees from which moss hangs down. I never had seen that before only in Florida so far. The gentle giants moved slowly in the water. Alone or mothers and their calves. From November trough March they rather stay in the warmer spring area than at the colder waters of the St. Johns River. I noticed the some of the manatee had scars from boats on their back which is the biggest threat for them. Still I can’t wait until I will finally snorkel with them. So far I had only heard that that is possible in Crystal river and who knows for how long since some stupid people tease and hurt these animals for fun while snorkeling. Very sad and I hope these people start very soon to learn how to live in respect with our brothers the animals on that one given earth. While watching them I noticed a few bald eagles on the other side of the river. This was a very new experience. I had never ever seen these majestic birds in their natural habitat before. Beautiful…
On the way back to the house we Travis showed me the ‘Senator tree’ known to be the oldest in Florida and one of the oldest in North America. It stood there with it”s sister tree ‘Lady Liberty’ more than 2000years! Imagine what these trees had experienced. They used to be landmarks for the native Americans and the senator had survived a hurricane which had taken off a big part of its original seize. But still they were impressive.
“As of 1993, The Senator is estimated to be 3,400-3,500 years old, the 5th oldest tree in the world. The tree’s volume had previously been estimated at 4,300 cubic feet (120 m), but a 2006 survey by Will Blozan of the Native Tree Society has measured the volume at well over 5,100 cubic feet (140 m), making The Senator not only the largest Bald Cypress in the United States, but also the largest tree of any species east of the Mississippi River.”
I love old trees.
Latest after that I felt already a bit sick and a migraine… And after visiting some friends of Travis I went straight for a 15hours sleep… Just needed it!

Blue Springs

Senator tree

Orlando bulldogs

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Hemingway House

Posted by Susanna On February - 7 - 2011

Today we left beautiful Key West in direction Orlando. It took us quite a while until we arrived there. Before we visited the Hemingway House a second time.
Hemingway owned the house on Fleming Street from 1931 until his death in 1961. The uncle of his second wife Pauline bought it for the couple. Hemingway lived here for about ten years and later it was used at vacation home. The Spanish Colonial Style building was built of native rock from the grounds. It got the first pool of Key West which was built in the late 1930’s and cost US$20.000. According to the legend after finishing the pool Hemingway took a penny from his pocket and pressed it into the wet cement and announced: “Here, take the last penny I’ve got!” One can still see the penny over there. The six-toed cats were everywhere this time. Amazing that there all decendants of the one six-toed tomcat Hemingway once got from his friend a captain.

Hemingway House

On the way to Orlando we stopped for Pizza and I took a photo at a complete pink bathroom… Guess what color the men’s was – blue!
At a gas station in Orlando I was wondering why they would have a massive sign saying they would sell ice cream still enlightened at night – but upside down.
Why would they not hang it right? I had to ask since that was such a weird discovery. And they actually told me the most unexpected… They didn’t sell ice cream anymore but since the sign left ugly wholes in the wall after taking it off they just put it back on – only upside down. So people would immediately know they don’t sell ice cream anymore. Yeah, right!


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Beach time

Posted by Susanna On February - 6 - 2011

Key West is such a vacation place. Everywhere hotels, holiday apartments and pensions. Lots of people everywhere… At the beach I met that funny parrot hippie lady. She was chilling with her three parrots which I was able to hold for a photo. The parrots loved me since they thought I was one of their kind because of my green shirt…

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“This is the way to inner peace: overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.”
 

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