Florida Memories #ThrowBackThursday

Ever since I was old enough to be aware of the wonder that was Orlando in Florida, I made it my mission to get there one day. Last year I fulfilled that dream.  So, here is a quick memory from last year.

Myself and my daughter spent 22 days in Orlando spending the majority of the time at Walt Disney World however a year ago today we left our Disney bubble and spent 7 days at Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Studio’s.

This is the photo of part of the resort I took with our first hour of being there, I think. It was such a lovely hotel. It had only opened a few weeks before our stay there so everything felt fresh and new.

Sapphire Falls

We were given our room passes which we kept on lanyards around our neck. I went for a Jurassic Park themed lanyard and my daughters was Captain America.

Universal Passs

This was our room. It was so comfortable.

Sapphire Falls Room

After a couple of hours of exploring the hotel and sorting out our stuff we caught the boat to City Walk.

Universal studioCW

Our holiday in Orlando was wonderful. It was definitely made up of the stuff dreams are made of. However this is supposed to be a brief Throwback Thursday Memory that I wanted to share with you.  Don’t worry though I have plenty more things to share with you at some point in the future.

lu

The Origins of Valentines

Well today is Valentines Day. No doubt some of you would have spent a lot of money on your significant other just because someone somewhere decided today’s the day you should. So, who decided the 14 February was to be the day that you should show someone you love them?

The Pagan Roots 

Between the 13 – 15 February the Romans held a festival called “Lupercalia”. Lupercus was a roman god and is sometimes identified as the god Faunus. It is believed that the origins of the festival come from a celebration for Romulus and Remus, Romes founders. They were raised by a she-wolf which is Latin is called Lupus hence the name.

lupercalia-large
Artist impression of the Lupercalia Fertility Festival. 

Lupercalia though was a festival to celebrate fertility. The priests of the god Lupercus, known as the Luperci would sacrifice a goat. They would following a ritual strip the skin of the goat into thin throngs then dipping them into the blood. They would then proceed to run through the streets, hitting women with the throngs and marking them with the blood. The women would welcome the touch of the throng as this would make them fertile.

Another ritual that was also known to take place was a type of lottery. All the names of the young women would be placed into an urn. The men would then take turns to pick a name from the urn. The woman that they picked would then be their “female companion” for the forth coming year.

The Rise of Christianity 

Pope Gelasius I, in 494 C.E decided that he was going to replace the Fertility Festival. The Pope did not approve of young men effectively choosing their sexual partners for the forthcoming year by means of a lottery.

Pope Gelasius I, changed the name of the day to Saint Valentines Day. There was still a lottery but instead of picking out their partners, young men and women picked out the names of Saints instead. They were encouraged to work of the qualities of they Saint they picked for the next 12 months.

Needless to say that this was not a very popular change and eventually the masses went back to the first lottery as it was a lot more fun.

Who is Saint Valentine? 

It would be true to say that no-one actually knows, including the Catholic Church. At the time Pope Gelasius I decided to change the name there were already three Saint Valentines. No one is sure which one he meant to honour.

The most popular choice though falls upon a young Priest who was martyred by the Roman Emperor Claudius II around 270 C.E. Claudius decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. Claudius outlawed marriage for all the younger men.  The Priest understanding the injustice of the situation would marry young lovers in secret. When Claudius discovered the actions of the young Priest, Valentine, he had him put to death on the 14 February.

Another story is that Valentine was imprisoned for helping Christians. While in prison he fell in love with the jailers daughters and they would send notes to each other. In the story Valentine would sign his notes “from your Valentine”.

Whatever the story since 494 C.E the date of the 14 February has been known as Saint Valentines Day. A day tied up in pagan fertility rites and supposed martyrdom of someone who died for a just cause.

In today’s world Valentine’s Day is second only to Christmas with the amount of money consumers spend on gifts for supposed loved one.

Ask your self the question, why is there so much expectation levelled at this one day? Why do you give into the media and declare this day “the day of love”?

If you truly love someone you should not have to wait till this one day to tell them. Why not tell/show them everyday?

The Day After the Year Before

The birth of each new year provides us with anticipation, new possibilities, challenges along with joy and hope for the year ahead. Apart from looking forward it also gives us a chance to reflect on the previous year, learn from our mistakes, maybe shed a tear and smile at fond memories.

I think it would be safe to say that 2016 is was memorable and not always for good reasons. Maybe when we look back from some point in the future all will become clear, 2016 could in fact be a pivotal year in human history however only time will tell.

At this point I could go on about Brexit, Donald Trump, Terror Attacks, Natural Disasters and of course the amount of surprising celebrity deaths that we have witnessed during 2016. I have seen so many social media posts highlighting these points that I refuse to add to the multitude. Instead I am going to be completely selfish and talk about me.

Below are a few of my highlights from 2016 and why it will always be memorable for me.

G E O R G I A – R O S E

2016 was a big year for my daughter, Georgia-Rose a year of endings and new beginnings. In March she made the decision to get baptised after a trying few months. It was a wonderful day and we finished it off with a meal with some lovely people from our Kingdom Hall.

georgia-baptised

Then she sat her GCSE’s which was a stressful few months for her from April to June. However her GCSE results were wonderful the result of all her hard work. This of course meant that she would be finishing school. I cannot believe I have a daughter who has left school.

georgia-college

In September she began College and is currently studying History and Classical Civilisations at A-Level. I can’t believe my baby is nearly all grown up.

 F L O R I D A 

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I fulfilled one of my biggest dreams and actually stayed at Walt Disney World. My daughter and myself spent three weeks in Orlando with two weeks at Walt Disney World resort and one week at Universal Studios. It was a truly magical experience. We both loved Walt Disney World so much we hope to go back one day, but at least we can say we have been there.

hard-rock

There were so many highlights from that holiday which I still do intend on sharing with you all at some point in the future.  One which I will mention though was the night we spent at the Hard Rock Cafe. The staff were so lovely and entertaining, the food was also amazing, not to mention the cocktails. It was so much.

T H E   T O W E R   O F   L O N D O N 

tower-of-london-1

Another place I got to visit this year was the Tower of London. My mother had always wanted to go and this year we actually got there. I love visiting places of historical interest. What was great about the Tower of London though was that they have preserved some of the graffiti the prisoners had carved into the wall. It also holds the crown jewels and it was great to see them close up.

F A V O U R I T E   M O V I E   O F  T H E  Y E A R

jungle-book

I have thought about this a lot and I have decided that The Jungle Book is my favourite movie of 2016. I have based this purely on my own emotional response to the movie and the fact I have watched it several times. At Animal Kingdom there was a Jungle Book show which was fantastic, I think that may have helped this decision.

So, that was just a few of my highlights of 2016. I could have added so many more but I am afraid it would of got boring after a while. I hope you liked them? Till Tomorrow.

lu

To Disney World & Beyond

This is a true account of my awful journey on National Express and the wonderful Virgin Atlantic staff.
Sorry it is a bit wordy…

This is the first in a series of posts I am planning for every Thursday. From now until the end of the year, I will be sharing my thoughts on our holiday to Orlando.

Orlando was my daughter (16) and myself’s first holiday on our own, our first long haul flight and our first 21 day holiday.

To The Airport (My Rant)

Our journey to Gatwick was a complete disaster. If it had all gone to plan we would have arrived at Gatwick with about 2.5 hours to spare, having a little time to relax before catching our flight.  National Express however had over plans. national_express-bus

Dark clouds hung low in the sky, as we awaited the arrival of National Express. It was 4 am and the sun wasn’t even thinking of raising its head. When the bus finally ar
rived, already late, it was already busy. Myself and my daughter could not find seats together but that didn’t matter, we were about to spend 21 days with each other.

The driver of the bus had a bad attitude to start with. At the next stop he decided he wanted a coffee and fag break, he had only just taken over and the stop was literally 15 minutes from where we began. All of us on the bus watched him bleary eyed, silently willing him to get back on the bus and start carry on the journey.

Unfortunately our driver was not the only delay on our journey. We got stuck in a traffic jam for a over 90 mins, due to an RTA, where someone sadly lost their life. Our driver though insisted that he was going to sit in the lane that was closed for what seemed to be a life time instead of trying to move over into another lane that was actually moving. It was so frustrating.

When we got to Heathrow (the stop before ours), they decided that we were going to change buses. Not just once, but twice. That required moving not just a bus full of people but also their luggage, TWICE.  Due to this we missed our flight. We arrived just in time at Gatwick to see our plane take off. I can not even begin to describe how devastated we both were.

The Flight

Our fligvirgin_atlantichts were booked with Virgin Atlantic and the lady on the desk was wonderful. I cannot remember her name but she was fantastic. I owe so much to her – hats off to the that lady. She got us seats on the next flight, a fast pass through security and she also wavered the cost for my daughter.

We were on our way to Orlando. The flight was smooth. We had a whole row of seats to ourselves, the cabin crew were lovely and so were the other passengers. I watched Star Wars – The Force Awakens, Zootropolis and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. It was all good. Until we landed in Orlando. First we had to wait 30 minutes on the plane before we could depart due to amount of planes that had arrived and then we had to queue for two hours in immigration.

By the time we arrived at our hotel in Walt Disney World to check in, I had been awake for over 24 hours and I was making no sense to anyone. Thank fully my daughter was there and she was a little more awake. Looking back I feel really sorry for the guy who was at the desk. I never saw him again else I would have thanked him. Then we found our room and crashed…

In Review

I am sorry this is a bit of a rant but I wanted to share the experience of our journey with you. If you are planning on going to Orlando in peak season, apparently two hours in the Immigration Queue is quite good. I have had people tell me that they waited 6 or 8 hours in the queue. One person told me, that while she was waiting, the people around her began to throw up. Nice!  

I’m also sorry for the lack of photo’s but i forgot to take any.. I was stressed and tired

!! 

National Express – In this post I have given you the edited highlights of the journey there were a few other things that happened too. I didn’t want to witter on too long…  After sending them a couple of letters complaining about the journey and their decision to take the bus off, they refunded me half of my ticket money. All I wanted was an apology so that was nice of them. However, I am in no hurry to catch a National Express coach again.

NEXT WEEK – WALT DISNEY WORLD (more of a fun post… with photos!!!)

 

 

New For Thursday

An Idea for Thursday. Just a quick intro until next week.

Thursdays. what is so wonderful about Thursdays??? It’s the day after Wednesday and the day before Friday, a link between the middle and the end of the week.

Thursday – “Thor’s” – Day 

Yes, Thursday was really named after the Norse god of Thunder – Thor (no not Chris Hemsworth’s Marvel version). Thor was around a number of centuries before Marvel adopted him.

uioa_thor
Thor – Photo taken at Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios. Florida 2016

Why, am I wittering on about Thursday’s ? I have no idea, but Thursday on this blog, my Blog, is going to be the day I talk about my days out, holidays, trips etc… I like to share my experiences of places. At the moment I don’t travel as much as I like, I really hope that will change in the future.

 

From now until the at least the end of the year. I will be sharing photo’s and experiences of my holiday in Florida.

On Wednesday 27 July 2016, myself and my daughter flew out to Orlando. We spent 21 days there, staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel for 14 nights and a hotel at Universal Studio’s for 7 nights.

We had a fantastic holiday. I want to share the things I enjoyed, also a few hiccups and maybe some stuff that may help others who are planning on taking a trip to Orlando.

So, Next Week I will tell you about our awful journey to the airport (Gatwick), missing our flight and our Walt Disney World Hotel. You know what they say, “the best laid plans”… We had a nightmare of a trip to the airport, but I will explain more next week.

Till then… Toodles x