First Encounter

I been working for the past 7 1/2 years for the same environmental laboratory and work there in two different departments. On February 2 I started in a new department for me, after being 7 years in the micro laboratory now I am in the field department. The field department are the ones that collect the water samples for other department to analyzes and see the health of different body of water in Orlando. If you know a little bit about Florida you will know that fresh body of water almost means alligators. I knew, it will happened sooner or later. So, today I had my first encounter!

I had seen alligators on the wild before, but it was on a tour on the Everglades, on a tour that we pay to see alligators and other wild life. In this occasion I am working, they are paying me, but I don’t want to see any alligator. It’s almost impossible to ask for that. They are out there, if you go to any fresh body of water in Florida even if you don’t see them they might be around.

Well here she is…


My co-workers already known her because they go to collect often to that particular site and she is always there, so they told me, they know is a female because she have a nest. Also she is missing an eye, so that makes it easy to know that is her.

Next time I go to that site, I will be looking for her. Or probably she is going to be waiting for us.

Until then,

xamlinnette 🙂


The Train Ride That I didn´t Take


Excited for the plans of the day, I was finishing something at work and then we were off to Mount Dora. Sometimes I have to go to my lab on the weekends, and this was one of those days. I planned during the week that after work on Sunday we were going to explore Mount Dora, one of the things I had my eyes on, was on the train ride. Orange Blossom Cannonball is a 90 minute scenic journey on a steam powered or diesel powered train between Tavares and Mount Dora and vise-versa.

All week-long I keep checking the website for the hours of departure of the train. I wasn’t sure at what time I was going to finish at work and that was the key for me to know at what time we were going to be in Mount Dora or Tavares.I had to confess I was confused on how the hours and tickets worked. Let me explain, they sale the ticket as a round trip but you have to buy the tickets individually. I thought that you buy one ticket for a roundtrip, but in reality you have to buy two tickets for a round trip . Looking at the hours, I realize that the best time for us taking the train was at 3pm. Unfortunately we got there a little after 3pm and the next train was from Tavares to Mount Dora at 4pm. At that moment we were in Mount Dora, we had to drive to Tavares to take the next train but then that is when I notice that even that it said roundtrip,that last trip is only one way. In other words… NO TRAIN RIDE FOR ME 😦

Oh well!! We were there already, so of course we stayed and explore the classy town of Mount Dora. We parked and immediately I felt an invitation to explore and walk around. At the same time, “Mr. Heat” slap me on the face! Thanks God I had a summer dress and sandals, I can’t imagine nobody walking on jeans on such a warm day. Oh Florida summers!


One of the first things that took our attention was the Lakeside Inn, which is located in a dead end street. To be more specific in Alexander St. At first we didn’t know what it was… a house, restaurant, a shop… None of that, it was a hotel with history! Was built in 1883! Can you believe that is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Florida?


Everything around this place looks antique, elegant, cozy and inviting.





Even though we miss the train ride I wanted to see the train coming in to Mount Dora. While walking around my eyes keep looking at the rail road and the time…I didn’t want to miss the train coming in. There were not that many people in town, it was kind of quite. I wonder if is like that every Sunday or it just happens to be quite that day. I wonder if the heat was keeping everybody indoors. It was hot to the point of feeling the air kind of suffocating my lungs. In top of it, my hair was a mess I had to put it all up because the heat and humid environment was not cooperating with me. I guess that could be a good explanation of the emptiness of this elegant town.









Suddenly while sitting on a bench there it was,the diesel engine train arriving from its last trip. When I heard the announcing sound I jump from the bench we were sitting. With enthusiastic face I welcome the train and like a paparazzi I took as many pictures as I could. 🙂






Well here it is the train ride that I didn’t take arriving from Tavares to Mount Dora.


After watching the train, Jorge and me drive to Tavares, but that’s another is another story. I will be posting pictures from Tavares too. About the train I definitely want to take a ride on it. I am very interested to see the scenic route. The only thing that bothers me is the price, I think is a little bit expensive, one way ticket is $11.68 which make the roundtrip $23.36 if you are going with somebody makes the whole thing at $51.99 with taxes. Now I recently discover a groupon for $35 for two people! You can search for train ride and is the only one that will come up, supposedly have only 13 days left… If you are in the Orlando area or Mount Dora, or Central Florida take advantage of this groupon and ride a train in a vintage way. I definitely going to try to do it soon! You will know about it. One last thing, I encourage you to check their website, they offer other kind of fun and different rides, this special occasion rides are exclusive and the groupons can’t be use on this special events. Actually, some of the special event rides looked really interesting for me too… 0____o

Until then…

xamlinnette 🙂





















“Must See” in Orlando FL

In the process of getting ready for our road trip coming this June 2014, I discovered some applications to help me learn about the cities we are going to be visiting (DC and NY). I shared them with you in my last post ( I talked to you about City Walks, which hopefully will be very helpful for what we need in this trip. One thing I notice about this app is that comes for many cities in and out of US. I was curious about the kind of information and suggestion that this application might have for the city of Orlando, where I live.

Everybody knows how touristic is Orlando! I am almost certain that half of the people that comes to central Florida is to go to the amusement parks and the other half of the tourist to visit the beach during the winter season, it’s a lot warmer here in Florida. So, I wanted to know the suggestions besides the amusement parks. For my surprise Disney World is not even mention, neither Sea World. I don’t understand why, but I am sure that neither of those parks need promotion.

One of the places that this app for Orlando mention as a “Must See” is Lake Eola Park and it is one of my favorite places in Downtown Orlando as well.

I understand that people when planning their vacation to Orlando, might not even think of passing by here with so much to do and so many parks in the itinerary. But going to a place without visiting the downtown of the city, is like leaving incomplete! Why coming here, why passing by?

Well, in any vacation (specially if you are visiting all the parks!) you need to whine down, to rest of the rush of visiting everything, you need a day to take it slow and easy… Also it will be good for you to know how people live in Orlando. Not everything is a Cinderella Castle around here and you wont see Mickey Mouse running around the city. Come a take a walk through Downtown Orlando, take a look to the normal side of the city!

You can start your walk at Church Street

During the day you will see cars around, at night the street is close to traffic and only pedestrian are allowed. You can enjoy the nice buildings of this small downtown, but still give you that sense of being in the city.



You will find in here, like in any other city, the bars, the restaurants, old and antique look buildings,the main library, museums and much more.

Because the downtown is not that big, you will be able to find Lake Eola Park without a problem, there are signs everywhere or you can ask, its easy to find. Around the lake you will find inspiring sculptures ( ) and lost of friendly squirrels and birds, but the must important to mention are the swans. We have a community of swans living in the park, there are very well take care and protected.







Around the lake there is a walking or jogging trail, there are restrooms, restaurants, a playground for the little ones, sculptures, paddle boats and more. But the best thing that you can find in here is a time for you to relax in the middle of your vacations.

Until then…

xamlinnette 🙂