Orlando to Miami
03.07.2013 - 03.07.2013 30 °C
Up early for the last time and left Orlando at 7.45 am for the hour drive to the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral.
We arrived 15 minutes before it opened and there was hardly anyone there. We were given our tickets and stood in line waiting for it to open. I should say at this stage that I was mortified to hear that we were going to be here until 1.15 pm! I was so bored at the Smithsonian Aeronautical and Space Museum in Washington, so what was this going to be like? Promptly at 9.00 am, a guy on the loud speaker welcomed us and then they played the American National Anthem. All the Americans in the queue put their hand over their heart. Then it rained on us and stopped as quickly as it started.
There are a lot of things to see here and also a bus ride over to see the launching pad and Saturn V, which takes some time. First we went into the imax theatre and watched a presentation on Atlantis. It has only been on display for a couple of days and we were very lucky to see it. It hadn't been cleaned up at all and is still in the original condition that it was last time it came back to earth. It was a fantastic presentation and then the screen rose, and there it was in all its glory. Wow, what a sight! We wandered around looking at all the displays. They really have done it well.
We hopped on a bus and drove over to see the launching pad. On the way we passed the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), which is where they construct the space craft and was once the third biggest building in the world. China has now built the biggest shopping centre in the world, so the VAB is now the fourth biggest building in the world. The flag painted on the side is the largest hand painted flag in the world.
We hopped back on the bus and went to see Saturn V. Same thing - a movie presentation about America's space race with the Russians and then into another theatre where we sat overlooking the actual command centre where it all happened. We witnessed the countdown to takeoff and then everything shook as the rocket launched and headed for space. It was quite an emotional moment. Have had a lot of them this trip!
Then the doors opened and there she was - Saturn V. It was lying on its side, suspended from the ceiling and cut into sections. The first thing we saw were the boosters. They were enormous. The whole thing was simply awe-inspiring. It really does leave the Smithsonian for dead. We took heaps of photos and wandered around looking at the exhibitions. We touched some moon rock.
Back on the bus for the ride back to the visitors centre. Our bus driver this time was a lady who was about one hundred and ten, not out! And as she was driving, kept looking at her notes for her narration. Not great attention to safety here.
Our visit to the Kennedy Space Centre was a definite highlight of our trip. It was so well done and so many exciting things to see, even for girls! The only thing that drove us crazy was the "star wars music" that was piped throughout the whole complex, indoors and outdoors.
We had time for a quick lunch before it was time to leave. We had hot dogs, fries and Pepsi! OMG! We have turned into Americans.
Only four hours to go on the bus and we will be in Miami and at the end of our trip.
Our arrival into Miami was a bit slow as we got caught up in a traffic jam, but then we got going much to the relief of the Irish family as they needed to get to the airport to catch their flight home to Ireland. We all jumped off the bus in front of the Dorchester where some of the group are staying. Some of us are moving to other hotels and some were going straight to the airport. Because we didn't have name tags, people didn't make the effort to mix and learn each others names, so consequently, at the end of the trip, there were not many fond goodbyes. It was the most impersonal trip we have ever been on. Even as late as yesterday, people were getting on the bus who looked totally unfamiliar to me! We hurriedly said goodbye to the Irish family, whom we had become friends with. Also, John and Adam from the UK and Rhys and Denise from Pottsville, NSW. If we had name tags and a welcome and farewell function, then I am sure that people would be more inclined to mix in and get to know each other. Just as a comparison. There were tears and hugs at the end of our Trafalgar tour and now we have started emailing each other.
There are some lovely retro buildings in Miami, especially in the street where our serviced apartment is, the Churchill Crown Apartments in Collins Street, apartment 909. Our apartment is huge, clean and comfortable. It has a balcony that overlooks the ocean. It will be a good haven to recharge our batteries before the long flight home.
Here is the view from our apartment.
We went for a walk, found a supermarket and bought some food for breakfast. Then we found a fabulous Italian Restaurant, not even a block away from our apartment. The food was delicious and so was the sangria! I am developing a taste for it.
Finally into bed after a long but enjoyable and interesting day.