Day #15 Captivating Captiva

Saying goodbye to The Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel was sad, and more so as I knew how much Spencer loves Disney. Like REALLY loves Disney. I was dragged around every park several times. I started off with a "Bah Hum Bug" kind of feeling, but as the time there went on I slowly got into the Disney spirit. And now it was time to say goodbye to Orlando.

We decided to have a buffet breakfast in the resort to fill up for our journey to our next destination. It's amazing how quick we got full at the buffet. Especially when they put on so many delicious stodgy foods like French toast bread pudding with pecan praline sauce!

We got to the car hire company and I decided I would drive. Bear in mind this was the first time I had driven outside of Europe, I'm not used to automatic cars and American drivers are far worse than I expected. They weave in and out of traffic like they are racing in a Grand Theft Auto game, undertaking is quite normal here. So Spencer was a bag of nerves in the passenger seat, trying to press a non existent brake with his foot and occasionally grabbing my leg so hard I could have crashed! 

The drive to the Gulf Coast was about 4 hours. It finally started to feel tropical when we crossed a very large bridge to Sanibel Island. This had sadly been terribly damaged by Hurricane Ian last year. A lot of villas and commercial properties had been storm damaged, and many completely gone. I learnt a lot more about this from a lady in the store who was still living in her car with her parrot after her home was completely washed away. She was one of the lucky ones who got rescued. 161 people lost their lives sadly. 

As we crossed onto Captiva island, connected by a bridge, the feel of the properties changed. We were suddenly surrounded by the most beautiful grand beach homes I had ever seen. Later finding out this was dubbed "Millionaires Row".

I first came to Captiva when I was four years old and returned most years after that. My father would drop the family off here for weeks or a month at a time whilst he travelled the States on business. A friend of his had a fabulous beach home. I have so many precious memories of the island. My Mum taught me and my brother Damian to swim here when we were aged 4 here, and the shells on the beach, said to be the best shell beaches on the planet and I built up a huge shell collection over the 20 years we visited the island. So revisiting the island after 20 years was a great joy.

I booked a hotel called Tween Waters Resort and Spa. It was the only hotel on the island. Pulling in it had an old world Floridian charm to it. With a lot of facilities, 3 restaurants, 2 swimming pools and lots of beautiful 1930's cottages. I had forgotten what sort of room I had booked so when we opened the door to a suite with views across the ocean and the setting sun, we were very very happy. 

After a dip in the pool and a taste of the cocktails at the pool bar we went for a lovely walk along the beach to catch the last rays of sun. 

After that we decided to try one of the hotel restaurants. The Shipyard restaurant was cosy and the only restaurant not needing a reservation. The food was excellent and I was glad to see prices were much more affordable than the Disney resorts. 

We both had the most delicious steak dish. Our server Chelsea was a lot of fun and we chatted to her so much the drinks flowed late into the night.