i’ll be the first one to tell you that i’m not super-fond of orlando, even though i grew up 10 minutes outside its city limits. it’s easy to get bogged down in the commercialism of tourist attractions like disney and universal studios and sea world, there’s tons of salmon-colored suburban sprawl and the traffic can be ridiculous.
however. the above assessment is not completely fair, because there are lots of lovely things about the city, all of them located outside the bounds of the tourist traps. you can get some of the best vietnamese food i’ve ever had in orlando, there’s a wealth of antiques shops and independent boutiques and restaurants, and thornton park’s lake eola — where you can ride swan-shaped paddle boats (click the link for a pic! they’re awesome) and see both black and white swans basking in the sun and swimming in the water — is wonderfully walkable.
and that’s exactly what we did last weekend, on a 75-degree saturday: walked several laps around the lake, drank coca-cola slurpees, sat on shady park benches and watched swans swim and families play and picnic in the grass. it was perfect and i would do it again in a heartbeat.
maybe orlando’s not so bad.
photos by me.