Monday, April 7, 2014

The Hotel Between

It's a bit hard to follow up the excitement of a Scavenger Hunt weekend, but I did promise you dear readers a post about my exciting week in Orlando . . . so here you go!

As we were riding along in our taxicab, chatting with the cab driver about his days in the army and the fifteen foot alligator he saw down the street--you know, all things you talk to Orlando cab drivers about--I spotted a certain building on the horizon. Now I knew were going to stay in a resort hotel. Rohan was attending a work conference all week, and I was going along for company. I figured it would be nice.

I just didn't figure it would be this:

I think my jaw was down about my ankles by the time we had stepped into the lobby. The lobby which was hung with tapestries. Tapestries of peacocks.

Do you know how I feel about peacocks? I used to dream about owning a pet peacock whom I would walk about on a leash and who would live in my back garden. (You can probably guess that this wasn't a recent dream.) Now I will dream of owning a tapestry of peacocks.

Sadly I forgot to get a picture of these tapestries. But you see that image on the wall to the left? There were peacocks.

Later on when Rohan and I trotted over to check out the convention center side of things, we found an entire foyer with a, like, bazillion foot ceiling, which was also painted in peacocks. (I forgot to get a picture of that too. Sorry.) I was beginning to think peacocks would be the animal of the trip . . . but that was before the alligators.

More on that later.

So we checked in and then stepped from the lobby in to the main courtyard, which looks like this:

The chatty cab driver told us that this hotel boats more than four acres of indoor forest to be explored. Of course I didn't see it from this view right away! The first thing I saw after stepping through the pillars and tapestries of the lobby was this:

That's right. A waterfall. An indoor waterfall surrounded by blooming tulips.

We wended our way down various winding tracks, searching for our room. This is a bit more difficult than is typical in a hotel, but we were provided with a map.
And there were convenient little signs along the way.

We were almost to our room at this point!

The path was bordered with hydrangeas!

And there! Take a left down the passage next to the fountain, and there you have our room!

I will say, the actual room itself was nothing to shout about. It wasn't shabby by any means. It just wasn't special like the rest of the hotel. A good place to work without distraction, which was just as well since I'd brought a ton of work to do.

But that first evening, we had to time go explore the hotel.

Now I want you realize two things. 1) I realize that in Orlando, nothing is real. There aren't really ruined castle turrets to be found in the passageways of this hotel. It's all fake and show.


There were also random, gloomy passages lit by chandeliers and filled with old wine barrels. I'm just sayin'.

And just when you thought you'd got lost in the twists and turns of rather-too-perfectly-maintained-to-believe jungle and ruined castles suddenly . . .

. . . you would emerge in a beautiful little courtyard where coffee shops and frozen yogurt abound.

Of course we stopped for frozen yogurt:

Behold our strange frozen yogurt sundae. This is what happens when two people with very different tastes decide that they should share.

Icky walnuts. Blah! But otherwise, mmmmmm.
 Part of our view while enjoying our frozen yogurt was of this thing.

Can we call it a gazebo? Can something so glorious be so simply labeled?
Naturally we had to climb up to it just to see what it was all about. By then Rohan was tired of being made to pose for the camera:

I made him take a selfie with me then promised I would be the camera model henceforth.

Two tired but happy jungle explorers.
We got to the top of the gazebo-thing. It was, of course, impressive.
Pretty roof!
Me taking over as camera model.

Here was the view looking down at the coffee shop.
 A winding path on this level led us to the tops of some of the turrets.

Looking out for besiegers.

  Here's what the path looked like. See the rooms up all around? We didn't have one of those nifty little balconies, but I have pretty bad vertigo, so that's okay!

But the best part of all was this dark, winding, cavernous trail . . . 

 . . . which led at last to . . . .


Okay, so they weren't big old fifteen-footers such as our cab driver spoke of. But still! They were alligators! In our hotel! And not in a cage either. I mean, there were fences and little waterfalls and things between us and them. But it was still all very open!

All the turtles seemed to like the alligators too. Several times when I walked by, I would see three or four turtles piled up on top of a gator. (I would say they were "snuggling," but I'm not sure if anything that scaly is capable of snuggles.)

What more can I say? We went for sushi at a restaurant called Sora. Yup. I kept thinking of Hri Sora. Do you think she likes sushi?

And on the last night, we went for dinner on this sweet little schooner. I had the best tuna tartare I've ever had, and Rohan made short work of an excellent fish-n'-chips.

I think that's about it, folks! It was a gorgeous vacation. Well, not really a vacation. Rohan was busy attending conference functions, and I was working like crazy on a variety of Rooglewood Press projects. But still, it was a gorgeous getaway. And we got to play in the pool, which looked like this, so that was awesome.

 Back to the real world now. But I don't mind so much. It's nice to be back to the furry faces of Rooglewood . . .


Meredith said...

What fun! And, that hotel sounds amazing! So glad you had a chance to get away for a while. Vacations are always wonderful and so is coming home. God bless you.

Rebekah said...

Can I just say how very awesome this is - and I do mean that in the true sense of the word; that is so awe inspiring. It's also inspiring me with JEALOUSY.

Hannah said...

!!!!!GASP!!!!!!! By all the Lights above, this is by far one of favorite posts you've done in a long while, Anne Elisabeth! Oh, oh, oh, my. Each thing you said had me chuckling and each picture you showed had me gasping. Gracious goodness, what a wonderful blessing for you and Rohan! Thank you so much for sharing!

Anna said...


Is there anything more to say? :)

Sarah Pennington said...

Oh. My. Thrice. Baked. Pumpernickel. That is . . . wow. Seriously wow. I want to stay there.

Unknown said...

Oh, that hotel is lovely! Pretty much the only place I've been in Orlando is Disneyworld...and I'm quite okay with that. :P

Kathleen said...

That's sooooo cool! When you talked about the peacocks it reminded me of my friend who had a wild one at her house for a several months, when I went to her house we fed it and played with it. I really enjoyed reading this post :) I love waking up to check your blog!

Unknown said...

Goodness gracious! What a trip! And what pictures! : ) We await the fan art contest eagerly. (Especially 'cause it's on a Friday, and Friday's look really good from this end of the week!)

Galadriel said...

Wooooooo, gorgeous

Becky said...

So much fun! That place is gorgeous. I'm so glad you two had such a great time. Every time I see some beautifully amazing thing that mankind has created, I remember the verse,
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Then I think--Wow, if our jaws are dropping now...[smiles].

Thanks for taking the time to share, Anne Elisabeth. The Gaylord Palms is definitely on my list of places to check out if I every find myself in Orlando. (You never know.)

Joy said...

Wow, what a truly amazing place! So beautiful and exciting... perhaps it is the fact that you still got to work that made it special too, because it was so different and refreshing - quite an inspiration, I'd imagine!!

a wonderful blessing, I am glad you had this opportunity :).

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