Adventures of Two Germans In Florida

These are the Adventures of Two Germans In Florida. Katharina Illing, and my friend Ewald Gleich. We both live in Biblis, Germany. This is the story of our three week vacation in Inverness, Florida in the USA.

Adventures of Two Germans In Florida

Adventures of Two Germans In Florida

by Katharina Illing

for

The International Travel Herald

 

Photo of Kaethe Illing and Ewald Gleich For the article Adventures of Two Germans In Florida
Kaethe Illing and Ewald Gleich Photo courtesy of Ewald Gleich

 

Adventures of Two Germans In Florida

These are the “Adventures of Two Germans In Florida”, myself Katharina Illing, and my friend Ewald Gleich. We both live in Biblis, Germany. This is the story of our three week vacation in Inverness, Florida in the USA.

These are the Adventures of Two Germans In Florida, Recently I, Katharina Illing, and my friend Ewald Gleich, from Biblis, Germany were able to go to Inverness, Florida in the USA. While there, we were guests of our good friend Rick Stoneking Sr. of Inverness. So, I decided the title of my article would be Adventures of Two Germans In Florida.

 

City Sign for Inverness, Florida used for the article Adventures of Two Germans In Florida
City Sign for Inverness, Florida

First, we made our long flight from Germany to Atlanta, Georgia. While there, we had to change planes. Following this, Ewald and I flew on to Tampa International Airport. Of course, Rick picked us up and drove us back to his home in Inverness. Since it was late when we arrived, we went to bed early.  Afterward, we arose refreshed the following morning.

Adventures of Two Germans In Florida

First, our adventures began with a trip to the Super Walmart for groceries. It is an enormous all in one store that has everything from Apples to household goods to toys. In fact, it is basically a one stop store for everything you could want. The many visits to this store were truly Adventures of Two Germans In Florida. Especially for Ewald. For him it was like a tremendous adventure.

While there, we had a wonderful time, and were able to see so many things. In addition, we met so many interesting people. So, here are some of our highlights of the Adventures of Two Germans In Florida.

Liberty Park in Inverness, Florida

First, we visited Liberty Park located at Lake Henderson. It is only a few minutes walk from the city center. The lake has alligators so swimming was not allowed. On the lake shore one can sometimes see live alligators. We also did not want to get eaten by an alligator. We saw many birds and beautiful rich vegetation. Ewald and Rick photographed like world champions.

Square collage with four photos of Liberty_Park_In_Inverness_FL with Kaethe and Ewald for the article Adventures Of Two Germans In Florida
Liberty_Park_In_Inverness_FL

 

Adventures of Two Germans In Florida

While in the park, we stood in front of the monument from September 11, 2001. We paused to read the Inscription on the monument that said: Pentagon Flight 93 Never forgotten. September 11 was a sad day for America and the rest of the civilized world

 

 

 

In addition, Liberty park is part of a triangle of sorts.  Across the park stood a red caboose. We learned it was from the railroad that passed through Inverness long a go.  It was called The Atlantic Coast Line Rail Depot, 315 N Apopka Ave, Inverness, Florida 33451 .

 

Photo of the Red Caboose of The Atlantic Coast Rail line used for the article Adventures of Two Germans in Florida
Red Caboose from the The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad

 

Adventures of Two Germans In Florida

The little red caboose of the old Atlantic Coast Railroad still exists. It is located on North Apopka Avenue near the Withlacoochee State Trail. In addition, it is another of Florida’s most popular tourism destinations for locals and out of towners. As well, this includes Kaethe Illing and Ewald Gleich seen here.

 

Cooter Park And The Cootle Turtle

In addition, just a few yards away from Liberty Park was Cooter Park Obviously we loved the cooter turtles.ere we took pictures of a Cooter Turtle statue to include in my article -Adventures of Two Germans In Florida.

Images of Florida Cooter Turtle with Kaethe and Ewald at Cooter Pond for the article Adventures Of Two Germans In Florida
Florida Cooter Turtle

 

Elvis Presley Adventure

I have always loved Elvis Presley. So I was looking forward to seeing the Old Courthouse Museum exhibit in Inverness. It was there that Elvis Presley got the entire town of inverness “All Shook Up”! The old courthouse, on the second floor. is where Elvis Presley did the entire courtroom scene for the movie “Follow That Dream“.  Oh, Elvis, the heartthrob of my youth!  Clue: If you enlarge the photo, you can see Elvis Presley looking out the window directly over the memorial.

Kaethe Illing and Ewald Gleich of Biblis, Germany in front WW1 Memorial at the Old Historic Courthouse where Elvis Presley filmed “Follow That Dream” in 1961. Photo by Rick Stoneking Sr. For The International Travel Herald
Kaethe Illing and Ewald Gleich of Biblis, Germany in front WW1 Memorial at the Old Historic Courthouse where Elvis Presley filmed “Follow That Dream” in 1961. Photo by Rick Stoneking Sr. For The International Travel Herald

 

Old Courthouse Heritage Museum

The old courthouse building is today the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum. The old courtroom from the Elvis film was almost completely restored like the original.

 

Sign for the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum in Inverness, Florida For the article Adventures Of Two Germans In Florida
Sign for the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum in Inverness, Florida by Ewald Gleich. It was built in 1912. The now famous architects wereJ. Reginald MacEachron, and  Willis R. Biggers
Our Tour Guide, ??? with Ewald Gleich at the Old Historic Courthouse
Our excellent and extremely knowledgeable Tour Guide, Steve Hrycaj, with Ewald Gleich at the Old Historic Courthouse Museum.  The Old Courthouse Museum in Inverness, Florida is a true educational experience about Florida’s history you will not want to miss. Great for homeschool family trips.

But that is just a part of the museum. There are many displays and artifacts there as well. These tell about the early settlers, the Seminole Indian tribe, and life early in Florida. Rick lives in Inverness but said I could share a little secret.  Rick told me that one of Citrus County’s well kept secrets is the beautiful music by bands from all over the USA come to play at this wonderful Old Courthouse Heritage Museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pine Island on the Gulf of Mexico

Alfred McKethan Pine Island Park Weeki Wachee, Florida 2017

This was a truly wonderful family friendly park with a beautiful sand beach. It was a beautiful day. And we hoped to admire the sunset. First, we swam in the in almost warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, it was a wonderful sand beach or beach. The sand consists of 99% quartz. Furthermore,  the beach and sea did not have a single stone. This made the water and swimming beautiful.

 

Amazing Sunsets

Following the day’s fun, the highlight was the sunset. In particular we had wanted to see the sunset. Rick told us how beautiful it was and we were not disappointed. I have no words to describe it. Amazingly beautiful. In fact, the sunlight changed from minute to minute. Just before the sun was setting in the sea, the beach and the palms appeared red.

Beautiful Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico at Alfred-McKethan-Pine-Island-Park in Hernando Florida. For the article Adventures of Two Germans In Florida
Beautiful Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico at Alfred-McKethan-Pine-Island-Park in Hernando Florida. For the article Adventures of Two Germans In Florida

 

Kennedy Space Center – NASA

We had the opportunity to take a two day trip to the Kennedy Space Center and the surrounding area. At the Space Center we visited the NASA facility. The Atlantis Building was the most impressive. We spent most of the time there. But before going to the Atlantis building we took pictures with an Astronaut. We also were able to hear a NASA briefing. So exciting are the things they do there.

Big Blue NASA Ball with NASA in white letters at Kennedy Space Center for use in the article - Two Germans In Florida

 

About the Atlantis Space Shuttle

The NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis is named after the research vessel Atlantis. In April 1984 it was completed and had her maiden flight in October 1985. Cost point -196 billion USD. The Atlantis was the pride of the USA.

 

The original Atlantis Shuttle was  located in a huge building.  Everything looked so much bigger up close. Rick was quite happy about the accessibility NASA provided. He drove his wheelchair all over the building and the rest of the complex easily.  But Ewald was always off on his own adventures. We always called – Where is Ewald? Ewald was everywhere, just not with Rick and I.

 

NASA Assemby Building

 

 

 

Kaethe & Ewald With Astronaut for the article Two Germans In Florida
Kaethe & Ewald With Astronaut

 

Photo of the Space Shuttle Atlantis with cargo bay doors open and grappling arm extended for the article two Germans in Florida
Space Shuttle Atlantis with Cargo Doors open and grappling Arm extended
Heroes and Legends Exhibit at NASA for the article two Germans in Florida
Heroes and Legends Exhibit at NASA for the article two Germans in Florida

 

NASA – Gets An “A” For Accessibility

Everything is accessible at NASA. Even the shuttle buses. We all rode on a shuttle bus through the vast expanse of NASA. It was all so amazing. The launch ramps of the rockets. and the rockets themselves were an experience for me to see.  They are enormous!

We returned from the shuttle adventure back to finish seeing all their is to see at the Atlantis Exhibit.  As always calling – Where is Ewald?  As it was time to close Rick and I were looking all over the hall for Ewald but got lost in the giant facility. Most of the lights had been turned off, but still enough light to get around. Finally, we found a worker there who was able to show us the way out.  Fortunately, we finally found Ewald.

It was already dark when we left the Nasa area so we spent the night at a small motel.

 

Adventures at Cocoa Beach

Finally, the next day on the way home, Rick took us to the world famous Cocoa Beach. While there we visited a State Park. It is only a few miles from the Kennedy Space Center. Of course, we had the pleasure of swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. Surprisingly, we were in clear view of passing cruise ships and even a tanker. For Ewald and I, it was a great time. But it wasn’t for Rick.

Surprisingly to us, commercial interests have bought up almost the entire coastline. Obviously we did not want to get an expensive hotel room just to go to the beach. So,  Rick finally found a small little state park – Lori Wilson State Park –  with access to the beach. We were excited at first when we saw the boardwalks. So we thought, Rick will have no trouble going to the beach.  Surprisingly, and most unfortunate, every one of the boardwalks stopped about 100 yards short of the beach. As a result, Rick was able to get within one hundred yards of the beach, but then unable to go further. Obviously, wheelchairs and electric scooters cannot travel through the soft sand.  However, Rick insisted we enjoy the ocean, while he sat 100 yards away at the end of the boardwalk.

Late in the evening, we were happily back at home with Rick. We were all exhausted and went straight to bed.

 

Adventures at Homosassa Springs

Indeed, visiting Homosassa Springs was a true highlight for me. Also, the actual name of the park is Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

r the article Two Germans in Florida
Boat ride by Ewald Gleich for the article Two Germans in Florida

 

Florida Alligator in Water by Ewald Gleich for the article Two Germans in Florida

 

The Riverboat Ride

First, we enjoyed a boat trip to the Homosassa Springs Park on the Pepper Creek. The boat went slowly and silently through the water. and was terrific. Pure nature. we saw birds, full of colors, herons wading on the shore in the water and looking for food. Turtles sunning themselves on tree trunks. As always we saw quite cozy alligators. But I would never get too close to them, I have great respect for these animals.  Most of the birds, animals, and manatees are wild and visit the park or live in the park on their own. However, some of the animals are from rescues because they have been injured or sick. In addition, to many other animals, three manatees (mammals) are well cared for.

 

The Walking Trails

Finally, at the end of the boat trip we arrived at the Park. There we began a round trip along several trails. Here one could admire many bird species. However, the thing I wanted most was to see the Manatees. At last we came to the Manatee exhibit, my favorite among many animals.  You can see the manatees every day during the park’s special Manatee exhibit and feeding times.

Photos of Florida Manatees

Also, during certain times of the year you can see them from the park’s underwater observatory in the main part of the spring. From only a few feet away, we could see them as they came up for food provided by the park rangers. Such magnificent creatures. Want to learn more about Manatees? Check out Manatee on Wikipedia.  Rick said this is a great opportunity for Homeschool families.

 

The Underwater Observatory

The underwater observatory is also a highlight in this park. Here we could admire and photograph many kinds of fish through a panorama observatory. Until the last minute we enjoyed the Homosassa Park. Of course, the shuttle had to wait for us because we were late looking all around saying – Where is Ewald?

 

Fort Cooper State Park – Seminole Indian and Settlers Reenactment

Our trip to Fort Cooper State Park in Inverness was truly a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, it was to short. I love history. The Fort Cooper City Park is a Historic Park and is located 2 miles south of Inverness.

Most of all, we had the chance to visit during The Fort Cooper Days. This event takes place annually in March. It is a reenactment of the Seminole Indian wars and represented the events. of that time.  Unfortunately we arrived late on their last day. Since I want to visit Florida again, I hope to visit Fort Cooper Days again to experience all of the event.

Fort Cooper Photos by Ewald Gleich for “The International Travel Herald”
Photos at Fort Cooper by Ewald Gleich for “The International Travel Herald”

 

 

 

 

 

More Fort Cooper Photos by Ewald Gleich for “The International Travel Herald”

 

Fort Cooper Photos by Ewald Gleich for The International Travel Herald article Adventures of Two Germans In Florida

Fort Cooper Presents Historic Florida

We saw tents from that historical time with people dressed as Florida settlers in authentic dress. They sold self-made crafts in the fashion made during the time period. These were small works of art. The people were very nice and ready to take photos. Sometimes it was very funny too.

Fort Cooper State Park has much to  behold about fawn and fauna. There are wild animals like white-bellied deer, bobcats, owls, herons and so much more. In Lake Holathlikaha we unfortunately could not swim, the water level did not allow it. Otherwise there is a lively life with boating and paddling. In the afternoon,

 

Airboat Ride Adventure

Finally, on the last day before we had to fly back home, Ewald and I went on an exciting airboat ride. It was so exciting, and so much fun.  An airboat is a propeller-driven watercraft very popular in the southern United States.

The airboats travel on inland waters through the marshes and flat waters. The area we went through included marshes with alligators, crocodiles and birds that I have never seen before. The boat glided over the surface of the water and we enjoyed animals and fauna. When the driver would make sharp turns we got a shower. At that moment, I was glad was wearing Rick’s waterproof jacket. After leaving the boat we explored the surroundings.  Sadly, because of Rick’s spinal problems, he could not go on the airboat ride with us.

 

Ewald in front of an Airboat in Inverness, Florida
A typical Airboat used in Florida Marshes and waterways

Riding the Airboat by Ewald Gleich for "The International Travel Herald".for the article Adventures of Two Germans In Florida.

Riding the Airboat by Ewald Gleich for “The International Travel Herald”for the article Adventures of Two Germans In Florida

 

A Special Meal

Rick’s aunt MaryEllen joined us. She was celebrating her 73rd birthday that day. She wanted Ewald to prepare a special German meal that she really liked. So, that evening, Ewald prepared a genuine German meal for MaryEllen’s birthday It is what we Germans call Rouladen . Ewald made Rindsrouladen with mashed potatoes and other dishes..

Special Meal called Rouladen For Aunt MaryEllen for the article Adventures Of Two Germans In Florida
Special Meal For Aunt MaryEllen

MaryEllen was thrilled with the excellent meal.  MaryEllen had a German friend who spoiled her with German cuisine. I must give Ewald a very big praise.

Ewald’s Adventures

Adventures of Two Germans In Florida would not be complete without mentioning Ewald’s special adventures.  Ewald went many times to Walmart and shopped with great  enthusiasm. At Walmart you can buy everything your heart desires, However, Rick would only buy fruit. eggs and vegetables fresh from “Fresh Foods Market”.  He wanted true organic items and to support the local farmers. So, to Rick’s great delight, Ewald conjured up a wonderful German meal every day we were there.

 

Summary

Goodbye Inverness, Florida

These were the Adventures of Two Germans In Florida, boldly going where they had never gone before. Goodbye Inverness Florida, It was wonderful. God willing, I will see you again!

About These Three Friends

Katharina (Kaethe) Illing

Katharina (Kaethe) Illing wrote this article on Adventures of Two Germans In Florida. Katharina is a 79 year young retiree from Biblis Germany. She is an active member of the VDK. Kaethe loves traveling, and has been to several countries. In addition, she loves her bicycle and often rides with her bike friends up to 50 kilometers in one day. Moreover, when Kaethe is not cycling, she spends lots of time in her garden. At 79, she is a very active young woman. Ewald Gleich is one of Kaethe’s best friends, and a frequent travel companion. Kaethe introduced Rick to Ewald, and the three have become best friends.

 

Ewald Gleich

Ewald Gleich is 60 years old. He is a trained nurse, and works at the Diakonie station in Bensheim / Bergstraße. In addition, Ewald is an active municipal politician in Biblis. Also, Ewald is active in the VDK. Ewald likes to spend his spare time with his family. He has 5 children and 13 grandchildren. He would love to see them more often, but his spare time does not allow it. His hobbies are cooking (which he does very well), and politics. Ewald loves traveling with his best friend.

 

Rick Stoneking Sr.

Rick is a retired, disabled veteran, minister, and former Federal Agent. He is the Founder/Owner of International Publishing Group, LLC™ (IPG). International Travel Reviews™ is now a division of IPG. ITR is the Publisher of “The International Travel Herald”™. Their journalists and travel writers conduct travel reviews and write travel articles.

 

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