Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Swan boats on Lake Eola, Orlando

   In September 2012, I was skunked in my attempt to ride a swan boat on Bainbridge Island, Washington. So when I happened on a description of Lake Eola and its swan boats, I knew we'd be headed there.

   We drove up to Lake Eola after arriving in Orlando. Our hotel was south of the city, while Lake Eola is at city center, just up Interstate 4. We planned for a pleasant twilight paddle. Unfortunately, we hadn't allowed for traffic. Rush hour is not really a thing Bangor Maine has (though there are occasional construction delays.) But apparently, in Orlando Florida, there is as much traffic heading into the city during the evening rush hour as there was headed out. It was a long slow slog to the lake, moving a few feet at a time.
Swans await their steads
   When we arrived, there was a parking space right beside the rental, which is by the intersection of Rosalind Avenue and Robinson St. . Swan boat (pedal) and Gondola (motor) boat rentals rent by the half hour, which is enough time to do a couple of lake laps and pretty much as long as anyone wants to pedal a swan boat. The boats are well maintained, but only go at one speed, slow and steady.

   Lake Eola  Park has graced Orlando center since the late 1800's. The path around the lake is just under a mile long. There's a lovely lit fountain in the center, some smaller fountains on the far side, and sculpture scattered around the shore.

    It was pleasant paddling under the moonlight, but I did miss being able to identify birds and other wildlife. Fortunately this black swan posed for us.  Ideally this would be a twilight into evening activity, followed by a dinner at a nearby restaurant, you just need to plan for traffic (or route yourself on smaller roads.)

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