"No country that I have ever heard of bears any resemblance to it. (...)
It seems like a vast sea, filled with grass and green trees."
Wrote one of U.S. soldiers who hunted Seminole Indians
in the Everglades in the 19th century.
(from The Swamp, M.Grunwald)
As a “classic” Christmas tourist, I visited Florida every winter for almost twenty years. And, as the majority of tourists seeking sunshine and the heat, I mainly visited the beaches and the fabulous shopping centers of Florida.
Only by living here day by day (and to a certain extent feeling great nostalgia for places left behind in Europe and to some extent out of professional curiosity) I have begun to explore less “touristy” parts of southern Florida.And what I have discovered has surpassed all my imagination.
Florida, the “real” Florida, does not possess an immediate beauty, does not impress you like the Grand Canyon or Machu Picchu. Often it even scares you, with its “annoying”, cumbersome animals which prevent you from venturing happy-go-lucky into nature, its hurricanes and its moist summer heat that frequently takes away your desire to go exploring.
But if you leave behind the crowded beaches and the chaotic cities with their ostentatious wealth and noise, you will discover a land that not all that long ago was regarded as hell on earth or an earthly paradise. A land of contrasts, riches and oddities of nature that can be found in few other places in the world. A land where the relation between the Western person and nature has not been idyllic or just. And where it is only today beginning to be understood just how much has been destroyed – at times, unfortunately, irreversibly. A land of subtle, strong yet fragile beauty, enchanting and spell-binding. A beauty that once it gets under your skin will never leave you.
On this page – my own personal “account”, through images of my encounter with the nature and the landscapes of Florida that have bewitched me since the very first day I set eyes on the cypresses with their feet in water and the ornate heads of the bromeliads.
And this is only the beginning.
There is all Central and Northern Florida awaiting me!
"It is a picture of unsurpassed beauty set in a wonderful frame.......
The whole effect is glorious beyond the power of description."
(Charles Torrey Simpson, from The Swamp, M.Grunwald)
Martin Johnson Heade, The St.Johns River, 1890
Martin Johnson Heade, Lake Alto, 1883