Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tampa and St. Petersburg

November 8-15, 2010

Driving from Key West to St. Pete Beach took most of the day.  The Everglades are flat, flat, flat.  Animals live there.

We arrived at the Gulf Tide Inn there, and stayed for a week.  It is a very comfortable place, and has a great swimming pool to boot.  If you find yourself in that area, we highly recommend the Gulf  Tide Inn.

Besides simply relaxing, we came to the area to visit friends.  Catherine Middleton lives in Osprey, near Sarasota.  She was a bridesmaid in our wedding.  Rob Wilcox, whom we had seen in Key West, was Bruce's best man.  Catherine has a very nice house on a lagoon.  We went with her to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota and also had a great lunch.

Above is the view from her back window.  There were no alligators present while we were there.

The grounds include a circus museum, and also the Ringling mansion where they wintered between traveling seasons.

Sarasota is a comfortable place, and full of retirees.  Suburban, spacious, pristine, homogenous.  You might even call it Zombie Land, except that would imply that Haitians were present and they are not in evidence at all.  Lots of Yankees fans, though.

We also visited our friends Juan and Yoli Capin in Tampa.  We met them and most of the rest of their extended clan on a train "cruise" in Spain in 2000.  Yoli is now on the Tampa City Council, but she took time out of her busy schedule and we had a great time.  Ybor City is the traditional Cuban area of Tampa, and has been for a century.  This group is not mostly refugees from Castro.   Cigar rolling was the main business.

After a relaxing and fun week, it was time to head back to Miami for a few days.

While driving on Alligator Alley from the Gulf to the Atlantic side of Florida, I actually caught sight of an alligator, but the camera was not at the ready.

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