A Travellerspoint blog

Exploring St. Petersburg

January 23, 2013

We started the day with a visit to the Salvador Dali Museum. It is in a fantastic building and of course, his paintings are fantastic in so many ways. The place was full of people and it seemed like it that was normal! Here's a picture of the building.
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We spent a couple of hours there and then went for lunch across the street at the Hangar restaurant. It is located in the local downtown airport, so we sat out on the balcony and watched little planes come and go as we ate.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. A great park with native plants and animals right in the heart of the city. It is beside a lake so there are the waterbirds and animals as well as the dry land ones. We saw a bald eagle chasing an osprey, a couple of racoons, and many different water birds.
After we had supper at home, we drove back downtown to attend a play called "The Piano Lesson" by August Wilson. It was done in a small theatre with a great set. It was showing the lives of black people in the 1930s in Pittsburgh. Very intense, very well done, and almost 3 hours long!

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On Our Own

Tuesday, January 22

This morning Judy and Bill packed up and left for Orlando. They gave us a ride to the airport on their way out of town so we could pick up our rental car. Since we were already on the Tampa side of the bay, we visited the Tampa Bay History Center and spent an enjoyable couple of hours learning about the history of the area. We had lunch at a lovely Thai restaurant that was very close by. Then we drove out to a Manatee Viewing Center, which is at a power plant outside town. The power plant keeps the water of the bay warm right there and so when it is cold out (like today at 69 degrees F) -well, this is Florida - the manatees congregate there to enjoy the warmer water. Apparently, they are very cold sensitive. We did see quite a few of them, but all you see is the bump of their back sticking out of the water and then their nose when they take a breath. Here's a picture Don took of one.
We also saw several large tarpon which were hanging around the viewing platform.
After retracing our steps back into Tampa, we visited the old Tampa Bay Hotel. We had seen photos of it at the History Center and were so intrigued we went to have a look. It was a 500 room hotel, built in 1891 by Henry B. Plant. There is now a section of it which is a museum, and the rest of the large building is being used by the University. It has been preserved to show the late 19th century lifestyle. Absolutely amazing! They have old photographs of the interior hanging in the hallway, so you can see the way the rooms used to look. Here are a couple of photos of it.
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Posted by katdill 18:21 Archived in USA Comments (0)

First Day in St. Petersburg

Monday, January 21

First, the bad news...Albert has run away! He seems to have decided to stay in Venice after we had lunch there yesterday. Yes, it was a great restaurant, but I'm not sure they have any jobs for Albert. Here is his last photo.DSC04346.jpg

We had a very full day. First, we went to downtown St. Petersburg to watch a marching band parade. This was a community centered parade with almost no commercial participants. There were marching bands from churches! Who knew?? There were many kinds of community organizations participating, so many the parade took 2 hours! Most of the groups were giving out plastic bean necklaces in many colours. We could not believe how many there were. Here is a picture of a specially designed belt to hold the necklaces for the person giving them out.
After we had a nice lunch downtown, we drove up to Clearwater to play mini-golf. It was an interesting course and lots of fun. Then it was time to drive over to Tampa - across the bay - so we could have supper and make the Imax theatre show of The Hobbitt, that we had booked online. We all found the movie a little overwhelming on the Imax screen - too big, too close, too fast - but it was interesting and I'd like to see it on a regular screen just to compare.

Posted by katdill 17:10 Archived in USA Comments (0)

St. Petersberg here we come

Sunday, January 20

After packing up, we started for St. Petersberg. We traveled up a secondary highway, closer to the coast, rather than do the interstate. We stopped for lunch in Venice and then later at a lovely beach for a little walk.
We also stopped at Save Our Sea Birds, a rehabilitation centre in Sarasota. It was very interesting to see the birds and read the stories of they were injured and why they were kept at the centre. We arrived at our rental in St. Petersberg, went out grocery shopping and made supper. Then on with the canasta tournament. We've finally got our own internet connection and do not have to go to McDonald's to use their network.

Posted by katdill 19:38 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Calusa Shell Mounds

Saturday, January 19th

Our last full day in Cape Coral. We checked out Cape Harbour and the Bike Rally, which turned out to not be much, but while we were there we booked a sunset cruise to look for dolphins. After visiting the Farmer’s Market and having a yummy lunch there, we drove over to Pine Island. We visited the Randall Research Centre and walked the Calusa Shell Mound Trail. It is pretty amazing. Hills 30 feet high made of old shells and garbage from 2000 years ago. They just kept building up. I guess that’s what happens if you don’t have garbage pickup!
Steps to the top of the mound

Steps to the top of the mound

The sunset cruise was great as well. We saw a pod of four dolphins swim by us and got some pictures. The captain was very knowledgeable about the ecology of the area and we even got a great sunset. There were only 9 of us on the cruise and 6 of us were Canadians. Then we went home and made a great supper with the fresh shrimp we had bought on our way home from Pine Island. Delicious!
Sunset on Cruise

Sunset on Cruise

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