Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Friday, March 1, 2013

St Petersburg, Florida

Not to be confused with the one in Russia, which would have been somewhat of a detour for us!

We were quite pleased to avoid the high cost and inconvenience of the public transport and instead take advantage of the shuttle service between Seaworld Orlando and Busch Gardens in Tampa.  The service is free if you have a ticket to the park, but even if you don't, it is only $10.  And in fact, they never charged us anyway.  So from there we just had to get the rest of the way to St Pete on the local buses.
Mind you, there is not a lot of public transport between the two.  It is OK on weekdays during commuter hours, as there are buses then, but otherwise no buses go across the very, very long bridge that connects the two towns.  So plan carefully if you are doing this journey!

St Pete is a nice little town.  It was very warm while we were there, so perfect for just wandering along the sea front or the pier with its rather unusually shaped pavilion.  Along the pier we we watching a pelican preening itself, when we got taking to a couple who were fishing.  They were British, and spent half of their year at their second home here.

There were lots more pelicans at the end of the pier and we realised why when we saw that there was a guy selling bags of fish so that people could feed them.  We watched one woman wave her fish around while she decided who to throw it to, only to find that when she did throw it, it was grabbed in mid air by a swooping gull.  She learned from that and threw them quicker and lower from then on.

It is a great place to sit in or outside a restaurant and chill out. There are a few museums and so forth, but actually it is good to just people watch.  And if you were going to sit on a bench, then two particular ones were the most interesting; both had sculptures sat at one end, one an alligator dressed in women's clothing, the other an elephant dressed in men's.

We were particularly amused by all of the women taking out their little dogs, often tiny chihuahuas or poodles, in baby buggies.  We would often see them with a buggy with a couple of little dogs sat in it.  They never seemed to actually walk, just go for a ride.

I was slightly less amused though, in fact initially just a little concerned, when an egret started making towards me with a definite purpose and a glint in its eye.  I did think for a minute that it was coming to take a peck at me.

So I was quite relieved when I realised that it was heading for the bush next to me, and more specifically a lizard on the bush.  With one quick dart it had the lizard in its beak.  That was his dinner sorted then.

Over the time we were there, we went to the local market, which was a fairly typical European style market, with lots of food stalls.   It might have been quite good to try some of the food as it looked tasty, but it was so hot that day that neither of us could be bothered to eat and just wanted to find somewhere shady to have a drink.

We also went to the Dali museum.  Nic rather likes Dali, whereas I am less taken by it.  But neither of us had realised the variety of his work.  Whenever I thought of Dali it was of the surrealist melting clocks and such like, but in fact he had a broad spectrum of work and some of it is very good.  I'm still not sure that I enjoy his stuff, but I am rather more impressed by it that I used to be.

It was also quite an interesting building.  It is a new one designed specifically to house this collection. I don't know whether I would especially have thought that it was relevant to him or his work, but then again as we have already established, I know little about either.  Certainly there was a very nice spiralling walkway.

We discovered that Tuesday has special offer on tapas in a couple of places.  That was the day we arrived, so we ended up having tapas twice, once in a nice Italian place for a late lunch, and then as a top up in the evening in a place that had live music.  Both were great.

We also found a few good places for a drink.  There were a number of busy bar/clubs that looked fine, but we opted for a couple that were recommended to us; Ruby's Elixir had tasty cocktails and good live music with the band encouraging visiting musicians and singers to take a turn, and Euphorium which was laid back and had an excellent selection of beers.

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