St. Petersburg, Florida
Marie had found, before we left Canada, an Airbnb in St. Petersburg that was close enough for us to be able to return our car and check in early for our flight home, just 15 minutes from the airport. A scheduled 7am departure meant we had to be up at 5am, dress, have breakfast and make a dash to check in. But that would be a few days down the road and we first had to find our home for the next four days. Because we couldn't check in till around 4 pm with our hosts we decided to acquaint ourselves with the city and get our bearings, and wind down from our flight. We found a cute little café for lunch and then wandered down to the waterfront parks and around the Museum of Fine Arts. Although it was a planned beach and just relax vacation we did get to visit a local arts studio one day that was highlighting Dia de los Muertes - A Celebration of Life and also spent one morning wandering about the Saturday market downtown, buying a few gifts and admiring the local produce. I found St. Petersburg, home of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball club and the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team, clean and oddly quiet with very little traffic and crowds. The weather while we were there was gorgeous, temperatures in the mid 80s and sunny. In fact St. Pete has an average of 361 days of sunshine a year and holds the record for the most consecutive days of sunshine - 768! No wonder it is named the Sunshine City.
|Marie cooking in our AirBnB|
|the old Banyan, Crescent Lake|
We both thoroughly enjoyed the Florida Arts show Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) downtown one afternoon as we checked out the vibrant arts scene St. Petersburg is known for. As we have learned over the years from Fernanda this special day focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for those who have died and help support their spiritual journey. This particular show was about the celebration of the lives of those passed. We learned how the Aztecs developed the ritual 3000 years ago because they believed one should not grieve the loss of a beloved ancestor but celebrate their lives with food, drink and music offerings and welcome the return of the spirits to the land of the living once a year. I especially liked the wall of sugar skulls painted by mostly local artists.
|Saturday market, St Pete|
|the lake and water tower in background|
|Crescent Lake, St. Petersburg|
|Pass-a-Grille Beach, St. Petersburg|
|The Don CeSar, the pink palace, St Pete|
|Super Scoops, Treasure Island, St. Pete|
We ate supper our last night there at the Brass Monkey in Pass-a-Grille and stayed to watch the sunset. The food was typical Florida beach fare, tasty but not enough for me - I had the clams. The view was nice though and we were right on the Gulf. The sunset was gorgeous and one of the few things I really like about Florida. We were sorry to leave our very friendly hosts, wishing them the very best in all their future plans and leaving them with a few tips and suggestions for their fairly recent foray into the AirBnB business. Naturally, as we always have, we arrived with lots of time to spare at the airport, returned our car to a very efficient Alamo staff and hung around in the crowded and barebones waiting room Allegiant is known for. A short flight back to Plattsburgh, some shopping before crossing the border and we were back in Montreal for supper, swimming lessons with Amy and William, then home to the last remnants of snow that was quickly disappearing and preparations for summer. gws
|early morning, heading home|