Keeping up with Pia and Alex! At this time we arrived in Tampa and we stay here for a while. It’s a good location for exploring the town itself and go easily to places nearby as such St. Petersburg or Clearwater. Well, we stayed here for two days. Enough time to explore Tampa and get a first glimpse of what is going on in this town and to have a look at St. Pete and Clearwater.
But first things first, …
Day 12 – Tampa
Tampa Downtown and Riverwalk
The day was meant to be to stay Tampa. No crazy driving day or to be stressed out because we want to check in somewhere before sunset. 😀
So we spent the day in Tampa, starting with a stroll at the Riverwalk. Which was so cool, as it is a very beauty and with loving attention to detail designed path side by side with the river.
There are a lot of informative signs and displays about Tampa´s history, an amazing view onto the river and the skyline. We watched at museums, the University of Tampa, the Cass Street bridge, and Manatees. At least, at a sign that this is a Manatee area. Unfortunately, again, we haven´t seen any of them. Two days of looking after them and still not one Manatee appeared. However, we walked down alongside the river and enjoyed this wonderful and relaxed day.
On the way back we walked through the downtown, grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and googled a further opportunity to watch some real Manatees. And we found one!!!
Manatee Viewing Center
The Manatee Viewing Center, located at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, is a brilliant opportunity to watch Manatees. And the best thing is, it´s for free!! Undoubtedly, they appreciate any donations, but to view the Manatees no admission fee is requested. The only thing you need is a little bit of luck. And this day, we were lucky!! Yeah!!
The next day we explored the area around of Tampa. We went to St. Pete for a walk in the art district and had some delicious sweets from a french bakery. The art district is located around central avenue which you could find in the middle of downtown. It´s such a lovely, colorful and relaxed street with little shops and galleries.
But the best in St. Petersburg was the Sawgrass Lake Park. The park is a free possibility to view plants and wild animals like birds and alligators. We walked on elevated boardwalks winding through the maple swamp and ended up at an observation tower to get a panoramic view of the Sawgrass Lake. We found a huge alligator with its babies, turtles, and some chicks with their mother in a nest. It was awesome. An absolutely indescribable experience. This park is definitive worth a visit and if you don´t you really have missed something.
As pretty St. Pete and unbelievable the Sawgrass Lake Park was, as disappointing was Clearwater Beach. We hoped to find one more beach with white sand and crystal blue water. Instead, it was just another touristy styled with high towers of hotel chains cluttered area where to expect one more packed beach with people laying on their beach towels as close as sardines in their can. However, we had a little walk at the beach and on the Pier as long it was admission free.
Both of us were certain about to not stay here, therefore we hurried to flee to another more laid-back and silent place with something to eat, which we found at the Bahama Breeze restaurant near Tampa. I had some delicious Ahi Tuna with Nachos and an unbelievable awesome Guacamole and as a dessert a Bermuda-styled rum cake. The location offered an awesome overlook on to Tampa Bay and a literally Bahama breeze, we had a delicious dinner which made the experience in Clearwater beach almost be forgotten.
We headed back to our hotel in Tampa and call it a day with laying at the pool followed by a homelike evening watching TV.
Day 20 – Miami