Sarasota (Lido Key) – 2nd November

Small room but good location very close to beach and St Armand’s Circle.

Enormous house special meal at Mexican Cantina on St Armand’s. Couple of trips to Outback on US41 and also to Gecko’s Bar/Grill. Had to drive to these.

Day at Ringling Museum and house. Lots of circus stuff, arty statues, and art gallery. Day at downtown Sarasota including chalk festival. Day at Siesta Key, which was nice but possibly not worth all the hype it gets. Anna Maria Island was more picturesque.


Treasure Island – 28th October

Short drive down via Largo Mall to pick up a cell phone, then back over to Gulf Boulevard to a good little motel on Treasure Island. No reservation, so bookes in on arrival for 5 nights.Heated pool, just across from the beach with balcony and good sized room.

Changed big wedge of Stirling at Fifth Third bank.

Day trip to Fort DeSoto, short bike ride, wander round fort.

Day trip to downtown St Petersburg, and pier. Then on to St Pete’s beach and Pass-a-Grille again.

Attempted visit to Treasure Island Athletic club (twice). Travel Tip: If you are a visitor and want to spend a day at a gym, don’t bother with this place. The door is locked and there is never anybody behind the desk, only members can get in and out with a pass code. Look elsewhere for somewhere that actually has some staff!

Couple of meals in, a few out including walk up to Bubba Gumps at Johns Pass. Worth the walk for the shrimpers catch.

Drive down to Lido Key, Sarasota via Bradenton (mall and river walk) and Anna Maria Island.

Indian Rocks Beach – 26th October

Guesthouse best described as “quirky” but not necessarily in a bad way. Owner found out the back weeding the garden. Assortment of beach items available for use Checked in and headed across road to beach, armed with deckchairs and body board. Windy, surf looked good but was crap, waves dying too quickly.

Dinner at Guppys, looked like a shack but posh inside. Busy, had to wait for table.

Next day cloudy, wandered down to Red Lion to try to watch football, wasn’t on but owner was a decent chap and managed to tune it in. Shit game though but not his fault. Ordered BLT and a pint of Smithwicks. It was the second largest bacon sandwich I have ever had (will struggle to beat Miami 2004) but managed to finish. Side order of fries was not required after all though.

Mexican for dinner. Also huge. Long walk back to burn it off though.

Clearwater Beach – 19th October

Turtle statues on beach. Free can of Monster. Day by the pool and day on beach. Shopping (involuntary).

Went to Hulk Hogan’s gym. Hulk not present so unable to show him up. Hot inside but broke personal best. Shoulders hurting for next 3 days.

Day trip on trolley / local bus to St Pete’s municipal beach (lunch), Pas-a-Grille (beachside beer), Treasure Island (kite festival & beachside beer), Sand Key (knackered, too much walking!).

Day trip to Caladesi Island, long walk up a great beach. Attempted nature trail on Honeymoon Island, turned back after about 30 secs with multiple mosquito bites. Travel Tip: Do not attempt without plenty of high strength Deet!

Double lobster special at Toucans. Made a hell of a mess.

Mini golf on last day as it was cloudy.

Orlando – 17th October

Arrived after a slightly bumpy flight, but had decent seats. Through immigration without any serious troubles with the visas.

Shocked both the staff at National car rental who had never seen a 6 month rental before, and their computer system which couldn’t deal with any longer than a month. All sorted though. Given choice of cars, opted for Mitsubishi. Arrived at hotel after unintended detour due to a crap navigator.

Good food at Miller Ale House. Next day bought a GPS, so no more crappy navigation from now on! Wandered round Florida Mall. Evening, back to the Ale House. Checked out and headed for I-4 and 90 min drive to Clearwater.