Arrived in Tampa, FL yesterday afternoon. What a nice drive it was all the way up. Very easy and I even went out of my comfort box and got off the Interstate to stop at a gas station because I needed to use the restroom. In the past I would have kept going until I got to Tampa and ended up being in agony and unable to enjoy the remainder of the trip. But I did it. :) So I was proud of myself for that.
I arrived at the hotel at 3pm and the hotel is stunning. Though it does have the typical smells and decor. But the inside of the hotel is GORGEOUS. Unfortunately I forgot my chord to be able to transfer my pictures to my laptop to share with you just yet. I will post some pictures later on once I am able to remove them from my camera. The hotel is 8 floors with a stunning inner atrium that almost resembles a high end condominium. The view from the hotel room I am sharing with Sui Lynn is beautiful! There are a few things that made it a little less worth the money being paid out for the room though.
Sui arrived at 5:30p and the trip to pick her up from the airport was an interesting one! I had to make it by myself in a city I know nothing about. But I arrived safely and just in time to grab her bags from the carousel since she has a broken wrist. We went back to the hotel, chilled at the room, unpacked, and went down to the restaurant inside the hotel. The hotel restaurant was ATROCIOUS! I will not eat there ever again while on this trip. The food was luke warm at best and the table was disgustingly dirty, like it hadn't been cleaned. The waitress took forever to refill the water glasses. And the daiquiri's we had were okay, fair to middlin'.
Crashed pretty early and slept til around eight thirty. Got up, got ready and we have been all over the place. We went to the most beautiful glass factory called Phoenix Glass Studio and Gallery. Susan Gott is an amazing artist. Her website is: http://www.gottglass.com Sui bought a couple of pieces to ship home. There was a guy there who is also one of the artist's and he was, imo, breathtakingly gorgeous. I almost tripped over my own feet!
Then we headed over to the Wat Mongkolratanaram Buddhist Temple. Amazing sights to see there. Sculptures, temple, and on the water! Though you can't wear a low cut top and you have to take off your shoes to go inside.
After that we headed over to Florida Aquarium! A DEFINITE must see here in Tampa. Not only do they allow you to practically get close enough to touch the animals, but they have an amazing Wild Dolphin sightseeing boat tour of the Tampa Bay and you get to see real dolphins up close in the wild. They were almost right next to the boat. Though I couldn't grab any great shots, I did manage to get a couple nice ones.
Sui and I came back to the hotel, relaxed for an hour and then went to dinner at an outstanding Tavern and Grille called Stonewood Tavern and Grille! Their food was so delicious and well worth the price! Had a super tasty Sirloin with Bearnaise sauce, baked potato, and creamed spinach. Also had an out of this world fried calamari steak appetizer with bread and fantastic Mojito. Dessert was so wrong but so great! I had a slice of Key Lime pie and Sui had this chocolate bread pudding that was to die for! Pricey but so worth it! Definitely a place you want to stop at and eat if you get the chance.
Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!