I wrote the following last Thursday…
Yesterday I came out of hiding and entered the world of the living. We checked out of the Hyatt, where I had been sort of sequestered away, and moved to the Holiday Inn at St. Pete’s Beach. This hotel is great. It’s not nearly as fancy as the Hyatt, but it has loads of personality, which we both like. For one thing, it’s round, which makes the rooms sort of wedge shaped and the layout a bit strange, but it’s not a bad thing. We are up on the 8th floor with a balcony that overlooks both the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. We got in yesterday, checked in, and then went for a walk on the beach, gulf side. We found what, at the time, were some amazing shells. Shells you can’t find on the Pacific Coast. Afterwards we did dinner in reverse by first having a hot fudge sundae at an ice cream parlor located in the Don Cesar Hotel, and then having room service delivered to us later in the evening at our hotel. It was a nice afternoon and evening.
Today… well, today was exploration day. We drove south, out along the gulf coast, over the Skyway Bridge, ending, after several stops, in Venice. Driving down along the water took 6 hours. Driving back on I-75 took 50 minutes. How funny. Along the way we saw a huge statue of a military man and a nurse kissing (reminiscent of the photo in Life Magazine at the end of World War II), many interesting and cute birds, the Skyway Bridge, Fort Desoto, some guys kite surfing, cool canals, expensive homes on the water, some remaining hurricane damage, the Turtle Beach Pub, an artists market we stopped at, and many people fishing on the Pier near the bridge. After getting back to St. Pete’s Beach we drove to Pass-A-Grille, a little hamlet near St. Pete’s Beach, parked, walked on the beach, and looked at the sunset.
The best part of the day you ask? Being together… that… and our fabulous luck shell hunting. We were in shock, and still are. The shells we gathered are now wrapped up in Kleenex and toilet paper ready to be packed away in our bags for the transport home. They are amazing and so very cool. Every day I get more impressed with Karen because every day she shows me a new side of herself, or a new skill she has, or a new way of looking at the world. Today she showed me what a great shell hunter she was. It was stupendous, as most everything she does is. I couldn’t have picked a better playmate in life. And being with her today, once again, confirmed it.
Tomorrow we are homeward bound. I think we’ll both be glad to get home. It’s always great to go on vacation, but somehow it’s even better getting home at the end of it.