Homer's Travels: Tampa 2024: In Search Of Sunshine

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Tampa 2024: In Search Of Sunshine

Last year we took a two week driving vacation to Florida (Key West specifically).  While there we visited the Wifes Aunt and Cousin.  This year the Wife's cousin offered her condo and car while she and her husband went on an awesome sounding New Zealand adventure.  We took her up on the offer last week and had a relaxing and interesting time in Tampa, Florida.

Day One

We left early Sunday morning.  We parked our car in long term parking and caught our plane to Chicago.  We had a tight connection in Chicago and we arrived at our Tampa flight when they were boarding.

At the Tampa airport we had some difficulty finding where the Lyft would pick us up and he was waiting on us when we figured it out.  On the way to the cousin's condo we asked the driver to stop at a grocery store.  There are proper protocols for adding stops to Lyft rides but we, with the driver's consent, broke all the rules.  Not sure if it would have cost us more but I did give the driver a big tip.

We arrived at the condo and got the keys from the guard at the gate.  The cousin has a very nice place with views of the bay.  The rest of the day was relaxing, eating the food we bought at the grocery store, and watching sports on the TV.

Day Two

On our first full day in Tampa we walked along the bayshore to a breakfast place.  When we arrived I realized I left my wallet in the condo.  Fortunately I had my phone and could pay with that.  This would be the first of two times that I forgot my wallet.  This is not normal for me.

One of the Ybor City chickens.
In the afternoon we drove to Ybor City, a Cuban enclave in Tampa.  The city is kinda famous for its free range chickens wandering around the city.  We walked around, bought some souvenirs, and bought some cigars for the Brother-in-Law.  We visited Jose Marti park which for sixty years has been owned by the Cuban people and is considered Cuban territory.

That night we walked to a Spanish Tapas restaurant for dinner.

The guard at the cousin's condo complex almost saluted us as we were in the cousin's husband's car.  He was a colonel and she always salutes him when he comes and goes.  The joke continued the whole week as she would salute us as we went through the gates.

Day Three

Today was the highlight of the trip.  The aunt joined us as a spectator as we went skydiving.  It was an interesting experience that I will write more about in a later post.

Me coming back to earth.
After coming back to earth we returned to Ybor City and had lunch at the Columbia restaurant, the oldest restaurant in Florida  The food was very good.

Day Four

Dalí Jesus.
After a slow morning we visited the Salvidor Dalí museum.  We ate a pre-Dalí Alive 360° show snack of very good Tarta de Santiago.  The show was inside a dome with images of Dalí works projected on the inside.

We then met up with a docent who walked us through the permanent collection highlighting several works and explaining the interpretations of the surreal images.

After the guided tour we ate a delicious Spanish inspired meal (our third Spanish inspired meal in three days).  While we ate we decided not to go to see the impressionist exhibit.  We felt museumed out.

We returned to the Condo for a relaxing evening.

Day Five

Our beach day.
Today was our beach day.  I'm not much of a beach guy.  I was when I was a kid but as I grew up the idea of sitting on a beach became less and less appealing.  Having said this, the beach we went to, Archibald Beach, was nice.  We ate lunch at the snack bar, listened to some live music, and laid in the sun (I sat in the shade of an umbrella).  It was nice at the start but the breeze picked up and it got a bit chilly so we went back to the condo.  We had plans to go to the Tampa Riverwalk but we decided to do it the next day and we just chilled.

Day Six

On our last full day in Tampa we bought some wine and flowers (I forgot my wallet again ... saved by my phone again) and visited the Wife's aunt, took a tour of where she lives, and had lunch.  It was a nice lazy last day.

When we left we planned to go to the Tampa Riverwalk but, once again, we decided we would save it for some other visit.

Day Seven

Today we cleaned up our mess at the condo, did laundry, and threw out the garbage before catching a Lyft to the airport and headed home.

Overall we had a very laid back week in Tampa and we both enjoyed it immensely.  It was nice to take a break from the Omaha gloom.

I didn't take too many photos but the ones I have, including some of those taken by my skydiver instructor, can be found in my 2024 Tampa (Skydiving) Google Photos album.

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