One City At A Time!
TAMPA & VENICE, FL After weeks of not feeling well and being in the hospital, I was so ready to see some sunshine and feel warm weather! So, so, so glad to be healthy! I literally feel like the first few weeks in March are a blur! I only started feeling better 2 days before we left for Venice, and thank goodness because I did not want to have to skip it! THE STAY We stayed at the Fairfield, although we didn't do much more than sleep here! We always have good experiences with Marriott's. FOOD - TAMPA DINNER on THURSDAY We flew in and went right to dinner! We went to Jackson's Bistro and the food was good! They make everything in house, even their desserts. The scallops and the lobster bisque were great. The nicest thing about the restaurant is its right on the bay, so you can eat your food and look out over the harbor. Parking was a little confusing, but once you figure out the garage to park in you are set! FAMILY TIME, VENICE BEACH Greg & I walked the beach on Friday with my grandparents, and the water was the prettiest blue. Something about being next to water is so relaxing! Its nice to see my grandparents too, they are funny. They are so happy together, even after so many years. I don't think I've ever met a couple more in love! My mommom cooked us dinner, and well, she is quite the chef! Walking the beach then home cooking.. what a great combination! MORE FOOD We decided to take my grandparents out for dinner. We got a great recommendation to check out Cassariano. Its an Italian restaurant, with the most amazing food! They are on Venice Ave, right by the beach. When we first got there, one of the restaurant employees (who was from Italy) was talking soccer with Greg. The restaurant guy didn't like Greg's team, so they were bantering for a bit. It was all in good fun. One of these days though, Greg is going to start a riot with her sports jerseys! Greg and I had lobster rav's, and my grandparents got spaghetti and carbonera. They brought them really large servings, and they both ate everything! I've never seen them eat so much!! My poppop was determined to finish! MORE FAMILY TIME I've been doing a lot of research on my family tree. Its a LOT of work! So far, I've realized I'm pretty much ever thing there is. Portuguese? Check. Spaniard (from Spain)? Check. Caribbean Indian, Check. English, Irish, Slovakian, Hungarian, German.. check. Oh, and Scottish. Some sides of the family, I can get back really far - like my grandparents side in FL. They gave me a bunch of pictures and information I added to the family tree. I even told them a few things about their heritage they didn't know! THE STAY We packed up and headed to the Courtyard in Tampa. We're off to see the Phillies and the Flyers, and YES I'm dragging Greg to the aquarium! PHILLIES SPRING TRAINING Eating hot dogs and celebrating St. Patrick's day with the Philies! This was definitely fun, and definitely a first for both of us! Everyone in the stadium, including the players, wore green! They had 5 special op's guys parachute from a plane onto the field. It was very cool to watch!! They had someone come down with an American flag, two guys come down together.. someone also came down with a Phillies flag. They played the Baltimore Orioles. The game was only training, so it didn't mean anything. It was a just fun to watch and even the Phillies fans were relaxed and subdued. Maybe it was the warm weather! MORE FOOD We went to dinner with Ken and Veronica. Ken works with Greg, and they were close to where we were staying in Tampa so we met them for dinner at Boscom's Chop House. The food was good! I got a great tip on some allergy medicine to try... Zertek-D. Oh, and Veronica really does not like rats! Good thing we didn't see any! For breakfast! Lovin' Cracker Barrel's! This was not one of the best ones we've been to, but it was still decent! CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM This is not a big aquarium, but still a must see! This is where they rescued Winter. She was the dolphin that they based the movie Dolphin Tale off of. The marine hospital rescued her and really did make her a prosthetic tail. She was caught in a net and lost her tail, but she taught herself how to swim differently and now lives happily in Clearwater, FL. So glad they rescued her! That's the entire goal of the aquarium - rescue hurt animals and release them back in the wild. If they aren't able to defend themselves in the wild, they give them a great home in the aquarium. Its a shame to see all the animals that were hurt there from fishing nets and people acting irresponsibly. There was another dolphin named Hope. She was an orphan, and her mom died before she was able to learn survival skills. She couldn't catch food and didn't know how to escape predators. She is happy hanging out with Winter! FUNNY THOUGHTS Greg incites riots with his sports gear everywhere we go! The guy at Cassariano talked soccer with him, he was a fan of AC Milan. Then there was someone in the lobby of the hotel. Then there was a the breakfast guy at Cracker Barrel who talked hockey, he was a Boston Bruins fan. Then there was the lady at the dolphin show. Oh, and we left the aquarium and were sitting at a red light when some guy leaving a Ritas across the street from us yelled "Go Flyers"! DINNER We decided to go back to Jackson's Bistro since it was walking distance from the Lightning stadium. We were walking along the pier and I stopped on a bench to take a picture. And guess who goes walking by??? Mr. Universe, aka Bryzgoliv, the Flyers goalie!! Greg wished him good luck at the game tonight, and he said "Thanks man." What are the odds of that? FLYERS vs TAMPA LIGHTNING Love Tampa's uniforms, they are this pretty deep blue color. Unfortunately, the Flyers are not doing so well this year and we lost the game. I blame it on St. Patrick's day, what bozo scheduled the game for the day after a drinking holiday? Speaking of which, does anyone know the point of St. Patrick's day or is it just an excuse to drink a LOT?! Greg collects souvenir cups from all the stadiums, and they didn't have any at this stadium. I did get a sweater from the store though, so now I just have to find a way to put a Flyers patch over their lightning bolt! FINAL THOUGHTS Its always nice to visit family! Spring training, is a must go see at least once. Hopefully the Phillies will be better than the Flyers this year. Its a little painful to watch the Flyers lose all the time. There is nothing better than leaving cold weather behind and walking on sandy beaches in Florida. Now I just have to convince Greg we need a vacation home there...