A Night On the Town in St. Pete

Since we only had a two night stay in St. Pete, the original plan had been to keep things quiet and relaxing, just the two of us with no plans in the world for a few days of down time.  The only thing is…we happened to be within about 10 miles of my best girlfriend, Melody.  Someone I had been trying to see, unsucessfully, for the past two months.  More on this later, but Matt and I had been hired to do a boat delivery from Indiantown and ending in her very marina in St. Pete, but both attempts at the delivery had been cut short due to engine problems.  But because I have the best husband in the world, he agreed to let our ‘us’ time turn into ‘all of us’ time, even on his birthday, so that I could grab dinner and a few drinks with my best girl.

After having spent a pleasurable day lounging out on the beach, and even sneaking in a nap after, we (I) gussied up for the evening, me in a thrift store designer maxi dress, and Matt in his regular uniform of shorts and a t-shirt. As long as his beard and hair length don’t get away from him though, I’m always fine with this.  Of course there was a manditory pre-dinner beer out on our patio, with the smell of fresh flowers blooming next to us and floating through the air as we took in our gorgeous surroundings.  Have I mentioned yet how much we’re loving the Blue Heron room at Inn on the Beach?

BCBG dress

With plans to meet Melody at her marina since her vehicle had recently gone kaput, we took a look around what was to be the final delivery destination of the boat that we never quite got here.  Maybe there will be another attempt in a month or two once everything is ship shape on it again?  We didn’t have long to think about it before Melody came bounding out from the docks, where the three of us piled ourselves into the front two seats of the van and headed off for the downtown area of St. Pete.

Being quite familiar with the area, Melody had picked out a hip and cheap place for us called the 5 Buck Drinkery.  Walking up to it, Matt and I were surprised to find it in the middle of St. Pete’s restaurant district.  With a name like that, we had expected it to be a hole in the wall off some dark alley, but here we were in the heart of downtown.  Taking a few seats at a table outside, we browsed the menu of meals for under 5 bucks, and took advantage of the last hour of their happy hour specials.

five buck drinkery

Jessica and melody

After we had finished our cheap, greasy, yet extremely delicious meals, we tried to make plans of what to do next as the night was still young.  Once we had made the decision to get up and just wander a bit, I excused myself to use the ladies room, and when I arrived back at the table, I saw Matt and Melody busy posing with two parrots while a street entertainer was busy taking photos with them cuddling the winged color bombs.  Apparently I had gotten back to the table a little too quickly, because the original plan was to surprise me with the photos later and make me completely jealous I had missed it.  Mission accomplished without me even fully missing the event!

Matt & Melody parrots 1

Matt& Melody parrots 2

After a few laps around the restaurant district we were in, it wasn’t long before we found ourselves wandering toward the water and the swankier end of town.  Even though it was the middle of the weeks, groups of people strolled through the street, browsing through the shops or enjoying an evening drink at one of the many cafes or outdoor seating at the fancier restaurants.  Children walked around with gelato in one hand and their parent’s hand in the other, and we all realized what an opposite end of the spectrum this is from our normal day to day lives. After all, at the moment, Matt and I have to wash our dishes from a spicket and walk a few minutes outside every time we want to use the bathroom.

Agreeing that are lives are by no means fancy, but still much better in our own eyes, we skirted the waterline of a small enclosed anchorage, and slowly made our way to The Vinoy, a historic pink landmark hotel built in 1925. Passing through the lobby and and admiring their revival of the original style and furnishings, we took our own little tour of their pools, wandering up and down flights of stairs, past cascading waterfalls, and finally ended at their rooftop pool and restaurant area. It was agreed that all of us were in the mood for another drink, although this wasn’t the right location for it.  We had something with an even better view in mind.

restaurant area of St. Petersburg Florida

Jessica taking photo

anchorage in St. Pete

The Vinoy St. Pete

Matt & Jessica

Having walked by a hotel called The Birchwood on our walk earlier, I had spied a group of people on the roof and remarked what nice views must be up there.  Turns out there is a rooftop restaurant here called The Canopy, and it is a very popular spot in town to grab a drink or two.  Taking the elevator up to the top, we found out it was ladies night, so Melody and I took part in drinking fancy cocktails at a reduced rate, while Matt stuck with a normal and manly beer.

the canopy

 (Image taken from here)

Although it was getting dark and we knew we didn’t want to spend the next day nursing a hangover, we knew it wasn’t time to call it a night just yet.  With Melody’s husband Chris just getting out of work, we organized to meet up for one, or possibly more, drinks back at a pub we had passed earlier in the evening and much closer to where our van was parked.

When the four of us all met up and took a seat together, it was like time was on fast forward.  We blew through nearly two hours like it was nothing, with lots of laughing, joking, and catching up on the past 9 months since we had all last been together.  It was sad we only had this one night to spend together, and I kept joking that when we checked out of our room the next day, we were going to show up on their boat and crash it for a few days.  Georgie was in good hands back at the marina and its not like we have a specific schedule we have to stick to.

Unfortunately that’s only the case for the two of us, and it wouldn’t have worked out to unexpectedly intrude on our friend’s lives, as fun as we all thought it sounded at the time.  There will be more opportunities in the future though, of that I’m sure.  But if all four of us get our wish, one of the next get togethers we’ll have will be out on the water, with no jobs, boat work, or anything else in our schedule, other than to have a good time.

Matt's Birthday

Throwback Thursday: One Week in Puerto Rosario, Fuerteventura

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

I know it has been a long time since our last Throwback Thursday has gone up, but the funny thing is, chronologically, this happens to be the next post in line after our R&R on Playa Papagayo.  After having enjoyed just a little over a week in the Canary Islands after having arrived from Madeira, we knew it was time to move on, try to find officials, and properly check into the country.  Something we heard they were relaxed about here, and honestly the only reason we found to make our way to Fuerteventura.

It was a nice week there where we stumbled upon tapas restaurants, a shopping mall where the reminders of my old life and Christmas shopping sent chills down my spine (they were already gearing up for it here), and stocked up our boat on cheap and delicious produce from Hiper Dino.

You can find the original post here.

Wednesday November 12, 2014

Tapas in Fuerteventura

For a town that we only stopped in to check into the country, we spent way too much time in it.  Being an industrial town that drops off loads of cruise ship passengers each week yet we have no idea what they do because we spent  8 days and couldn’t find anything to do other than wander the mall, we really spent to much time here.  But so it goes.

When Matt asked what our next destination was after Playa Papagayo, I looked at my trusty map drawn up by Island Drifter and saw that on the neighboring island of Fuerteventura there were two ports of entry and only one of them was suitable to anchor in.  No more marinas here for quite awhile, thank you.  It was a windless day as we sailed down, until we were only a few miles from the port and the clouds rolled in and winds kicked up.  We were both thankful to find a calm spot to drop anchor and just prayed that winds would not shift to the east during our stay there.

Getting off the boat and going in search of the port official and then the Policia Nacional, I found that it is indeed impossible to check in to the Canary Islands.  Just don’t even bother until you get to Gran Canaria, its not worth the trouble because no one will have any idea what you’re talking about.  But the good thing about the whole debacle is that I spent about an hour in the tourist information station talking to an extremely helpful man named Jose who gave me all the ins and outs of Fuerteventura.  And suddenly it became clear of why a cruise ship comes here.  This is the only port that can handle a ship of that size, and everyone is immediately shipped off to other parts of the island where there were more interesting things to do.

I loaded myself up on brochures and bus schedules and planned our week here although Matt was planning to get out, with the boat, asap.  The other good thing about stopping in the information booth is that Jose gave me the low-down on his favorite local restaurant, a place that served tapas for only 1€ on Mon-Fri.

As it turned out, every day we were there we thought we’d be leaving the next day so we never took one of the tours by bus although there were plenty of things we would have liked to see.  Instead we toured the town which had some parts that were actually pretty nice, and wandered the giant mall where it felt to strange to see Christmas decorations already going up.  We did manage to find the tapas restaurant, El Expresso, and twice in the week sampled random items off the menu and enjoyed beers, usually ending with only a 10€ tab including the tip.

In the afternoons, if the sky wasn’t completely overcast, we sat in the cockpit and watched all the local children partake in the town’s yacht club where they’d learn different water activities.  In droves we’d see them launch themselves out into the water in kayaks, sailing dinghies, and windsurfing boards.  Sipping on wine and nibbling on bruschetta we’d look on as they’d skim by our boat, laughing and yelling in Spanish.  It was really great not only seeing an opportunity like this offered to the local children, but to see how many were taking advantage of it.

The week we ended up staying in Puerto Rosario was still lazy and relaxing, but in a completely different way than we had been enjoying in the Papagayo Peninsula.  Here our days consisted of taking advantage of the incredibly cheap groceries at the local Hiper Dino, about 60% of the price of the same chain in Playa Blanca, and sitting at the local cafes to enjoy some tapas or coffee & milk while playing around on our computers.  I am sad that we didn’t get to explore more of the island, maybe check out the northern coast where they filmed the movie Exodus last year, but I know there’s still plenty more sights in store for us in our time in the Canaires.

Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

coast of Fuerteventura

Puerto Rosario port, Fuerteventura

Spanish tapas

water sports in Fuerteventura

Matt

Fuerteventura