Day 22 – Coming home

Got up at 07:00 and started final packing and cleaning. Tried weighing the suitcases again with our new scales but it was different every time I tried – it is going to get the order of the sledgehammer when I get home. We finished packing and cleaning by 09:30 and set off in pouring rain to Denny’s for our final breakfast. We had originally planned to stop off at Tampa Zoo on the way to the airport to kill a few hours but the rain put paid to that idea. We arrived in pouring rain and left in pouring rain. Whilst we were in Denny’s Jan asked the waitress what Grits were and in response she bought this bowl of mush with grated cheese on top – needless to say it tasted as bad as it looked. Thankfully the rest of the breakfast was much nicer and we both left with full stomachs. Just before we reached the Sunshine Skyway Bridge the rain stopped and the sun came out. We decided to give the Zoo a miss as there wasn’t enough time and instead headed towards Largo in search of Largo Mall. We didn’t find it but instead found Clearwater Mall where there was a Pet Store. Whilst we were in there we saw a woman pushing a trolley round and in the trolley was a seven week old puppy which was a cross between a Chihuaha and a Jack Russell. It was so soft and cuddly. We bought a small toy for the cats and by the checkout was a windowed off area containing a number of stray cats and kittens – it was a good job we were going home as I am sure we would have come away with one! From there we headed to the Airport and handed back the car. We covered nearly 1500 miles in it added to the 400 odd in the other car means we did a lot of driving. The Impala was OK for driving at 45mph on straight six lane highways but it’s performance and handling was barely adequate and well short of European and Japanese standards. We were first in the queue for baggage check in and surprise surprise Jan’s case was overweight – 4kg to be exact. To make matters worse I was 3.5kg overweight (mainly due to Jan’s stuff she couldn’t fit in hers!). The check in lady was very good and allowed us 2kg extra each so we we spent the next ten minutes stuffing as much as we could into our hand luggage and changing footwear. Eventually we made it and got away without any baggage charges, a relief as it was $15 a kg. I enquired about my prize winning seat upgrade but my luck didn’t hold as the next section up was full so we missed out. The plane which seemed full took off on time. Just as they were starting to serve dinner it got turbulent for a while and the seat belt lights came on but fortunately it didn’t last too long. After dinner Jan watched Bridesmaids again which she thought was very funny and I watched The Hangover Part II which was funny but not as good as the first one. The rest of the flight was uneventful and both Jan and I fell asleep. We landed a few minutes early at 08:00 to a beautiful sunny day which always helps when you have been to somewhere warm. As with last year we picked up our car from the car park and drove home arriving just before 11:00 – the only thing of note was that we came across a car accident – one of the cars a beautiful black Audit TT had overtaken us a few minutes before. The cars were badly damaged but both drivers seemed OK. To sum up the holiday we had a great time even though this was the wettest Florida holiday I have ever had but when the sun was shining it was wonderful. We both love the whole area around Sarasota and are hoping to go back and stay a few miles further south at Siesta Key next year. We are both more sun tanned than last year although to be honest we still didn’t spend a lot of time sunbathing. The trip to Sea World in Orlando and the day with Gary, Paula and Amy was great fun – the journey through the storm back to Sarasota was unforgettable. The two days at Busch Gardens were both enjoyable – the Cheetahs were wonderful and the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster was exciting especially when we sat in the front seat. We listened to our favourite radio station 94.9 all the time we were out there and apart from Adele, they appeared to be playing the same records as last year! So we are both sad that it is all over for another year but we are counting down already to next year – only 350 days to go!!

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