Exploring: Rosemary Beach, FL

Rosemary Beach

A few weeks ago, the German and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary (even though we’ve legally been married for 2 years!) and decided to head back to Florida where married life for us technically began, although Ma Cook refused to believe it until she saw me walk down the aisle a year later in Germany!

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Exploring: St Pete Beach, FL

Is exactly what the German and I had a couple of weeks ago before I headed back to the UK for a couple of weeks and it was bliss!

My aunty and uncle were flying out to Florida and staying in an apartment there so they suggested that we jumped in our car and drove down to stay with them for the weekend as they wouldn’t be able to make it to Atlanta this year. Do you really think we were going to say no? Erm…I don’t think so!

So, we did exactly that:

Road Trip!

Road Trip!

Early on Friday morning, we hopped in the car and started the 7 hour drive to St. Pete Beach on the gulf coast of Florida. Now, back in the day when we lived in the UK, driving 7 hours for a weekend away would have been deemed ridiculous but in America-land this is normal.

At just after 7am we were on the road, and, after a quick stop for some brunch, by 4pm we had arrived here:

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Beautiful, right? You can’t go wrong with white sand, clear water and blue skies! We are so lucky to have this, in American terms, on our doorstep. Spending a weekend in Florida is something I could only dream of a few years ago, I could only dream of flying to America on holiday, and now, here I am, having a weekend break in the Sunshine State. One very lucky lady indeed.

Back to the story, we jumped out of the carsaid a big fat excited hello to my aunty and uncle who we hadn’t seen since the wedding and literally within minutes we were changed and by the pool – you get pretty hot and sweaty in the German’s car and we were in serious need of a cool down! After a few hours chilling out and catching up, we went back to the apartment, got changed and went out for dinner where we stuffed ourselves with some amazing seafood (when at the beach!) before having a stroll to a local home-made ice cream parlour – just delicious!

The following morning we got up, had breakfast and drove to Fort Desoto in search of some dolphins and, after never seeing a dolphin in real life before, the German and I ticked something else off our bucket list and spotted some! Just amazing!

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The Dolphin Hunters / Spotted One! / Happy Dolphin Spotters

Sadly, we didn’t spot a manatee – hopefully next time!

The rest of the weekend was pretty much spent relaxing on the beach, perfect right? We spent Saturday on Fort Desoto beach and Sunday at St Pete Beach just across the road from the apartment. The German and I went for a walk along the beach and spotted some baby birds and turtle nests, we drank a couple of beers, caught some sunshine and had a few dips in the sea – amazing.

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Fort Desoto Beach / Beach Fun / St Pete Beach

Then there was the food. We were on the gulf coast where there is some amazing seafood so, obviously, that was just about all we ate, well, apart from the very tasty Italian we had in St Petersburg! We tucked into snapper, tuna, salmon and grouper and everything was just delicious!

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But sadly, Monday morning came around and we had to say our goodbyes once again (the part I hate the most about being an expat) and head back to the ATL. Sad, sad, sad times. Driving 7 hours for a weekend at the beach was definitely worth it though. We got to spend some time with my aunty and uncle, even if it is just for a couple of days, when you live so far away just a couple of days makes all the difference. Thanks for a great weekend Team Lodge! We had an amazing time!

Before I go though, I can’t forget to show you the stunning sunset we managed to catch a glimpse of in St Petersburg:

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And that is just one of the many reasons why I will be heading to Florida once again very soon!

Exploring: The Florida Keys, FL

That we didn’t actually eat whilst in the home of the good stuff the Florida Keys!! I know – we’re useless! So this was the next and final stop on our Florida road trip – sad times I know! We planned to stay for just the one night and then start the loooong journey back to Atlanta with a stop off on the way but that didn’t actually happen and this is why…

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Yep it was bloody lovely!! We rocked up at the hotel that we’d booked for one night – the Hilton in Key Largo and it was AMAZING!!! Yeah it was an old hotel but it literally had everything!! You didn’t need to leave it at all!! It had swimming pools, 2 beaches, a basketball court (Jannis was majorly impressed with that one!!) tennis courts, table tennis tables, a restaurant and everything else you could need on a holiday including one of those beach bars with a single barman like the one in the film Cocktail! At one point it felt like we were in a film, especially when one loud and slightly tipsy American bloke was getting the rest of the drinkers to chant the barman’s name!! Classic!! We were amazed and after literally 2 minutes in our rooms we were out exploring our new surroundings! Oh and we’d already wished we’d booked for 2 nights!

Off we trotted and discovered the swimming pools but decided to take a little stroll to the beach! We started out on the small beach simply because it was the first one we found, and had a little paddle in the clearest sea ever!!! You could literally see all the little fishes in the bottom and at one point some jellyfish – this actually scared myself and Melanie but we were brave enough to dodge them!! Then we took a stroll to explore the larger beach and it seemed this was where it was at!! We spotted the table tennis tables and the very competitive Jannis tried his luck against the German and Melanie but sadly wasn’t victorious! Here’s a pic of them in action…

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I went up against the German but failed miserably! For some reason he won’t just play nice and has to try to spin the ball and hit it in fancy ways! In the end I gave up and purposely lost!! He always has to be big and clever!! We also found a game that had 2 wooden boxes with a hole in and bean bags! The aim was to get the bag in the hole. We played couple against couple and the Cook-Richters (as we were then!!) were victorious on 2 occasions – much to Jannis’s disappointment! Sorry Jannis! It was purely a game of luck though and Jannis and Melanie were close to winning in just about every game!!

So after our afternoon of relaxing and making the most of our new surroundings we decided to see if we could stay for a second night but sadly this wasn’t to be – it was fully booked. Boooooooooo!!! But all was not lost – we found another place just down the road! Result!!! So the following morning we packed up our stuff (AGAIN!) and drove a whole 5 minutes down the road to our new apartment!! Then we decided to explore more of the keys and headed down Overseas Highway towards Key West. And we saw some amazing sights along the way! The sea was so blue and so many different colours, it was so pretty!! Some parts of the road were literally over the sea (hence the name of the road!!) and had no land at either side a little bit like this…

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I think it has to be the prettiest drive I have ever been on! You NEED to drive down this road if you’re ever in the area – it’s not to be missed!! Check out this beaut – one of the many pics I tried to take whilst driving along – therefore you need to excuse any car parts that may have made it into the picture – it’s not the easiest way to take a pic!

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We drove for about an hour and a half past a place called Marathon and made it to the Bahia Honda national park. Now this place was supposed to be picturesque so we thought we’d check it out and we definitely weren’t disappointed!! It was beautiful! Pure white sand, clear water and spectacular views!! Here’s just one of them…

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

We had a wander around and took some more pictures before spotting this beast…

WOWZERS!!

WOWZERS!!

He was the biggest lizard I have ever seen!! And despite my fear of all animals I somehow plucked up the courage to get kind of close and take some pics! I don’t know what came over me!!! I just couldn’t believe how big he was!!! He soon wandered off into the distance though – the German missed him completely! I think he was taking pictures somewhere!!

After chilling out in the water for a while we decided to head back to the apartment but not before stopping off at Taco Bell to give Jannis his first taste of the fast food delight!! I wouldn’t say it’s the best fast food in the world  but I would go again!! It wouldn’t be my first choice though! Ha! Later that night we ventured out to find some food and went to a place called Tasters. I think this could have been the BEST food of the holiday!! It was amazing!! You seriously need to check this place out! (Once again food is one of the main elements in a blog post – I really am obsessed with it!!!) So we decided to eat outside and brave the bugs – the only people to do it! We literally had a private dining area with flame lanterns and everything! I tucked into some shrimp and grits (stereotypical southern food!) and it was beautiful…

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The BEST shrimp and grits I’ve ever tasted! And I topped it off with some bread pudding – now this wasn’t just any bread pudding like you’d have over here, it had chocolate swirled in it and tasted amazing!!!! You NEED to try it! We did ask to try some key lime pie (seen as though we were in the keys!) but it wasn’t actually on the menu and when we asked our server where the best one was served she said Publix – the local supermarket!! It would appear you don’t have to go to the Florida Keys to have a taste of the best key lime pie!!

Sadly our Florida road trip was coming to an end…boooooo! And the following morning we loaded up the car and set off on the loooong journey back to Atlanta. We planned to stop off on the way but myself and the German took it in turns behind the wheel and we made it home 12 hours after we started. Our first ever American road trip was over but we’d had an amazing time and it ended with that lovely feeling of sleeping in your own bed!! You can’t beat it!!!

So what will I tell you about next now the trip has ended…well my new status as a wife means I had another trip to the US Embassy this week! Want to know what happened this time? You’ll have to wait til my next post for that one…after I’ve caught up with some of my amazing friends on a hen weekend in Leeds! I see carnage on the horizon but hopefully I’ll survive and be able to string some sentences together to fill you in on my latest Embassy adventure!!

Exploring: Miami, FL

Yes I know my trip to Miami was AGES ago but as you know a lot has happened since then (remember my last post? you know the one where I told you I’d got hitched? Yes? See I told you so!) I’m now taking you back in time, back to that Florida road trip and it’s journey to Miami!! Here goes…

After spotting Gators in the Everglades our road trip took us to where the beautiful people hang out…Miami Beach! Now I’m not sure about the rest of you but as soon as the word Miami enters my head I instantly think of a fair few songs including Will Smith’s ‘Welcome to Miami’ (classic in anyone’s books but of course it wasn’t his best work – that honour always goes to The Fresh Prince rap!!!) and this little beast by David Guetta – I’m in Miami Beach! Yes this became the song of the Miami stop – well for me anyway! I was the only nutter who was singing it all the time!

Now I was VERY excited to be heading to Miami! Before moving to the states it was always somewhere I wanted to visit but never really thought I’d get there, choosing somewhere like LA or New York instead! So you can imagine how I reacted when I realised that we were actually going to stop off there!!! OH YES!!!! It was HUGE idiot style celebrations all round! So after driving for about 3 hours my excitement had grown even more (much to the dismay of my fellow travellers!!!) and this was our first sight of Miami…

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Yes there were palm trees but sadly the sky was full of grey clouds and it was raining…not the best start but hey it was nearly 8pm, the weather over here changes in an instant so we stayed optimistic! It just ruined the we’re about to hit Miami pictures!! (May I also add that I was driving at this point and the German was in charge of pictures…hence why half the car is also in the shot!!) After making my way through the Miami traffic (And at one point possible shouting ‘I don’t know where I’m going!!!’ and getting a little bit stressed!!) we made it to our hotel – remember the one I told you about in the post about the Everglades? Yep we were at the Riviera South Beach and so far it was looking good! Lots of people were milling around and the hotel lobby was lovely!

So we dumped the car outside and headed in where a lovely man began checking us in. He was so lovely in fact that he gave us a free upgrade to the new building so that we could have rooms together! Result! So we got our keys, got our bags out of the car, gave the car to the valet (very American I know!!) and trotted off to our rooms, hoping they were much better than the last one! The first signs were good – the hotel grounds were modern and very nice indeed! Then we got to our rooms and it’s safe to say we weren’t disappointed at all!! They were AMAZING!!!! Check this beast out…

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Modern, bright and very trendy, so much so that the ceiling was bare cement – something Jannis couldn’t get his head around!! There were iPod docks, lovely toiletries and a very comfy bed that was expertly made as you can see! And yes there was some of this action…couldn’t be avoided…

Yes...I am an idiot!

Yes…I am an idiot!

Safe to say we were now happy road trippers as this was now our home for the next 3 nights! Yaaaay!!! So we bobbed inside, got changed and headed on out to sample the nightlife of Miami! The streets of Miami are ace – art deco buildings with neon lights! We took them all in as we headed to a cuban restaurant recommended to us by the hotel and once again we weren’t disappointed! You have to try this place if you’re ever in Miami! It’s called Havana 1957 and is located on Espanola Way – a lovely little street with lots of different restaurants on! The food was beautiful and the cocktails were amazing! Melanie and I indulged in a couple of Mango Mojitos which looked like this…

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Yes we too had no idea what the big sticks were in them but we took one for the team, looked around and spotted someone eating it so we gave it a go…it didn’t actually have a taste so we gave up and stuck with the good stuff – the drink!! After a few more we trotted back to our hotel and sunk into the extremely comfy beds ready for more Miami action the following morning!

Morning came and guess where we were headed – oh yes the beach!!! Our lovely hotel gave us complimentary sun loungers on a the beach along with beach towels so off we went in search of some rest and relaxation!! And it’s safe to say our view for the day wasn’t bad at all…

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Although most of the day was actually spent under the umbrella thanks to that lovely sunburn we picked up in Clearwater! Oh and the water in Miami – you’ll be pleased to hear it was very clear indeed! I think you could see some little fishes swimming in the water and everything!! Miami Beach is definitely a cool place to be! They have the best lifeguard stations ever! They’re all slightly different but still run along the art deco theme – check this one out…

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After the beach we took a stroll through the streets and checked out the art deco buildings in daylight – I loved them!! Each one is different but they all run along the same theme – it’s a little bit like stepping back in time! You feel like you’re in a film or TV series like Miami Vice and can picture the scenes as you’re walking around!!

Oh and here’s a little gem I failed to mention about the hotel…every night it has a happy hour! This means free drinks between 7pm and 8pm and I’m not talking soft drinks! Oh no no! You could have spirits, beer, cocktails…just about everything!! And they were good! So we headed to happy hour before stepping out for another tasty meal…this time at an Italian again on Espanola Way! Cafe Nuvo did us proud! I think I tucked into lobster ravioli – definitely a good choice if you’re heading in that direction!!

Day 2 in Miami saw Melanie celebrate her birthday and if you ask me it’s a pretty good place to do it!! We again headed to the beach to bag some of those freebie sun loungers and soaked up some rays (you’ll be pleased to hear my sunburn was definitely getting better thanks to lashings of aloe vera gel!!) did some reading and generally chilled out! Then it was time to party for Melanie!! We obviously headed to the happy hour and then checked out the Mexican restaurant Oh! Mexico again on Espanola Way! (It would appear we like to try different cuisines from different countries but we like to stick to the same street in Miami!!) It’s another one for you to try if you’re ever in da hood – we tucked into nachos that were loaded with cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream and then went onto things like enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas all washed down with of course a margarita! And yes we did sort out a birthday surprise for Melanie…well I say we…it was actually Jannis!

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday!!

After food was of course birthday drinks!!! And to make our way there we hitched a ride on a Miami Freebee – basically an electric mini bus type thing that will take you from one end of Miami to the other for free – they just want a tip. Now this sounds kind of boring but believe me it isn’t! The driver blasts out some music and hey presto you’ve got a party in an electric car! Our driver chose this little gem for our trip…Daft Punk and Get Lucky! Tuuuuuuune!! It soon became the song of the road trip and random dancing was done by me every time I heard it – again I am an idiot!

But sadly our stay in Miami was about to come to an end…boooooo! But the Florida Keys were waiting for our arrival so it wasn’t all bad!! So the following morning we waved goodbye to our gorgeous hotel rooms, had the valet man bring us the car, packed it up and continued on our merry way…next stop Key Largo!!

 

Exploring: The Everglades, FL

So we were on our way to Miami when we decided to make a stop in the Everglades – seriously you can’t go to Florida without checking them out! One of the German’s friends told him about a little park to stop off at on the way called the Corkscrew Swamp so that was our destination (after stocking up on aloe vera gel for our sunburn!) and it started off looking a little bit like this…

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Now my main aim of this trip was to spot some Gators! I was gonna be really upset if we’d made it all the way to their natural habitat and didn’t see any! So complete with our still very hot sunburn (ouch!!) we started to trot around the park on the hunt for Gators! Now this park was exactly how I would imagine the Everglades – full or trees and greenery, with bugs and animals of all kinds everywhere! To get around you had to walk along the trail of course – safety first and everything and it looked like this – a little wooden walkway that went all around the park…

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We had to walk around quietly so that we didn’t disturb any of the wildlife and could see as much as possible – something that can sometimes be a little bit difficult for chatty me but I managed to do it and we spotted some amazing things! Now I’m not the best with animals and bugs as anyone who knows me will testify but I think I did really well in the Everglades – I seemed to get pretty brave! The first thing we spotted was this little dude…

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He was one of the many different lizards we saw on this trip and our first wildlife in the Everglades! Things were looking good! Next up on the wildlife spotting list was a snake!! Credit to Jannis for this one – he spotted if first and we didn’t believe him – he’d already been winding Melanie up saying he’d spotted them because she doesn’t like them! But it was there clear as day – a big, long black one! Scary!! Now this little walkway was raised up so that the dangerous wildlife couldn’t get to you – phew! But it meant we had a little disaster…Toby the tourist managed to drop the lens cap from his camera and it fell off the walkway and onto the ground! ARGH!! How were we gonna get it back? Well the German tried to reach for it but he couldn’t fit far enough through the slats…so Jannis stepped up despite his fear for the wildlife below and this happened…

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Yep Jannis reached down with the help of the German making sure he didn’t fall in and retrieved the lens cap without any animals coming to get him! Result!! Drama over, we carried on our merry way in search of Gators!! What I failed to mention so far is that the bugs seemed to really, really, really like me! Every time I stood still I was bitten by something that even drew blood – evil thing!! Now I was determined to find some Gators after being eaten alive in the search for them! But next up was this beautiful butterfly…

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Followed by this guy – we have no idea what he actually is but he’s definitely something…

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But still there were no Gators….booooo! Our trip wasn’t over yet though and suddenly we made it to a swamp and look what we found…

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GATORS!!!! 2 of them and they were HUGE!!!! It was an amazing sight, they were just casually lying there in the water, catching a few rays and enjoying their environment! Most of the time they were asleep but one did open his eyes and check us out! They didn’t move though…they were happy enough chillin out and not putting on a show! That was fine for me – I was happy to just see some!! Despite the heat and our blistering sunburn we spent a long time checking them out before moving on to the next little swamp where there were MORE!! These were baby Gators too and they looked so cute although I’m sure they wouldn’t be if you were up close and personal to them!! They were amazing to see though!!! I did take pictures but because they’re so small and far away it didn’t really work! You’ll just have to imagine the ones above but much, much, much smaller!!

After a few hours we made it around the whole park and I was one happy bunny – we saw some Gators!!! Mission accomplished!! Next on the list was this place…

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So we said ‘See you later alligator!’ hit the road and headed for Miami Beach!

Exploring: Clearwater, FL

Technically no. So our first stop on our Florida road trip was Clearwater Beach! Wooooooo!! Now this beach and the ones surrounding it are branded some of the best in Florida and I have to agree they are pretty picturesque…we’ll get to that bit!

So at the end of the last post we were all pretty miserable, not knowing if we’d booked 2 rooms or 4 and getting a hotel that wasn’t the best ever but also wasn’t the worst! Aaaanyway it turned out we did only book 2 rooms (thanks Hotwire for getting us worried there!! Unsurprisingly we didn’t use that website again to book a hotel!!) and the Beso del Sol wasn’t too bad, well apart from the dirty stain on the sheet…that I was definitely not impressed with!

But after a trip to a Greek restaurant in a mini Greek town for Jannis the Greek and a good nights sleep we got up to blue sky and hot temperatures…the Florida we were expecting! First stop was breakfast and the German found a little gem of a place that did amazing omelettes to start our day! (Yet again the blog includes a food reference!!) If you ever go there you need to check it out…it was a little place  called Broadway Deli & Cafe and it was AMAZING!! I had the salmon omelette and it really hit the spot! So after a good fill we hit the beach and it definitely didn’t disappoint…

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Pure white sand and bright blue sky – the perfect combination for a perfect beach but there was one thing that wasn’t right…the water! So it’s called Clearwater Beach but for some reason the water wasn’t clear at all! Boooooooo! Now I don’t know whether this is a year round thing or not (Can any of you out there clear this one up? Have you been when the water is clear?) but it definitely wasn’t clear enough to see the little fishes at the bottom – I’m presuming they were there, they usually are! Still it was beautiful and not something to complain about!

So we kicked back and relaxed, had a couple of dips in the sea and soaked up the sun! Before leaving for Florida the German and I bought a volleyball…something that was going to get used A LOT on this holiday! Off the boys trotted for some volleyball action, it was their new favourite sport! Although we did end up with an injury when they both went for the ball at the same time and crashed into each other! Toby’s knee took the brunt of it – he ended up with a beautiful scab like a child in the playground!! At one  point he even had a plaster on it to keep the sand out!!

So after a full day on the beach we decided to head home but not after we’d all caught one too many rays! Lobsters all around thanks to the wind and not noticing we were getting burnt! Whoops! It was after sun central before we headed out that night for some amazing seafood at a restaurant called Sea Sea Riders – you seriously need to go there!!! Delicious!! I had the stuffed shrimp – it had crab in there and a chorizo crust on top!! Mmmmmmmm!!!

Our stay in Clearwater was coming to an end…booooooo! But Miami was next and we had the task of finding a hotel again – something we were determined to do before we left Clearwater! So we went down all the usual channels – we looked at Hotwire (but decided not to use them after our previous drama!!) Priceline (where you map out the area you’d like to stay and how many stars then tell them how much you’d like to pay, they then ask the hotels if they’re willing to take that amount per night. Sadly for us in Miami they weren’t but you can get some really nice hotels for a cheap price on that site!!) Trivago and of course we checked out Tripadvisor! I think this is where we found it – the Riviera at South Beach! After checking prices on a few websites we discovered it was cheaper to book it directly with the hotel…Wooooooooo! The next day we headed off to see the beautiful people in Miami before we got there we decided to check out the Everglades…did we see any Gators? Well you’ll have to wait and see!!

Exploring: Florida Road Trip

So after all the big, huge, mahoosive news contained in my last post (have you read it yet? If the answers no get clicking to find out what it was!!) our friends from Germany came over to visit and we decided to do something very American…a road triiiiiip!!! (Yes that is me getting very excited and shouting the word!!)

So we packed our bags, loaded up the car so much that the boot only just closed (I blame the German’s bag – his was the biggest of the four!!) and set of on our trip! Let me introduce you to the road trip crew – obviously there’s me and the German but say hello to Jannis and Melanie…

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Introductions done…let’s start the trip! Now we’d had this trip planned before the German and I even arrived in the states and the destination was…FLORIDA!! Yep we were road tripping it from Atlanta to the Sunshine State and hoping to take in some of the best beaches and hang out with the cool kids in Miami! But when I say planned I mean it in the briefest of ways…when we left Atlanta we didn’t even have a hotel booked!

But we’d decided the first destination on our trip would be Clearwater Beach – one of the best in Florida! Despite not having anywhere to stay we popped it into the sat nav and started out on the 7 hour drive with the German getting behind the wheel first! Now when I say we loaded up the car we forgot one major thing…road trip snacks!! This is something that is usually on the top of my list back home…just ask my good friend Bammylish! Whenever we went on a trip there would always be snacks in the car including mini party eggs, mini cocktail sausages, mini cheese and onion pie things and of course chocolate, crisps and sweets! (Yes we always went for the stodgy, fatty stuff…who wouldn’t?!?!) But today I’d failed miserably so after a couple of hours we turned off the highway and stopped off at an American institution…Waffle House!

It’s somewhere me and the German have been planning to try since we touched down in ATL, they are everywhere! And where I say everywhere I mean everywhere…seriously…they’re on just about every corner! Now we didn’t really know what to expect or what type of neighbourhood we were in but we ventured inside. These places are kind of small…there were a few booths to sit in and some bar stool style seating. As there was four of us we picked a booth and checked out the menu! As you know this blog always revolves around food in some way! There was all sorts on the menu from omelettes, steak (yep steak is a breakfast staple over here!) bagels, french toast and of course waffles!! We all decided waffles were the way forward – we were in the Waffle House! Jannis went for peanut butter and Melanie blueberry while the German and I chose bacon and maple syrup. Now this was a show of bravery from me – I NEVER mix sweet and savoury…it’s WRONG!! But word on the street was that this combination was SCHA-MA-ZING and the Americans go mad for it so I figured you have to try everything once and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised!!! It actually works really well! Take a look at the results…

Surprise of the day!

Surprise of the day!

Once our bellies were full we waved goodbye to the house of waffles and went on our merry Florida way! Now it was my turn to drive whilst the German tried to find somewhere for us to stay…I kind of thought it was a priority!! So he searched all the different websites (That’s another blog in itself!!) bid on hotels and got denied, found fancy hotels that were too expensive, found drive up motels that looked like the scary ones in the movies (we were definitely not staying there!) and eventually found a place in Clearwater that was next to the sea and look alright! The collective decision was to book, we were getting kind of desperate…although that took a lot longer that we thought seen as though we were in an area that had a bad mobile signal meaning the amazing iPad that allowed us to book the hotel en-route lost points! (Admittedly it wasn’t its fault and more AT&T’s fault for not having an ugly mobile mast nearby!)

Eventually during all the hotel searching we made it to this little sign and my driving took us across the border from Georgia and into the Sunshine State…we were now well on our way! Yay!!!

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We were now officially in Florida – obviously when we drove past this sign there was a collective ‘Wooooooooo!!!’ in the car followed by a chant of ‘Florida! Florida! Florida!’ Yes I think I started this off…idiot! A road trip wouldn’t be the same without it though! So after another driver swop and a few more hours on the road we neared the coast and Clearwater Beach! But as we got closer the sun seemed to disappear and the clouds moved in…this definitely did not make us happy!! We were in the Sunshine State (Did I mention that?!) but the sun had disappeared!! But after driving through a couple of areas that made us lock the car doors (they looked a little scary!) we eventually made it to our destination!! Wooooooooooo!!!

So we parked up at the Beso Del Sol and got out of the car and that was when it hit us…the humidity! Man it was HOT! This also meant my hair started to frizz uncontrollably…never a good thing! I was not looking good right now! I seriously needed some way to tame my mop of hair…I was having a Monica from Friends moment and it was not good!!

Hair problems aside, we focused on the hotel – from the outside the place looked OK so off we went to check in but it would appear the woman behind the counter wasn’t in the most helpful of moods! Basically because we’d only booked the rooms a couple of hours ago she didn’t have time to put them in the system so we were going to have to wait – not the best when you’ve been on the road for 7 hours! We also couldn’t work out if our booking problems meant that we had 4 rooms booked instead of 2 and had been charged twice and she was definitely not willing to help us out on that one so we trotted out of the office and headed for the bar – always a good place when you’ve been on the road!!

So we found a little table next to the sea (that ironically wasn’t very clear!!)  but we weren’t the happiest of crews…the sun wasn’t shining, we might have booked 4 hotel rooms instead of 2 and we were worried we’d face the same difficulties during the rest of the trip seen as though we didn’t have any hotels booked….ARGH!

But we had a beer (always helps!) picked ourselves up and checked in! What happens next…well you’ll have to wait for the next post!! I’ve got to keep you reading somehow! Here’s a little tease for you though…

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