We left Amelia Island, watching a storm brewing in the sky above us. The weather channel had given tornado warnings before we left, and although we weren’t really sure what we were supposed to do, the roads were comfortably full of other cars, so we figured we would just copy everyone else. As we drove, I tried to Google what we should do if there was a tornado, and abandoning the car and flinging ourselves into a ditch seemed to be the main advice, so I hoped we wouldn’t need it (especially as we might end up sharing a ditch with an alligator!)
We had a couple of stops en route, for bagels and a Mc Donald’s ice-cream. The weather was windy and rainy and as we approached Tampa there was a very tornado-like storm cloud—big and black with wisps coming down. I kept my eye on the possible weather danger while Husband drove (and mostly ignored all my helpful advice about ditches).
We checked into a hotel in downtown St. Petersburg and went for a walk. It was windy, but dry, and we set off for the water front. As we crossed a small square (with fountain and white egrets) a woman passed us at a jog, and shouted: “I just felt 2 drops of rain!”
So what? We thought, and continued on our walk. Within the minute, it was raining—raining as in a deluge of water from the sky! We ran to an awning over some tables, and watched. The wind was blowing the palm trees, the water was coming in torrents, everyone was running for cover. It was amazing!
After a few minutes, it stopped raining, and we continued our walk. The water front was pretty, with boats and docks, but before we could enjoy it properly, we felt a couple of spots of rain. This time we knew what to expect, so began to run for cover! We dodged between awnings and over-hanging porches, until we came to a bar, all the time avoiding great fat drops of rain that the wind flung at us. We went into the bar.
The bar was fabulous. We sat up at the bar, looking at the room in the mirrors behind the bottles of drink. Everyone was damp and laughing, and having a nice time. There were huge televisions showing sport, and people eating, and a babble of conversation. I suggested we have some shots (it seemed appropriate). We didn’t.
When the rain stopped, we went back to the hotel.
Dinner was at The Ford Garage. The restaurant was set up like a garage, complete with a car hanging from the ceiling. Our napkins were like grease-cloths, and the walls were full of car paraphernalia. The food was really nice, and I had funnel cake for dessert (like donuts).
The following morning we went for our early run. The weather was warm and muggy, so running wasn’t very easy, but there was a small lake near the hotel, so we ran round that.
After breakfast (banana French toast and coffee) we walked to the Salvador Dali museum. This is now my favourite art gallery in the whole world. It was obviously designed by someone who loved Dali’s work, as even the building was very much in keeping with his style. There was a staircase that went up to the ceiling, and drippy benches in the garden.
Dali’s work is wonderful—though some needs explaining to be properly understood. It is also very clever. Some of his paintings are pictures within pictures, and the museum had little films next to the paintings, showing how the images combine. For example, his painting of a bull-fighter looks like statues of goddesses, but within that there is a bull dying, and a bull-fighter crying because he feels trapped by his life-style. In a painting of a slave market, as you walk further from the picture, you become aware of a huge skull, which is formed from the bodies of the slaves being sold. It’s all very clever. Plus, I really like Dali’s use of colour, and the way he challenges how we think about things (like time—have you seen his drippy clocks? Is time rigid?)
The museum also has a fabulous shop, and after enjoying Dali’s pictures, we could browse the same works made into notebooks and magnets and jigsaw puzzles. Great place for gifts. There was also a car, which Dali had filled with water, and was driven by a deep-sea diver—playing with the idea that people get taxis to stay dry in the rain. I think that’s what I like about Dali’s work, he plays with ideas. And he is a skilful artist.
We had lunch back at the bar we’d sheltered in the day before.
Then we packed our things, and set off for our next stop: Sanibel Island. I absolutely loved St. Petersburg, with its pretty waterfront, and fabulous museum, and amazing weather. I’m so glad we came, even though our visit lasted less than 24 hours. It was all so much fun!
I’ll tell you about Sanibel in another post. Thanks for reading.
Have a great day and take care.
Love, Anne x