To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Eleven April 21st 2017

Sing with me….

 

One day more!
Another day, on the beach for me.
This never-ending road to meet Mickey;
These days of beach are much maligned
They’ll surely end I know its time.
One day more!

How can I write about today?
When I wish we had departed?

One day more.

Tomorrow we’ll be on our way
Our time in Disney World just started!

One more day is all I know.

Will we ever ride again?

One more day so tricky sharing.

I was born to be in queues.

What a life, how dare I moan.

Till we’re there it’s what I’ll do!

I can’t wait until we’re there!

One more day of beachy yawns!

I can’t wait to see the shows

One more sandy day of tedium.

Till I see my Ariel there

Where they serve the dogs of corn

I’ll eat two and I won’t share

The food I have is just for me!!

Tomorrow’s when the day is here

One day more!

One day more till we can have fun,
Aim for rope drop like we should!
We’ll be ready two hours later,
And my strops will do no good!

One day more!

Watch us run a muck,
We’re gonna ride ’em all,
We’re gonna meet a duck
By the Epcot ball,
Here’s a little tip
You never have too much
We’ll stay beyond all others
And not give two….hoots!

One day to a new beginning

Raise the expectations high!

Where a bumbag is a thing

A bumbag never is a thing!!

Disney World is for the winning

There are rides that must be done

Do you know of what I sing?

My place is there, I ride with you!

One day more!

I will be a Disney hero
All will follow where I go
We will use my little secrets,
We will use the things we know.

One day more!

One more day till we will have fun
We will ride all that is good
Must be ready, pert and well poised

Tomorrow we’ll be on our way,
Tomorrow is the Disney day

Tomorrow we’ll discover
What our time in Disney has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!

Yep, it’s our last beach day!

I was awake early. I took the chance to have a chat with Rebecca who updated me on some of the work we were having done to the house whilst away. You know the work I was blogging about before we went that would “definitely be finished before we left”. Anyway, it was close now and I was pleased to see it from thousands of miles away.
I rose at 8.30 and breakfasted in a cereal manner.

You will of course know that I then went to the supermarket for our lunch and “bits”. It took longer than usual today as I had to say my farewells to the staff. They were genuinely upset, mainly as they weren’t sure how they would pay the rent next month without my expenditure and the goodbyes were tearful.

We made it over to the beach at around 11am minus Mum & Dad, as my Mum needed to be close to certain amenities in the house if you know what I mean. Today was to be a day of serious tan acquisition. At home we see sun all the time, on the TV, so we knew that today may be the last time there was a chance to lie in something warm for a while unless we wet the bed.

Louise was either sunbathing or had too much vino last night.

I took some random beach shots so I could look at them during the bleak mid-winter and curse myself for wishing away our time at the beach so that we could go to Disney.

Here’s a sandy Ryan.

Don’t worry, these are the last of my body parts you should see today.

After Mum and Dad arrived bearing lunch we all ate. My Dad then immediately went into the sea, making a mockery of all those years he told me as a child that if I swam after eating I would undoubtedly die.

Our last afternoon passed as all the earlier ones had until a couple started to toss some balls in front of us.

I read a lot more, finishing another book and starting a new one that I had found in the house. It wouldn’t have been my first choice but it was either that or start reading the back of the sun cream bottles…and you know we had enough of those to have kept me going for a few days.

Louise went for a stroll, Dad swam a bit more and for the final couple of hours we went crazy and put the umbrellas down, allowing the sun to do its worst in our last throes of beach time.

Emily gave up first and wandered back to the house. Mum and Dad were next, leaving just Louise and I to soak up the last moments of our time on Siesta Key beach.

Eventually I dragged Louise kicking and screaming off the beach, her fingernails making a lovely trail all the way back to the house.

Everyone showered and we started the packing for our move tomorrow to the Beach Club (for us) and All Stars for Mum and Dad. Once ready we walked to the bus stop for our journey to the village.

Having had a curtailed experience on our last visit to The Hub due to Dad feeling ill, we decided to give it another go. It certainly seemed the most popular eatery and we had a wait of around half an hour for a table.

We sat outside and had a look at the menu.

We all cocktailed to soften the blow. It’s a lively place but tonight was even more so due to a very loud and large birthday party. They were one of those groups that like to make everyone see and hear what a great time they are having. I was delighted to see them leave.

Louise and Emily shared a pitcher of Margaritas and I had a Coronarita.

My drink had clearly confused my Mum.

Dad had two Isle Have Anothers. I couldn’t tell you what was in it.

We started with Nachos….as we tend to do a lot.

I had a Pork Enchilada…..but surely we had a cream for that by now!

Emily and Louise had a burger.

Mum had Fish and Chips

Dad had seafood pasta.

Just for a change we were all really full. We paid the bill and I forgot to write down how much it was. It was worth it anyway.

Imagine the delight and celebration in the supermarket when we visited them again. We needed “ointments and bits” according to my notes. We left with several members of staff clinging to my leg as I dragged them towards the door.

Luckily the bus arrived just as we left, they accepted that I had to leave and returned to the store to begin the process of boarding up, ready for their inevitable closure.

We were in bed for ten.

Tomorrow, we Disney!!!

Till the next time…..


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To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Ten April 20th 2017

For the love of all that is holy, will this stay at the beach never end? At the time, I had no such feelings. Now, trying to make the same notes for the sixth day in a row somehow different is driving me insane. This must be how Coldplay feel every time they start a new album!

This is, I suppose, why normal folks don’t write trip reports for beach holidays.

Today, an alien space craft landed on our roof and shared with me the secret of time travel. Or not. Maybe instead my notes look just like yesterday’s.

But wait, what’s this. They say I was awake at 5.15. It turns out my phone rang at that time with a call from an 0151 number. Being pretty sure that nobody in Liverpool needed me that desperately I declined the call and went back to sleep until 8.15. A bagel and a brew were taken on board and Dad and I of course went to the supermarket. Today’s shopping list included lunch, a sun hat for Mum and some cold sore cream. Whilst in the pharmacy an elderly Floridian chap asked me to help him pick out the correct dental floss. This wasn’t due to him admiring my stunning dentistry, rather a symptom of his lack of sight. I put on my best Hugh Grant impression, as I feel compelled to do whenever I’m speaking to Americans, and got him what he needed.

Once back home we loaded up for the beach, crossed the road and dug in for the day, with another stiff breeze threatening our brollies.

Hey, look there’s Ryan!

Sitting, resting, reading, lazing, sunbathing and chilling were just a few of the activities undertaken until 12.30 when I walked back to the house to pick up lunch. In a radical departure from earlier days I had a salad and not a sandwich. It had walnuts and cranberries in it and was really exotic. A few days on the beach and I think I’m Peter Ustinov.

As had happened every day so far, just after lunch the direction of the wind turned 180 degrees. You could set your watch by it. So we had to move the umbrellas and dig them in again pointing the other way. Such a hectic day!

Drastic measures were being taken to tan the bits that needed tanning but cover the bits which had already been burned to a frazzle. Louise had sellotaped a couple of brillo pads to her nipples to prevent further burning.

I read a lot in the afternoon and ate an unfortunate amount of crisps. By doing so I made friends with this chap who by the end of the afternoon was pretty much tame and sat on my knee. Oh hey, there’s Ryan again.

He liked crisps almost as much as I do.

By 4pm the burn was becoming too much and we wandered back to the house. The rule is that no matter how early we leave the beach to get ready, the departure time will still be the same. The time taken for readying expands to fill the time available.

During the readying we heard a large bang from our bathroom. It turned out that Louise had fallen in the shower bruising things unmentionable here. Add that to her burnt boobs, cold sore and the cut on her foot that she picked up from the door as she had entered the bathroom and she was entering the territory of having to be put down to prevent any further suffering.

Tonight’s dinner was to be at an Olive Garden, at which we pointed the sat nav now and set off. Twenty minutes later we arrived at South Tamiami Trail. Our wait for a table was to be twenty minutes, but they softened the blow with a half price voucher for the bar.

Louise had a red wine, Dad a G&T and sodas for everyone else.

Once seated we browsed the familiar menu whilst we waited for the salad and garlic bread. Our server had asked if anyone wanted soup. After ten minutes of laughter and scathing sarcasm she understood that we preferred the salad. To be honest salad and bread sticks are the main reason we come here.

Our server noticed that all the bread had gone before she had finished putting the basket down on the table so she went and got some more. I can confirm I ate too many of them for my own good.

I then had Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo

Emily & Mum had Lasagna. This is pretty much Emily’s favourite food on the planet.

Louise had her “usual” of four cheese Ziti but this time with meatballs.

You may notice it was meatball singular.

Dad had Chicken Marsala.

Everything was superb as it always tends to be here.

As we were getting into our eating stride by this stage of the trip, desserts were done too.

Emily & I had Tiramisu but I’m sure CVS do a cream for that.

Mum had Apple Pie Thing (that’s what my notes say!)

Dad and Louise had chocolate cake.

They were all as good as they look.

With more wine, two lattes and a cappuccino we were confirmed as greedy gits and asked to pay just £135 plus tip for all of that.

We wandered across the parking lot to a nearby Publix for, you guessed it, bits. I noted another potion was acquired and Dad bought a white toothpaste as he didn’t like the blue one he was using. It was only after checking out that we pointed out that one was blue too.

Back to the car now and we drove to Siesta Key village and parked up for a wander around the shops. We didn’t go for a drink anywhere as our bodies could not accept any form of food or drink at this stage and Emily had left her ID at the house.

We were back home at 9.30 and asleep just after 10 with a bit more reading done.

Till the next time…..


La Nouba by Cirque Du Soleil



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To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Nine April 19th 2017

Sooooo…another beach day to write about……O…K……this week at the beach is truly testing my ability to make very similar days sound different. You’d think after all these years of stretching the same half a dozen gags over all these trip reports I’d be fine. Let’s see how we go.

We were up early at around 7am. We had arranged to Facetime Rebecca and Louise’s Mum at 12 back home. Having dragged my tired sack of bones from my bed to chat, once that was done I went straight back for a bit. There was no theme park queue to be at the front of after all.

Once up for a second time, guess where I went? Yep, the supermarket. I was picking up the usual stuff for lunch but I also needed a book. I don’t get much time to read in real life but on holiday I tend to devour books at an alarming rate. However, it would appear that the population of Siesta Key are either illiterate or all own Kindles as it took a very long search to find a shop that sold them and then the choice was pretty poor. Having picked up a fairly standard holiday thriller I returned home and got us over to the beach at around 10.30.

There was a lot of wind today, but with all this rich food we were eating, that wasn’t too much of a surprise. After such a strenuous morning we all rested until around 12, avoiding direct sunlight and trying to keep our umbrellas from blowing down the beach. Emily and I went for a wander up the shoreline.

I’m not sure how far we walked but it was the furthest we’d walked since we last saw a theme park.

We encountered some strange and wonderful beasts, native to the area…

These are probably called the orange billed black heads or similar…

This one, probably has a latin name such as hugioscruffygit.

Whereas this creature I think was called something like Mutton As Lamb With Cheesewire Up her Arse.

 

When we reached this it felt like a natural place to stop so we did.

We had a sit down for a few minutes taking in the smell of our skin crisping nicely in the midday sun.

Then we walked all the way back.

Emily resumed her place under her umbrella and I nipped back to the house to get our lunch. We endured doing lots of nothing for the rest of the afternoon. There was literally nothing worthy of a photo or me making a note of it. Some might say that’s an ideal afternoon.

At around 4.45 we headed back to the house and everyone rested and readied whilst I made some notes. As I opened up the camera to look back at our very eventful day, I noticed it had ever so slightly completely broken.  The large LCD display on the back looked like a kaleidoscope. Having experienced a very similar issue at Vero Beach some years ago I diagnosed it as having sand inside it and being irreparable. It did still take photos, as this classic proves.

But clearly a new camera was required.

Once everyone was ready we headed to a Best Buy which I had located online. I left everyone in the car and made a very swift trip inside to pick up the cheapest point and shoot camera I could find. The Canon Powershot was the one I walked out with, having exchanged it for $119. I have to say, the photos from here on in are much better. All these blurry ones weren’t my fault after all!!

We stopped for gas and filled the car with $30. Not actual dollar bills you understand. I swapped that amount for an appropriate liquid. Tonight we were following our sat nav to Applebees.

It was just a five-minute wait to be seated at our table….

and this was done by a young girl with EMO tendencies and an impressive fringe which made me all sorts of nostalgic.

As we perused the menu, drinks were ordered…

Emily had a Blue Long Island Iced Tea…

Louise had a Sangria…

and clearly I now had a camera that worked!!

We shared some Mozzarella Sticks for appetisers…

Then we entree’d as follows….

Me – South Western Steak Salad…

Emily – Burger

Louise – Steak with Garlic Mash and Broccoli

Dad – Chicken and Shrimp

Mum – Who clearly couldn’t wait for me to take my photo….a cheesey chicken thing. I’m sure that’s exactly what it said on the menu..

More cocktails followed and I ordered the Deep Fried Apple Cake thing…

Everyone else said they didn’t want any but I asked for extra spoons and sure enough I had to fight everyone to the death to stop them eating more than me.

The bill was $135 plus tip. Our way home was only interrupted by our daily pharmacy stop, this time at CVS. I didn’t make a note of what we bought other than “more bloody ointments and potions”. Our lovely beach house was beginning to look like a classroom at Hogwarts.

We excelled ourselves tonight by being in bed at 9.30.

Till the next time……

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To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Eight April 18th 2017

For all you theme park fans who love to read trip reports about rides, shows and all the stuff that goes with it, today’s report will mostly be around golf, shopping and food. So….that’s good isn’t it?

Nobody was in any rush to get up today. This party lifestyle was taking its toll. More to the point, everyone was burnt to a crisp and the thought of spending another day lay in the sun was about as appealing as Piers Morgan.

On the plus side, the weather did look to be promising a little relief from the heat with some cloud and lower temperatures so I took an executive decision and, (are you ready?), changed the plan!  The plan had me and Dad down to play golf tomorrow but with sunburn at the forefront of everyone’s mind I pulled it forward by a day, meaning the ladies would be sheltered inside whichever mall I could find to deposit them at.

Cruising the internet like a pro, I quickly found a golf course and a mall close enough to each other to work. Dad did a crazy thing and actually phoned the golf course to book rather than do it online, whilst everyone got ready. These quaint old traditions do need preserving I guess.

We left the house at 10.20 and arrived at the same mall we went to last night to eat at the Cheesecake Factory thirty minutes later. The females rolled from the still moving vehicle before we sped off to Rolling Hills for our 11.20 tee time.  The chap in the pro shop who booked us in probably hadn’t been a Disney cast member earlier in his career. His disposition and cheeriness was that of a Remainer at a UKIP conference. He was so awful to us that Dad emailed a complaint in later, only to find it was the anniversary of his father’s death!!  So we felt great about that, but really he shouldn’t have been working in those circumstances. That could only happen to us….

We were clubbed and buggied up and out on time. My golf took a little while to warm up despite having played as recently as eighteen months ago.  As with most places a man of my standing and good looks goes, leggy birds were not too far away…

and I was watching Dad for tips on how to get the thing to go in the right direction.

I got steadily better, as to be honest, I could not have got any worse, and on the back nine (see how easily I slip into the technical lingo) I managed three pars on the trot. For those non golfers, you should be worshiping me as some form of sporting freak.

Dad was blown away by the value of this offer…

and was seriously considering selling up and moving over here just to take it up. It’s basically £30 a month to play three courses as much as you like, unlimited time on the driving range, a beer with every round of golf and golf lessons. There hasn’t been a better deal since the one we’re definitely going to get from the EU.

To even things up, the golfing Gods restored my incompetence on the final hole so I finished in a blaze of glory with a humbling nine. I think I was getting tired!

I still managed to get round in less than 100, which for your average hacker who plays once a blue moon is almost respectable. If I played more than once a year I’d be dangerous.

We handed our stuff back in and went to have our free lunch which came with the round. It was a very acceptable chicken burger for me and chicken salad for Dad. Thoughts now turned to the absolute financial carnage Louise could have caused in the many hours she had been left unsupervised in the mall. This thought threatened my free lunch escaping so we quickly got into the car and sped back to the mall hoping we had some dollars left for the rest of the trip.

It was a narrow escape. There had been some buying, mainly for Rebecca, and the obligatory large candle that for reasons that escape me, we’d have to now transport around Florida and back over the Atlantic. It could have been much worse as the ladies had spent not an inconsiderable amount of time contemplating how to get a double bed back to the UK for Emily’s room. It was lovely apparently. See what happens when I’m not around to squash their hopes and dreams?

We left the mall as quickly as possible and after all those hours shopping the next thing we had to do was stop at a supermarket to buy stuff.

Two photos there just in case you were not familiar with what a supermarket is….

My notes say we bought bits. I really need to start a business up that specialises in bits. It is a very lucrative industry.

As Louise inevitably visited the pharmacy for some medical apparatus, cream or pill we did not yet carry, I did notice this…

Now I know it is blurry, but it boils down to the fact that you can order your repeat prescriptions via text. In the UK you have to submit, in person, a written document, notarised by your local MP between the times of 9.00 and 9.03 on the third Tuesday of a month beginning with H, and the receptionist can still use it for toilet paper if they don’t like the cut of your jib.

We eventually finished buying bits and headed home. I think it was the nine on the final hole but I felt really rough when we got there. I resorted to lying down for an hour whilst everyone got ready and that seemed to do the trick. It also meant that for once I didn’t have to wait for an age having got ready myself, after being told “I’ll only be five minutes now” by Louise.

Having figured out that the free bus service stopped about six feet from our front door, we wandered there and waited for a few minutes until it turned up.

Dusk is a lovely time in Florida wherever you are it seems.

The bus ride was only a few minutes and after alighting we wandered down Ocean Boulevard to Daiquiri Deck.

We were immediately seated over looking the Boulevard.

Cocktails were ordered by all, except Mum, with this being my first of the trip.

If only I had written down what it was!!

We started things off with a shared Hummus platter and Nachos for appetisers.

Then we all had…

Emily – Chicken Caesar Wrap classily garnished with half a bottle of ketchup.

Louise – Siesta Burger

Dad – Shrimp and Scallops

Me – Ribeye (I am officially shite at taking these photos. In my defence, I have to do it very quickly as everyone is gagging to dig in!)

Mum – Chicken Fajita Wrap

The food was just OK to be honest. The location and cocktails are the main reasons to visit here I think. Whilst we were eating we saw the one and only sight of rain of the holiday (shocking for an August visitor) in a torrential downpour.

It only lasted about ten minutes and was all done by the time we were ready to leave. We had a wander around for a bit and found a bar with a live band so we went in there and had a drink whilst watching.

They were pretty good, despite playing a load of songs we’d never heard of. Having rocked out until the early hours, if early hours means 10.30, we left looking for a bus. Instead we flagged down one of the many free ride services that operate on the island. They are typically golf cart style things with fairy lights and a hippy driver and they are free other than a tip. She delivered us to our door and I gave her ten dollars, having no clue if that was enough or too much.

We were in by 11pm and sleeping within minutes.

Till the next time…..

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To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Seven April 17th 2017

After all that partying last night and staying up till all hours, understandably we slept in until 9am. I bet you weren’t expecting this rock and roll lifestyle were you?

We all breakfasted in line with our individual desires. My desires were cereal. Yes that’s odd but it’s my business OK? With that done and some clothes added to my silky frame I of course set out for the supermarket with Louise and Mum. Where else?

I stocked up again, bought sandwiches for lunch on the beach (this routine may get overly familiar to you by the time we leave Siesta Key) and paid another piece of their mortgage off.

Louise had no interest in sandwiches, hoagies and snacks. Her attendance was for an ulterior motive. Her so far Frodo like quest for bathing costumes had been fruitless (yes I know we are in Florida, where people attend formal events in a bikini, but none of the four and half thousand we had so far seen had been right) so we now had to visit some of the beach shops to continue the quest.

The one directly across from the supermarket  was huge.

In fact, it was three shops knocked into one. I suspect it was owned by the same people as the supermarket and they had extended purely on our spend with them so far.

Louise looked at stuff and I loitered uncomfortably trying not to look at the thongs and bikini tops. Bored of that I wandered deeper into the shop away from the “women’s things” to more general beach equipment. I bought a beach chair (the house only had four) another umbrella for more shade as we had all of course burnt ourselves yesterday, three beach towels and two wicker mats for the lying upon.

All of that still came nowhere near to the amount Louise spent on two swimsuits. As I paid, in a state of shock, it crossed my mind that I bought my swimming gear sometime around 1989 and in today’s money it would have cost about £5. Sure all the netting inside has perished and they can be a little snug, but there aren’t many pairs of shorts I can buy that wouldn’t be, if you know what I mean!!

We left with the shop owners high-fiving each other and headed back to the house. After a lie down and launching a Go Fund Me page for the rest of the trip, we wandered over to the beach at around 11am. It was less windy today which was ironic as we were all covered up to protect our salmon pink flesh from the raging sun and a bit of breeze would have been very welcome.

You may have missed the news that Dad recently launched his own rap band, MC Denture and the Liver Spots.

Staying in the shade today was everyone’s sole focus and any part of the body found outside of the shade’s protection soon reacted like those vampires in the Twilight films.

I had popped back to the house around 12.30 to pick up the food for lunch.

It may sound hard to believe but I could not finish my sandwich. It was huge. Here’s a picture of huge amounts of meat between my legs.

Of course that didn’t stop me putting away almost a full packet of crisps/chips. One of the major benefits of being an alleged grown up is that I don’t need to finish my sandwich to be allowed to eat the other more interesting snacky stuff.

On a beach the size of a small country, I did find it ironic that we somehow found ourselves within ear shot of the biggest bore in the US. Not only did this group have the ignorance to play music all day, inflicting all sorts of youngster noise upon us, but the one chap who had assumed the role of preacher for the day, spoke literally non-stop, about his favourite subject….himself.

My God he could talk. Dad pondered if he ever took a breath as we entered hour two of his anecdotal diarrhea. Topics included films he had seen and his vital thoughts on each of them and every scene within it, himself, how he spent time in jail before turning his life around, himself, sports, himself, what his companions should do with their lives, education, homes, families, diets oh and yes he talked about himself.

It got to the stage where Dad declared he was going into the sea to drown himself. Before doing so, he did pop over to our friend to ask his advice on the best way to do it.

Emily and Mum took evasive action by late afternoon and went back to the house. Their burnt skin was also a factor in that decision. Louise, Dad and I stayed until 4.30ish before striking camp and heading back too. As we had enough gear to attempt an assault on Mount Everest, the walk back, in silly heat and very soft sand proved to be a struggle. I’m sure you all feel sorry for us!

Showers, after sun and readying took until 6.30 when we set off for…

It was about a half hour drive to the Mall at University Town Center. We parked up and entered to be told of a forty minute wait for a table. We hunkered down for that but only ten minutes later we were called. Apparently someone hadn’t turned up for their reservation and we could have their table. You see, good things happen to us in this country!

We were shown to a lovely booth and began the task of working through the enormous menu. The choice was bamboozling. We declined appetisers as of course we were all aiming for dessert here.

Long Island Ice Teas were ordered for Louise and Emily…

and we ordered…

Me – Steak Tacos

Louise and Emily – Four Cheese Pasta with Chicken

Dad – Chicken Shrimp and Pineapple

Mum – Club Sandwich

All of the above was lovely. However, with all of that nonsense out of the way we could move on to the real reason we were here.  CHEESECAKE……

The choice of cheesecake is, as you might expect, vast. We spent an age looking but as our server returned to take our orders, I still hadn’t settled on what may have been the biggest decision of the trip. In a mild panic, I spat out the name of a cheesecake, with no idea if that was really what I wanted….

It was a Snickers Cheesecake…

Emily and Louise – Banana Cream Cheesecake

Dad had ice cream and Mum had Strawberries. As neither of those were cheesecake, I deemed them unworthy of a photo.

I know that I have said that I have been full previously on this trip so far, and perhaps only with the exception of the Hash House a Go Go extravaganza, this was the fullest I had been. I did force every last crumb of the cheesecake down though. It was a matter of principle.

The bill was $200 including a good tip.

The drive home through a sugar coma felt quicker than the drive there which was welcome as all anyone wanted were looser clothes and bed. The latter happened at 10pm. Yes another late night hedonistic extravaganza.

Till the next time…..

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To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Six April 16th 2017

It can be hard to find the amount of time I’d like to dedicate to writing these things. Considering I have to fit it into the seven free minutes I have each week, the quality of them is just about acceptable but about 50% of what I aspire to. Anyway, over the next few weeks as I cover our time at Siesta Key, I will have an ingenious time-saving plan. I can simply copy and paste the day I’m about to write over and over as we did pretty much the same thing for a week. Stand by for a lot of pictures of sand and blue skies with some food towards the end of each day!

For those who have lost track or didn’t care, today was Sunday. We were to spend it worshiping Louise’s favourite deity, the sun.

We woke up naturally at 8.20 and took a leisurely shower. I suggested that tomorrow we try it one at a time. Breakfast was a very un-Hash House like bagel and a cup of coffee. I was worried that I may waste away to nothing on such meager rations. It had almost been twelve hours since we last visited the supermarket, so that was the first stop of the day for beach essentials. That consisted of lunch in the form of sandwiches and snacks and some tackle for the enjoying of the beach such as lilos and umbrellas. Americans seem allergic to shade but us pasty Brits need all the protection we can get from the merciless sun.

I watched some football on the TV upon returning home until everyone was ready . See how I have learned not to pester folks to be out of the door early every day of the holiday!

We wandered over the road and found a suitable spot on a very spacious and idyllic looking beach. The first job was to blow stuff up.

Twenty minutes, and a couple of cardiac arrests and blackouts later, things were of a suitable size and girth. The fact that nobody used the bloody things for the whole week was hilarious.

Siesta Key beach is as lovely as its awards and reputation suggest.

Our rented house was at the beginning of those tracks in the sand you can see in the picture below.

Over the years Louise has done her best to sample all of life’s ailments, diseases and injuries in the US. I think it is some sort of crusade or comparison to prove the UK’s NHS is better than the US alternative. I have documented all of these, some in more graphic detail than I should. I think we all remember the Vagisil escapade some years ago?

Well, this year I think she has surpassed all previous efforts. She had burnt boobs. This was not as you may assume a result of getting her baps out in the sun around the pool at the Royal Pacific. No, that’s how I burned my boobs. Instead, it was all down to one more example of the very strange things ladies do in the name of fashion. To allow her to wear certain outfits without the support of a bra she had used some nipple covers. Now, men I hear you. What the f*** are nipple covers? They were news to me, but they are a thing.

I always thought they were for the exclusive purpose of preventing breast-feeding mothers from having permanent wet patches. When the girls were very young it wasn’t too uncommon for me to wake up with said nipple cover attached to some part of my body. That’s all part of the magical parental journey.

Now, I have discovered that to prevent “chapel hat pegs” when wearing certain kinds of dresses, these posh elastoplasts are used to keep the bad boys at bay.

Somehow, these had caused some very serious damage to Louise’s puppies and as much as I am making light of this, they looked bloody sore and no fun at all. With this in mind the next few days were a struggle for her to find comfy sunbathing positions or indeed to wear clothes that actually touched the damaged area which drew a few funny looks I can confirm!

Traditionally at this point, Dad will apply a reservoir of factor 50 and then immediately wash it all off in the sea. Today was no different.

We all rested, read and other things beginning with R. It wasn’t too long until lunchtime rolled around and I wandered back to the house to pick up the stuff we’d bought earlier from the fridge. Ryan, on his first outing of the holiday earned his stripes carrying it all back to the beach.

We had pre-made sandwiches which were, as you might expect, huge. As I had been in charge of choosing lunch there was also a good amount of snacky crap, such as huge bags of chips (crisps) and some chocolate brownie things that I can still taste today. I got some beers too and Dad went crazy having about four which is probably more than he drinks the rest of the year!

The afternoon passed without much else to report. We rested and read some more, and as Louise had thrown one seagull a Dorito, our section of the beach looked like a scene from a Hitchcock film.

You can clearly see some lovely birds in that last photo!

That was the ONLY time one of those bloody lilos was used. Literally a waste of breath!

After a tough day of this sort of thing we started to drift back to the house in phases from around 4pm. Showers and readying began. Being our first night we weren’t sure how or where to get the plethora of free transport options to the village so I played safe and ordered an Uber. It took twenty minutes to get to us and about three minutes to take us to our destination. That was Ocean Boulevard, the road that runs through Siesta Key Village and includes many shops, bars and restaurants. Thankfully it now looked a lot less like Magaluf and much more like the sleepy, relaxed location I had researched all those months ago.

We wandered for a bit and ended up choosing The Hub.

With a twenty-minute wait for a table we took to the bar and I had my first beer of the trip.

The ladies had cocktails, apart from Emily who had left her ID at the house and Dad another beer.  Here’s Emily looking very pleased with her Coke.

We were seated and then served by Jazz who I can best describe, in Louis Walsh style as reminding me of a young K D Lang. As the vast amounts of food we were about to order wouldn’t be enough Jazz persuaded us to get some chips and salsa to gorge on whilst we looked at the menu.

We ordered –

Nachos for Lousie and Emily, who clearly thought the chips and salsa were not sufficient.

Me – Ribs

Mum – Chicken Tacos

Dad – Steak & Shrimp

Emily & Louise – Chicken Burrito

Half way through the meal Dad felt very rough and had to escape to the loo. He waited outside for us whilst we finished and I ate his steak. We put it down to too much beer, rich food and sun and he laid off the beer for the rest of the trip and felt a whole lot better for it. If you don’t drink a lot, suddenly drinking can be hazardous.

The bill was $130 plus tip and the food was excellent. We rounded off the night with yet another visit to the supermarket. Dad bought a huge corkscrew for the bottom of his umbrella. This was to bury it deeper into the sand. The beach had been quite breezy today, which was very welcome in the blazing sun, but it did cause some umbrella carnage from time to time.

We of course had to buy some sun screen as the one we had brought with us and used hardly any of was no longer suitable for reasons I can’t explain and we also got some aloe vera for our burnt bits and Louise’s toasty nipples. I think they were a band in the seventies?

We caught the free bus that was parked up outside as we left and we got off a stop early as it was pitch black and we couldn’t tell where we were in the dark. Bed was found at a hedonistic 10pm.

Till the next time…..

 

To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Five April 15th 2017

The first phase of the holiday was ending today. A part of me was saddened by this. After all the planning, waiting and build up I always try to cling onto each moment of the trip as it escapes through my fingers like fine sand.

There was still far more to come than had passed but I am strange like that. Today was moving day, Universal was over and we were heading to Siesta Key. As all we had to do this morning was put the possession explosion that had happened in our room back into our cases there was no mad rush to get up. We lazed in bed until a crazy 9am. It took an hour to pack and just after ten we left RPR for the last time and headed over to get Mum & Dad. More fun and sweating was had with the quart into pint pot game involving the luggage and car. We did find a slightly different configuration which improved things but Dad still had a case on his lap.

Thankfully we only had a ten minute drive this time. We were heading for Hash House a Go Go and a life threatening amount of food. As we entered the car park we noticed it was as packed as my underwear. Thankfully they had complimentary valet parking. So once we had released Dad from his suitcase companion, we handed over the keys and headed in. It’s usually at this point that I imagine the news headlines –

“Stupid Brit Gives Complete Stranger Posing as Valet His Car Keys”.

The lure of food was greater than my worries so I continued onwards.

We were faced with a fifteen minute wait and a tractor.

We were seated just before 11am and began the daunting task of navigating the menu. It is HUGE.

We stalled the waitress by ordering some drinks. Coffees and juice all round and Louise ordered a special Mocha which she declared to be the best she ever had. My nickname is mocha by the way!

I didn’t get a picture as I was too busy choosing food, but here’s one I found online.

We eventually decided upon –

Me, Dad and Emily – Andy’s Fried Chicken Benedict

Andy’s sage fried chicken w/ fresh spinach, hardwood smoked bacon, market tomato, griddled mozzarella, chipotle cream and scrambled eggs.

All Benedicts served on a fresh split biscuit with griddled mashed potatoes

Mum – Tractor Driver Combo with French Toast

Two Eggs w/ bacon sausage or potatoes with 1 HH signature flapjack. Add one buck for HH famous flapjack.With Vanilla Waffle With Griddled french toast

Louise – Portabella Mushroom

Fresh portabello mushroom, roasted red peppers, basil pesto & griddled goat cheese all on a fresh baked wheat bun

As my attempt looked like this….

Here’s a competent photo taken by someone else.

It is hard to describe the food here. I struggle to find a word that captures what I thought about it. It was superb, delicious, huge, different, fun, huge, unique, huge and huge.

Emily threw the towel in with her plate looking untouched. I made a very good effort but couldn’t finish. It was just so full of things that are designed to fill you up. Mash, Fried Chicken, Biscuit and smothered in a delicious spicy sauce. Safe to say this place will be on the plan for every future trip we undertake.

My notes failed to capture how much it cost, but frankly I didn’t care. You have to try this place!

Slightly more of us left at 12.40 than had arrived. Our car was returned to us and noticeably groaned as we inflicted our increased girth upon it. We found ourselves stuck in traffic trying to get onto the I4. I did think that the traffic was much worse in and around Universal and I Drive than it ever is around WDW and Kissimmee. With only one U Turn required (unlike Theresa May…ooh bit of politics….) which was totally the fault of our sat nav and not me, we found the Interstate and headed for Disney Springs. We arrived at 1pm and parked in Lime. That’s one of the new car parks. The theme parks are full of breath taking technology delivering jaw dropping immersive experiences. However, the fact that you can see if a row has a space without driving down it blew our collective minds. We live in exciting times.

Disney Springs is, as we expected, almost unrecognisable from what we first encountered as Disney Village in 1980 and as Downtown Disney in more recent times. We arranged to meet Mum & Dad later and set off to do what I hoped would be browsing.

The D Life, Beauty & The Beast themed shop was lovely.

Next was Sephora. I have no idea what any of the items they sell are but clearly I am almost alone in that as it was packed.

Louise was still searching for some sandals. Not just any sandals. We of course encountered many pairs of such in the many shops we visited, but none ticked the boxes they needed to.

Emily got a couple of sweatshirts which somehow I paid for despite her being 21 and gainfully employed.

It was very hot and we needed some water which we picked up from the Poutine Place. Upon getting to the counter and seeing some food, I almost threw up there and then, my stomach protesting at the thought of me trying to put anything else into it. It was an act of self protection and I applaud it for that.

We entered the vast expanse of World of Disney next and spent days wandering the endless array of Disney merchandise. By some miracle and completely by chance we left via the same doors we came in, which is a first for us. It was time now to meet Mum & Dad and so we headed back to the Lime car park entrance.

With Louise still needing footwear and a swimming costume I googled for a Walmart or Target having had all the posh boutiques at Disney Springs let us down and set off.

Never has the phrase cockpit been more apt.

Louise was slightly excited for a second in case this was the bloke from Sons of Anarchy.

It wasn’t.

The Target google found for me was actually the same one we spent far too much time in last year kitting out Emily for her time working in WDW. The same retail park contained a Ross in which we spent more time than any man should have to endure.

Then we went next door to the large sports store. We spent only a few minutes exploring the huge Dicks. Thankfully, the required sandals were discovered in Dicks. There are specialist web sites for that I believe. OK enough desperate attempts to make innuendos out of Dicks. In Target she also found some shorts.

With all the shopping I could tolerate done we now headed for Siesta Key.

It took just under two hours in total.

The last mile driving down the “front” was slow and tortuous but we eventually got to our house without incident or getting lost.

The house was lovely. Quirky certainly, a little rustic and not your typical polished, clinical new home but it was in keeping with all the other properties in the area.

Emily and I went to find the local supermarket. It was somewhere we would spend many happy hours over the coming week.

We had gone for some “essentials” and left $137 lighter about forty minutes later.

With the shopping packed away thoughts turned to dinner but nobody was really hungry so we stayed in the house and snacked instead watching some TV.

Apparently wine was an essential I forgot to pick up during my first visit to the shop, so I remedied that now with another trip. The drive to the supermarket took me up the main road on which all the bars and restaurants are. I did have a slight worry that I may not have brought us to the most suitable place as it looked tonight like Magaluf or Falaraki. However, this was a Saturday night at the tail end of Spring Break and my slight fears were unfounded as we would find out during our stay.

Upon getting back to the house I was knackered and fell into bed, managing about ten minutes reading before sleep.

Till the next time…..