Day 8: St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Naples

Wednesday,  September 11, 2013

As we head down Central St. straight to the pier, there are shops, restaurants, tattoo parlors.  A trip to the pier in St. Petersburg before leaving town sounds good.  We want something local, not another chain restaurant.  Leafy Greens Cafe caught my eye.  It’s vegan.  Never had it.  Vegetarian, yes.  Vegan, no.  I LOVE it!  Every spoonful of their Thai Curry Soup is full of flavor.  Spices roll over the tongue, cool bits of cucumber give a rich pop of freshness.  Hubby struggled with his burger.  He’s so used to red meat that it threw him a little.  It’s pricey, but expected for raw dishes that require the safest of preparation procedures.

We see flags flying at half mast today in memory of 9-11.  I thought of a friend who was part of the mass exodus from New York City to the suburbs after the Twin Towers came crashing down.  No city transport services were working.  She, along with hundreds of thousands (dare I say even a million?) of others walked for hours to reach their homes.  The disbelief, shock and fear that transpired was earthshattering.  A year or so ago, we talked about it.  I ask if she thinks about that day.  She says, “Yes.”  It never goes away.

Sarasota was the winter home of the John & Mabel Ringling.  They left a rich legacy for all to enjoy.  You can go to http://www.ringling.org and be amazed at what 20 acres can house!

One of two centaurs guarding the Ringling Museum of Art

One of two centaurs guarding the Ringling Museum of Art

It’s said that one morning, one of the centaurs at the front of the museum had been pushed over.  After questioning everyone, it was discovered that a group of Russian musicians, who had performed at an event on the grounds the night before, had imbibed a bit too much and pushed over the centaur!

Ringling Museum of Art

Ringling Museum of Art

A 1200' terrace with fantastic views at Ca d'Zan, the Ringlings' palatial home

A 1200′ terrace with fantastic views at Ca d’Zan, the Ringlings’ palatial home

We would like to thank Francesca, one of the golf cart shuttle drivers, who went past her shift time to give us one last view of each of the buildings on the Ringlings’ vast estate!

Arriving in Naples around dinner time, we check out a local restaurant, Noodles & Sushi.  I recommend it for an eclectic meal in a trendy atmosphere!

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