We had started off our day at the De Soto National Memorial and then headed over to the barrier islands. As usual, we didn’t have a clue what we would find, but we do like islands, so off we went. Our first stop was Anna Maria Key at the very top near the Sunshine Skyway Channel. At first, when we were driving up there through Holmes Beach, I was feeling pretty underwhelmed by the place. All we could see where lots and lots of bland, generic looking apartment/condo buildings with glimpses of the beach from time to time. Yawn.
And then we got to the heart of Anna Maria Key and that’s when things got quirky. I love quirky. I’m not sure what it was about Anna Maria, but the buildings were older, the colors were brighter, folks were walking and biking around with energy and best of all they had a cute little tiki bar. Who doesn’t love sitting outside on the water underneath a tree and sipping an overpriced beer?
We like watching boats. It was fun to see this cat go through the drawbridge. Amazing how much fun it is watching a drawbridge go up as a bystander. And how annoying it is when you’re in a car waiting to get across.
We loved this old-fashioned trailer court. Made us want to pull Scamper in and stay a while.
After Anna Maria, we headed down south along Longboat Key. We saw more of the generic, bland apartment/condo buildings and lots of enormous new-build houses. The kind of houses that make you realize some people have more money than taste. Scott kept muttering “monstrosity” under his breath each time we passed one. He would get all excited every time we spotted an old, tiny bungalow sitting among them. I guess we’re old fashioned that way – we like houses that stand the test of time. We really admire the owners who don’t cave into peer pressure and raze their bungalow and put a monstrosity in its place. Maybe they have more sense than money.
After driving through the rest of Longboat Key, we headed into Sarasota in search of Ethiopian food. If you want some doro wat deliciousness in Sarasota, Queen of Sheba is the place to try. That’s doro wat on the bottom of the plate – a spicy chicken dish with a hard boiled egg. Miser wat is on the top of the dish. It was okay. Personally, we like our lentils to be cooked a lot longer until they’re practically mush. You can’t really see it too well, but underneath is injera – a flat Ethiopian bread that you use to scoop up the food with and put in your mouth. If you’re going to try Ethiopian food, keep in mind you eat off of one plate. So, please, wash your hands before digging in. Queen of Sheba had hand sanitizer on the tables to make things easier. First time we’ve seen that.
What goes better with Ethiopian food than Ethiopian beer. They have a number of different ones you can try.
After eating, we checked out the Sarasota Bayfront and daydreamed about one day anchoring our boat in the bay.
All of the punters were in from their fishing charters. It seems like such a splurge to go on one of these things, but everyone looks like they had a good time. I think that’s because they caught a lot of fish.
The obligatory photo op at the Sarasota Bayfront.
After drooling over boats and fish, we drove out to the southern barrier islands. It was more of the same until we got to the bottom of Fiesta Key and saw the Turtle Beach Campground. It was one of the places we had been calling with the hopes of getting a spot there, but never had any luck. Such a great little place right on the beach to watch the sunset. We actually tried them again a few days later and they did have a spot. But it turned out it was $60 a night which seems expensive for a county campground. We had read somewhere that it was only $30 a night. (My how our views on what a reasonable rate is have changed – before we hit central Florida, we would have thought $30 was outrageous.) Turns out that’s the summer rate. We passed and went to the much cheaper Babcock-Webb Wildlife Preserve instead. $3 a night vs. $60. Easy decision.
PS - I just re-read this post and realize it is one of the most boring ones I’ve written. Sorry about that. To make up for it, here are a couple of really bad alien jokes.
Why don’t aliens celebrate Christmas? Because they don’t like to give away their presence.
What did the alien say to the cat? Take me to your litter.
PPS - I just re-read the alien jokes and realize they don’t really help matters.
PPPS – Is anyone still out there reading this? If you are, you must be a fan of boring blog posts and inane alien jokes. You are now my new best friend.
We did our “guerilla” thing in the Sarasota-Bradenton area on 4 February 2015.
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