Trip To Florida

Selfie on Sand

Christl and I went on a search for palm trees, beach sand, and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. We found all of these and much more on a recent ten-day trip to Sanibel Island and St. Petersburg, Florida. It was bitter-sweet visit because the last time we visited Florida we sold Sabra, a junk-rigged sailboat, on which we were living for two decades as Snowbirds from Bavaria. We packed-up hurriedly and were rushed out of America because of the Covid pandemic. It was a hectic airline schedule, which had us flying backwards from Florida to Detroit and on to Amsterdam before reaching Munich, Germany.

More on the sweet part of our recent trip. We flew from Munich with a stopover in Charlotte, and on to Fort Myers. A rented car took us to Sanibel Island. That is where I took all palm tree pictures. We were surprised to see a palm tree named after the famous German Bismarck, the first Chancellor of Germany, called the Bismarckian Palm.

All sorts of palm trees, including Bismarckian Palm (upper right)

From Wiki, “Its name Nobile Bismarckia was given by 2 German botanists in 1881 because it looks so majestic and gives an aristocratic feel exuded from every single leaf. This palm tree has no thorns.”

We then drove to Captiva Island to catch a ferry taking us to Useppa Island. We had a lovely walk leading us to a mansion, now a hotel and restaurant, for lunch. Also from Wiki: “Chicago businessman John Roach built a hotel on Useppa Island in 1896. Barron Collier bought the island in 1911, and developed the resort, enlarging the hotel and adding tennis courts and a 9-hole golf course. Collier made the island his official residence, from which he directed his real estate empire. Collier died in 1939, and the resort was closed during World War II. Hurricanes in 1944 and 1946 damaged the hotel, and it was torn down. The island opened again as a resort in 1946, continuing until 1960. In 1960, Useppa briefly served as a CIA training base for Cuban exiles in preparation for the Bay of Pigs Invasion.”

From Sanibel Island, we drove northward to St. Petersburg, Florida. That’s where the bitterness took hold. At first, we took a long walk on the beach towards our favorite bench next to Caddy’s Restaurant and cabanas. After two years, the sand under our feet felt so good. Along the way I spotted some art work in the sand that reminded me of street art that I used to photograph in St. Petersburg.

Street art in the sand & our favorite bench near Caddy’s

Then we went to the park that adjoins the Municipal Marina. We caught a glimpse of Sabra, the boat we once owned. That was the “bitter” part of the trip. We quickly headed for the New Pier.

New Pier & Old Pier (We liked the Old Pier)

My daughter sent me this cartoon. It lighted our bitter feelings.

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A snowbird from Bavaria

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Michael Frankel

Michael Frankel

A snowbird from Bavaria

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