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Discussions regarding holidays in America and Canada
Brilliant report Ivan! You won't forget your honeymoon in a hurry. Looking forward to Part 2.

luci :wave
When we checked out of the Rosen plaza we headed off down the I-4 towards Tampa. It was a fantastic feeling driving on the Interstate. The majority of the drivers are far more courteous than what they are here in Ireland and the signage was a lot easier to understand.

We arrived down to St Pete's beach in just over an hour and drove along Gulf Blvd till we found the Tradewinds Island Grand. The weather was absolutley fabulous and a lot warmer than Orlando. We checked in and went to look at our room before unloading the luggage from the car. When we checked in we didn't have to pay for parking at all. They normally charge about $12 a day for it but thankfully it is included in the price so we were ok. They have a thing called an explorer pass and it entitles you to towels at the pool and use of the paddle boats around the hotel and tennis courts, use of the gym and other stuff. The room was ok. It wasn't as nice as the room in Orlando but it was very clean and had a microwave,Fridge and dishware. We decided not to bother asking for another room as it seemed very quiet where the room was located and out of the way as it was up on the 7th floor. The only downside to it was that there was no window. The only one was beside the door which only looked out on to the balcony. The rooms were more like apartments than hotel rooms. Masonettes would be the word I would use to describe them.

We then went to get a bit of shopping in at the local walgreens. Compared to when we go shopping over here it is very cheap in America. We got lots of stuff like Corn flakes and milk and even a few bottles of Bud Light for a fraction of what it costs in this country. After we got back we headed down to the pool for a little while to chill out and catch a few rays of sun. There is 2 pools at the Island Grand. One of them is supposed to be adult
only but this is crap as there was kids in both of them. There were a lot of kids around the hotel because a lot of families decided to evacuate to this side of Florida during the hurricane so it was a little noisy.

That evening we dined in a lovely restaurant not far from the hotel called Skidders. I cannot recommend this place highly enough as it's a brilliant place to eat and has a great selection. I think the bloke that owns it is of Greek descent. He had a lot of Greek stuff on his menu along with Italian also. The price of the meal was not very expensive either and there were huge portions. We also went down to a pub called Annie Moores which is done up to look like an Irish pub. It wasn't very good but having said
that it wasn't very busy either which is why the atmosphere wasn't great but the plus side to it was that you could smoke in there which my wife thought was brill.

The following morning we got up and had brekkie in the room as we'd bought a few things in for breakfast which was great because it made a change from the buffet we had every morning in Orlando. It was just laze by the pool time then for the rest of the day. The weather was really scorching and you burn in about 10 minutes so we made sure there was plenty of suncream on us. As I said the pool was a little busy with kids around and at times it was a little annoying as they would be splashing around and would occasionally splash your sunbed. It could have done with being supervised a little as it was an adult only pool.

That evening it was over to Skidders again for a lovely meal and then we went back to the hotel for a few drinks before bedtime. The hotel had 2 bars. The drink was very expensive in the hotel bar. We were paying about $9 for a vodka and diet coke and a pint of Bud. In the bars we were paying $6 for a round which was a lot cheaper.

The next morning we got up and headed for Busch gardens. It took us about 40 minutes to get there from our hotel. Finding it was easy as there were signs all over the place on the Interstates. On our way I saw something that was brilliant. The State Troopers had a car pulled over on the side of the freeway, obviously for speeding. I couldn't believe
the car the State Trooper was driving. It was the same type of car that used to be in the series Knightrider all them years ago. I just said to my wife Only in America. Anyway we got to Busch gardens and parked the car which cost us $7 for the day. They have a kind of trolley system that you board which takes you to the entrance to the park which is
brill as it saves all the walking. We got into the park and headed off for the 1st ride which was the Gwazi. Of course my wife wouldn't go on it as she's a bit nervous of them things so I was on my own. What a coaster. It certainly rattles you around a bit. My legs were like jelly when I got off it but it was worth it. We headed for the congo river rapids then and got absolutley soaked but it was a warm day and we'd bought a change of clothes with us that we'd stored in the locker so we didn't mind getting wet. As we were already wet we decided to do all the water rides first. We went on the stanley falls ride which was brilliant and again got well and truly soaked. The tanganyika tidal wave was another good one too which is well worth a try. After that we got on all the coasters. We took the
skyride across to the Egypt side of the park. The skyride was brilliant as it goes right across the safari bit and you can see all the wild animals.

The next coaster was the Montu. It's one that your legs dangle out of. I went on by myself first and really enjoyed it as my wife stood by and watched. When I got off she asked me what it was like and I said it was brilliant. I couldn't believe it when she said she wanted to give it a try. Apparently she saw smaller kids getting on which changed her mind a
little. She didn't want to come back to Ireland without trying at least one so off we went to the Montu. She had the time of her life and really enjoyed it so much. All she said when she got off was "I can't believe what I've been missing all these years". She was that impressed that she wanted to try another one so we went on them all and as I said she loved them. My wife also said that she would never be afraid of a coaster again
so she has been converted at last.

More to follow.
Superb Report!!

I must get round to doing one on our next Orlando trip in Feb!

Not sure if I could face it though!!

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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