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Old 23 Aug 20, 12:41 AM  
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:) Going Out in a Blaze of Glory - Summer of Sorcery 2019 -DAY 23- Here comes Clearwater!

Welcome back once more. I 'm glad you made it - I hoped you would

Day 22 is just here if you missed it

The whole index to all of this trip is here if you want to read about all of our shenanigans is here

We packed up and headed west! The beach was calling!

Welcome to Day 23

Thursday 15th August 2019


Well we did it!

The 7-30 alarm, the final tidy of the villa and the car packed and ready to go, before the cleaner even turned up!

Itís not often we manage to do that!

We had said last night, whilst enjoying a last pool and beers night , that we felt we had not really been in the villa long enough, the past 12 nights had flown and that was not always a good thing.

We could have stayed here for weeks longer; the location suited us and the villa was perfect for everything we needed would wish to need and even looking back is a place we would wish to be right now!


Yes, it could do with an update to carpets and beds but to be honest the fact it was lived in, meant we were not constantly worrying about something not being in the right place. Once again it was a place we would very happily have lived in as a family.
If only!



We were on the road for 9-30am with a quick Wawa stop for petrol and cash.

The I4 Westbound beckoned. Thus this great photo from the back!


I was trying to get the boys to start taking pics as we drove - I could hardly take the pics of the things we saw when driving and so this was the first sign that they were taking the proverbial!

We made a very quick stop in Lakeland for Starbucks coffee and we enjoyed the doughnuts that were in the cool bag in the car.



Another photo from those in the back!

We knew we had time on our hands so made for Tampa Premium Outlets, our two previous visits here have thrown up some bargains unseen in Orlando- today proved to be no different.


This is such a quiet Outlet place and a place worth checking out if you are over this way.


Izod-
Alison got 2 tops and a skort (itís a golfing clothing item for ladies, shorts disguised as a skirt- just in case you were wondering!) for just 10 dollars each,
Josh got a golf top for 16 and Joe yet another hat to his collection for just 10 dollars- with a computer malfunction affecting the store and them asking us to come back later -we also got a further 15 % off as they could only accept cash and the transaction had to be handwritten, including every digit of the bar code too!

Took a while but at this price it was well worth it.


Calvin Klein followed-


with Alison finding a pair of trousers reduced from $70 to just 20!
Fitted nicely so had to be bought and the online voucher too

The Hilfiger shop sprung up a bargain too-

with jeans incorrectly marked as half price (when the till was only registering as buy one at full price, get one at half price) Big saving when you do the maths

I also found a jacket that given the amount of rain recently could prove useful before we go home!

With the added email saving of 15 %, I got the coat reduced from $150 to 55 and the jeans at just 27 dollars a pair including tax.
If only our local Hilfiger at the Outlets in York were anywhere close to that total for just one item

The thought this morning, as we left the Villa, was that we had hardly bought anything. As a result we could do without the extra bag going home. That thought was evaporating quickly today.



A quick McDonaldís snack lunch in the place opposite the outlets was enough to tide us by.

It is also worth noting that the food court here was limited, you also had the chance to visit it when you needed the restrooms as it was in the centre of the array of shops. You can also pick up a money off booklet at the desk in there- some good savings in many of the shops and no need for a large minimum spend as in other premium outlets.

With the weather deteriorating we headed to Clearwater in the rain, but with bright skies lying in front of us.

The drive was a pleasant one, especially as we picked a route that avoided downtown Tampa and one where we kept moving throughout.
I have avoided a pile of rubbish photos provided by those in the back! It did become a bit of a photography journey though, as all the pointless photos were deleted - why waste the space on your phone?

This is the best one!



We arrived into Clearwater at 3-30 and were welcomed at the hotel by a glass of cava and an upgraded room.


We were staying at The Sandpearl having found a bit of an offer on a stay here through BA. Would never call it a bargain , but it was less expensive than all other online places we had looked at!


A Gulf view and overlooking the swimming pool towards Pier 60. Top floor and a lovely start to our time here.


We handed over our car keys to the hotel staff and also recognised we had a resort fee payable on top of the parking too. I know I will whinge about this then we come to check out!

Our bags were delivered to our room and we quickly changed and headed to the pool and into the sea.
The carpets here were similar to those in Disney hotels and as a result, I found myself compelled to take a photo Ė no hidden Mickeyís though!


For a family who live besides the sea, to once again see and hear the sea was comforting, the fact it was warm meant we could actually get in the sea and swim in it. No freezing of the Trossachs here!


We just enjoyed the warmth and the sun even put in an appearance.
Phones and cameras left behind at the Hotel pool too.




That Hotel pool after the sea ensured we rid ourselves of the sand and again we just took our time and relaxed. We also started to have a bit of fun with Forky too!




Once showered and changed we headed out for a walk with no expectation as to what we were going to do, possibly the only thing was to think of where to eat!




We had an idea as we had been there many years before.



This place, has always been good to us and tonight proved no different.

Served by a guy who insisted he played for Panathinaikos against Everton in 1971 at Goodison Park Ė the free wifi started a search that we felt was a little bit of truth bending at best and even all these months later I still canít see it.



He knew his football though and had a knowledge of 70ís and 80ís Greek and British football that was encyclopaedic which made for good conversation in between him serving in a busy restaurant.

The food was excellent and thoroughly enjoyed.











Food fest and a receipt - just so you know what we had !



It is worthy more than just the photos - this was a meal that involved tastes that you yearned for ! A true Italian feel with lots of other influences , especially from Greece!
Each dish offered something so tasty and those garlic breadsticks were something else , I even thought the photo had a smell to it as I posted it on here !


We then enjoyed the walk back to the hotel Ė having been in the car today, a walk was a great way of taking in what Clearwater has to offer. Even at this time of night.



There is so much to see in Clearwater and a simple walk back along the sea front for nearly a couple of miles was some way of stretching out those muscles that had become accustomed to the high steps per day that we love in a theme park!
Tonight it was a different reflection as we walked back, somewhere different and a recognition that we had done so much.
A recognition that we were close to the end too Which is possibly something that each of us was not looking forward to)
That aside, we had some time and space away from what we had achieved, enjoyed, and more than anything loved for the past three weeks. That time together in our happy place.
To have this time to just step back and reflect prior to going home was exactly what was required. ( once more wait until the end!)


Once back at the hotel we knew we had some wine in the cool bag from the villa Ė our first experience here was the beach bar in 2013 and having been stung for a couple of beers we were determined not to make that mistake again!





Sleep was soon upon us.

The curse of Clearwater was soon to strike Ė Day 24 coming soon!

Click here to read Day 24
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Going out in a Blaze of Glory- Our Summer of Sorcery 2019 - click here to read a trip report in progress

All of our previous Trip reports and escapades can be read here.

Edited at 12:48 AM.
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Old 23 Aug 20, 06:22 AM  
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Dixiechic
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Another good day - I didnít know about the Tampa premium outlet so may pay a visit on our next trip
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Old 24 Aug 20, 01:27 AM  
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Originally Posted by Dixiechic View Post
Another good day - I didnít know about the Tampa premium outlet so may pay a visit on our next trip
Thanks for reading and would recommend the outlets here - really quiet and with bargains that we had not seen in Orlando
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Old 23 Aug 20, 06:38 AM  
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Thx again for another day & keeping the memories alive. Some good tips for the Tampa area as well. 🙂
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Old 23 Aug 20, 09:25 AM  
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Another who didnít realise there was a Premium Outlet at Tampa you got some bargains! Plus a nice time swimming, Iím sure the water was much much warmer than north bay

Joan
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Old 25 Aug 20, 11:14 PM  
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Originally Posted by mick View Post
Another who didnít realise there was a Premium Outlet at Tampa you got some bargains! Plus a nice time swimming, Iím sure the water was much much warmer than north bay

Joan


That water was so much warmer than North Bay

As for the Outlets in Tampa, they are so quiet and we have always picked up some bargains, even stuff we have seen in Orlando is more heavily reduced and in adidas we also picked up some Orlando football shirts for a bargain price a couple of years ago. Worth having a look as I have found the Orlando outlets to be expensive in comparison to those out of the tourist bubble there.
More shopping incoming too
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Old 25 Aug 20, 11:07 PM  
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Originally Posted by disneywiseowl View Post
Thx again for another day & keeping the memories alive. Some good tips for the Tampa area as well. 🙂
Thanks for reading - hope you keep reading as there is much to do in the Tampa area apart from heading to the beach
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Old 23 Aug 20, 05:16 PM  
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Tampa outlets add to my to do list

Your hotel pool looks wonderful, which hotel is it please?
xx
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Old 25 Aug 20, 11:25 PM  
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Originally Posted by Ilovesnowwhite View Post
Tampa outlets add to my to do list

Your hotel pool looks wonderful, which hotel is it please?
xx
That would help

It's the Sandpearl !
Booked through BA at a price that we could not find anywhere else online.
Beautiful place to stay and with staff and service that were so fantastic. Yes, it is an expensive place but we were so pleased to be here.

I've added a bit into the trip report to make it more clear where we are staying - thank you for asking as it needed to be in there

Tampa outlets have always cost us a few dollars in spends
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Old 23 Aug 20, 07:25 PM  
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Thanks for adding a day . Some great bargains in the outlets. Beach looks lovely , wish our sea was warm . 🏖
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