Day 1 started with a 4am get up, for a an early morning flight to Sanford, Orlando. The check in took nearly 3 hours....yes, just to check in and get through passport control....Manchester Airport really needs to sort itself out! It is now the 4th largest airport in the country (after London Heathrow/Gatwick/Stansted), and the queues are horrendous, and get worse every year! (rant over!)
Finally, after a 8.5 hour flight, we arrived at Sanford, and got through customs in 10 minutes (hooray!) and went to pick up our hire car. We had booked the super economy model (of course!), but they had ran out of all the smaller class cars, so for no extra charge, we got upgraded 3 classes to a full size family car - yay!
Our Chrysler Sebring touring (2.4l).
It felt huge compared to my usual car which is a teeny tiny Ford Ka (1.4l!!)
I did all the driving on the trip, as I have 10 years more driving experience than Michael, and it was quite a bit more expensive to get a second driver put on. I have only driven a left hand drive once before, but this car coupled with the automatic gears was easy to drive. Good job really as it was a near 3 hour drive to our first port of call, St Petes Beach. We decided not to go to Tampa after all as our first stop, as we would be arriving at traffic rush hour and would not really feel like sight seeing, so we opted for the more tranquil Beach resort instead, which was a great move.
Finally, after checking into a motel, we get to sit on the sun deck of a bar/restaurant and have a much needed beer. Do I look like I have been up for 22 hours? My eyes did, hence the sunglasses!!
After our meal, we headed to the supermarket to get some lunch supplies for the next day. In the entrance, they had photos of how the store looked when it first opened in 1954. I think the store workers thought I was a bit nuts taking photos of these, ha ha!
Cool! Shame it didn't look like this when we visited!
We got back to our beach motel, just in time to grab our cameras and head out on to the beach to watch the sunset, which was beautiful;
The best kind of beach...white sand...stunning view..and empty!
View from our motel window
Michael taking photos (see, he does exist - he just prefers to be behind the camera rather than in front of it!)
And the sun setting of the Gulf of Mexico.....lovely.
After this, we went to bed at 9am (!!) having been up for nearly 24 hours :)