On Wednesday July 27, 2011, I flew to Tampa, FL. My flight left at 9:05 pm and arrived in Tampa at 11:20 pm.
I worked until 5 then I went home and packed. Mom picked me up from the airport at 7. Southwest Airlines lets you do early bird check in if you pay $10 each way. I went to the kiosk and checked in my suitcase. I couldn’t do a carry on this time because I was taking my Pentax K-r with me. Getting through security was easy. My gate was right after security too. I had plently of time so I walked down to the Starbucks and got a turkey sandwich and a water.
Since I checked in early, my zone was A24 so I was in the first group to board. We didn’t have a very crowded flight. I sat at the window which is unusual for me since flying makes me nervous. A girl sat on the asile in my row. They brought out snacks. Most flights don’t do that. It was pita chips and nuts. We even were served a whole can when we ordered our drinks.
The flight didn’t take very long. I made my way to baggage claim to find my dad. We waited for my suitcase then made our way to Bradenton / Sarasota. It took about an hour.
I was very excited to be staying in the same hotel as we did in June. Holiday Inn at the Sarasota / Bradenton airport. I love it. I didn’t take any photos but here are some from the official web site:
It was late so I went to bed.
Thursday July 28, 2011 – I woke up and Dad took me to Bob Evans in Bradenton for breakfast. After that, Dad drove me to Bradenton beach to take some photos. We went back to the hotel to wait for my sister, her husband and my niece and 4 year old nephew to arrive. When my niece saw me, she walked over to me with her arms up. It was so cute.
While my niece was taking a nap, my nephew and his dad and myself went swimming in the hotel pool. It was very warm. It must not get used in the summer. It wasn’t refreshing at all.
After that, my nephew went up to his room to rest. I went back to my room to change and I fell asleep. I was woken up by knocking on my door. It was my nephew. He asked if he can come in. He asked what I had been doing and I told him I was sleeping. I laid back down on my bed and he said, “rest time is over.” We sat in my room for a bit but then he said, “Do you want to come to my house?” He meant his hotel room but it was cute to hear him refer it as his house. I told him I had to use the bathroom real quick and he goes, “ I will wait for you out in the hallway.” I told him no and he was to wait in the room. While I was in the bathroom, he must have been going through all of the drawers cuz I heard him opening and closing them. It was too cute.
We went back to his room. My sister told me we were going to go eat at Troyer’s Dutch Heritage in Sarasota. We ate there with my grandma when we were there in June. The buffet is always good. We went back to the hotel and turned in for the day. I was still hungry so I went down to the resturant in the lobby callled The Sporting News Grill and ordered a quesdilla to go.
Friday July 29, 2011 – We ate at the resturant in The Sporting News Grill in the lobby Kids ate free. I had a scrambled egg, potatoes, english muffin and orange juice.
We went to the Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota. It was great. They had sea turtles, manatees, sharks, dolphins.
After the aquarium, the kids went swimming then we had lunch. We ate at the hotel resturant again since it was free for the kids. I had a club sandwich. The kids had a grilled cheese and fruit.
While the kids were resting my sister and I went to my grandma’s house to help Dad and my uncle go through the house. My sister found a schedule from the Twilight Convention in Indianapolis that my grandma had kept all this time.
We went out to dinner at Joey D’s pizza. My nephew wanted to ride with my dad and uncle and my cousin. My brother in law and I split a cheese pizza. My sister split with my dad but had green pepper and onion and my dad had pepporoni. My uncle and my cousin split a double pepperoni pizza.
We always settle in pretty early since the kids went to bed around 8.
Saturday July 30, 2011 – we went to Bradenton beach. It was a beautiful beach. 20+ years ago, I had gotten knocked over by a big wave while in the ocean so I didn’t want to go all the way in. I went in up to my ankles until my sister came and got me and was like, “come in when are you ever going to get a chance to do this again.” She held my hand for a bit but then she asked if I was okay alone. We were in up to my waist. The water felt great. I got out to look for sea shells but got hot so I went back in. The second or third time I went back in my sister said, “Look who got in all by themself. It feels good to face your fears doesn’t it?” She told me to stand sideways when a wave came through. She said you have better balance that way. Her husband yelled, “Here comes a HUGE wave.” I was like, “no no no.” My sister grabbed my hand and said, “it is too late now.” She said I had a look on my face like someone was coming at me with a chain saw.
Shortly after that it was time to go. We got our lunch to go from the hotel resturant then while the kids went to rest my sister, my dad, my uncle and I met at grandma’s house to clean some more. For dinner we ate at Barnacle Bill’s seafood resturant.
Sunday July 31, 2011 – We all met at the resturant in the hotel for breakfast. We had to be there early because my sister, her husband and the kids were leaving at 8:30. After they left for the airport, we checked out of my hotel room and took a drive to the beach.
At 12:30 we left for Tampa. I made it to my gate easy again but it was delayed because of the storms.
We landed in Columbus late and had to sit on the ground forever because there was a plane at our gate. After mom picked me up, they took me to Tumbleweed and I had steak fajitas. Yum!
I loved flying Southwest Airlines. I think Early Bird Check In is worth it. Going to Tampa, FL I got row 8 and going back to Columbus, OH I got row 6. Both times I picked a window seat and on the way home I got some good photos: