Redington Beach, FL Video: My Birthday Weekend + Local Tips

A Monday is even worse when you have just returned from your birthday weekend at the beach! I came back from one of my favorite beaches in the entire State of Florida, Redington Beach, yesterday. SO! Today, I’m going to share the short-and-sweet video I filmed at one of the beaches there last Saturday.

I just turned 29 on June 25th, by the way. Can’t believe it… I remember so clearly my first summer in Europe before I turned 18..

That was 11 YEARS ago. Absolutely insane how time flies after high school!

Redington Beach, Florida Video: My Birthday Shot!

The more I visit these beaches in Pinellas County, Florida, the deeper I fall in love with them. Sandwiched between the larger, ever-crowded Clearwater and St. Petersburg beaches, the small stretch made up by Redington Beach, Redington Shores, and North Redington Beach have captured my heart thanks to their local vibes.

Entertainment pricing and ample FREE parking, though, are the 2 huge pros that keep making me come back to for more.

It doesn’t matter which of the 3 Redingtons you choose: it’s hard to tell the difference between them, to be honest. You seamlessly go from one to the other, finding several family-owned businesses of outstanding value and quality sprinkled between the 3.

My Top Redington Beach Tips for Travelers

Again, all 3 Redingtons are so close together that these tips apply to Redington Beach and travelers in the vicinity.

Sunset at Redington Shores: one of Florida's best beaches

Top Spot for Happy Hour and Early Bird Specials: Seabreeze Island Grill

17855 Gulf Boulevard
Redington Shores, Florida 33708
Talk about not only the best deal in Redington Shores, but the best deal in any Coastal Florida town, perhaps: USD $12 for a three-course meal fromtheir Early Bird menu. Anyone showing up between opening and 6 PM can take advantage of this.

This deal includes their homemade, freshly-baked luau bread accompanied by either famous coconut macadamia butter as an appetizer; followed by one out of 10 entrée options that include things like Canadian-style lobster tacos or even a crab-meat-stuffed Mahi PLUS two sides; finished up with featured dessert of the day (typically a slice of their homemade cheesecake, drizzled with your choice of fruit, chocolate or caramel syrups).

Mah God. I’ve been there more than my toes and fingers can count and always come out of their stuff. Pair THAT combo with a USD $3 massive Margarita and then you understand why I have been going there almost every single weekend since I rung up 2016.

Best happy hour in Redington Beach

Top Spot for Breakfast and Brunch: Sweet Sage Café

16725 Gulf Boulevard
North Redington Beach, Florida 33708
Just tried this quirky café yesterday before we departed Redington and HOLY SCRAMBLED CRAB BENEDICT. I didn’t care much for the flatbread used as toast at the bottom, but the filler-free, perfectly-spiced crabby goodness topped by the fluffiest scrambled eggs I’ve ever seen in my life, then smothered with hot, creamy hollandaise sauce… It’s what egg Benedict lovers’ dreams are made of.

Oh, did I mention those just costed me USD $10.98?! God bless our waitress for recommending that! My partner got the waffles and they were equally-delicious and holy-whipped-cream presentation a plus.

If you are into buffets, Sweet Sage also offers a fantastic holiday and weekend brunch buffet for USD $12.99 per person.

best brunch in Redington Beach

Best-Value Accommodation: Carousel Motel

18202 Gulf Boulevard
Redington Shores, Florida 33708
There are many, many budget accommodation options in Redington Beach and beyond. If you have the time and patience, I actually recommend you drive down Gulf Boulevard between the 3 Redingtons and drop by any of the motels with a “VACANCY” sign and haggle.

No patience or just want the freedom to drop in and know you got a good rate, though? Stay at the Carousel Motel like I have done 2 times already, then.

Redington Beach hotel, Carousel Motel

Efficiency at Carousel Motel: double bed is on the right, tucked in a corner nook with a small closet

Their cheapest motel room, with 2 twin beds, is USD $65 a night in the low season. However, I believe their efficiency with one double bed is their best value, just USD $10 more a night (USD $75) in the low season as well. Remember the rates most local motels show in their websites typically do not include 12% taxes and are based on 1-2 people per room (although Carousel does allow additional people for USD $5 each).

Yes, the motel’s decor is a bit outdated, but it is always clean and you can’t beat its location. Carousel is right next door to the public parking of Redington Shores and a street away from direct beach access. Additionally, it’s an easy walk to several restaurants, a great pizza place, and 711 right across the street. Ad of course, it is at the doorstep of all 3 Redingtons, so you can walk to either Redington Beach (like I did to shoot the video above) or North Redington Beach.

Like Redington Beach? PIN THIS!

WATCH the beauty of Redington Beach! VIDEO

I’m obsessed with this area of Florida, I know. Visit Tampa Bay yourself!

I can’t wait to go back after my trips to South Carolina & Cocoa Beach 😀

Orlando for Foodies Guide: Cities Less Traveled

Orlando, Florida: a city less traveled!? C’mon! This probably crossed your mind. But let’s be honest here: beyond the theme parks and golf resorts, Orlando is not a popular city break. I don’t know why though: I personally love it and used to frequent Downtown and Winter Park for concerts and dining. So, with a trip to visit friends in the area coming up next week, I wanted to showcase Orlando for foodies.

Orlando for foodies, Curry laksa

My favorite dish at Hawker’s Asian Street Fair: Curry laksa

Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant

125 W. Church St., Orlando (+4 others throughout FL)

I’ve been dreaming about Jamon Serrano for weeks so cannot wait to go back to Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant. Even though it’s a chain, they offer fantastic live flamenco shows and their menu is both delicious and extensive, with over 100 hot-and-cold tapas and paellas, mostly from Catalunya and Northern Spain. My favorites include the calamares rellenos (squid stuffed with veal, chorizo, Manchego cheese), champinones de Sevilla (4 types of sautéed mushrooms, sherry, goat cheese, toasted bread), and of course, the house sangria.

Luma on Park

290 South Park Ave., Winter Park

With a similar concept of shared dishes and small plates, the upscale Luma on Park offers fabulous Floridian seafood such as bluenose bass and Apalachicola oysters (depending on the season). The star here is their affordable US $35 prefix menu though, offered every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The 3-course special ranges from grouper brandade churros to egg cassarecce Bolognese, an 8-hour ragu. Good news to regulars: every menu changes daily.

Hawker’s Asian Street Fair

1103 Mills Ave N., Orlando

Believe it or not, my Indonesian city does not have many spots with Asian food, except for the local fair. For this reason, I want to go back to Hawker’s Asian Street Fair and have their excellent fusion picks hailing from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Beijing, and Bangkok. The most memorable include the Singaporean laksa, Hawker’s duck tacos, and the Southeast Asian curry.

Kappo at East End Market

3201 Corrine Dr., Orlando

Another great spot for Asian cuisine lovers, particularly pickled and raw seafood fans. Kappo at East End Market’s highlights include the scallop uni truffle, the pickled Chirashi bowl, the biggie sashimi plate, and omakase (Chef’s Choice) dinner. With only 8 seats, it is an intimate dining experience. Plan accordingly! Get there at least 30 minutes before opening time—and book minimum 3 months in advance for the omakase.

Treehouse Truck

Various locations

With the food truck trend hitting Central Florida by storm, I had to include one of Orlando’s favorites! With crazy creations such as the GC Luther (bacon cheeseburger between 2 Krispy Kreme grilled cheese sandwiches) and Mama’s PBJ (a Nutella, banana, peanut butter and jelly deep-fried sandwich), a visit to the Treehouse Truck will bring back fond memories of the State Fair. Opening hours and location are naturally erratic, especially since they also offer private catering. Make sure you check out their calendar before planning a visit.

Orlando for foodies, Treehouse Truck

GC Luther burger by treehousetruck.com

I’m currently a writer for HipMunk, participating in the #‎HipmunkCityLove Project. Proud to be promoting Orlando for foodies!

Songkran Festival Tampa: VIDEO and photos from Wat Mongkolratanaram!

มีความสุขปีใหม่ – Happy New (Thai) Year! I just came back from celebrating Songkran Festival Tampa and got a short video plus photos from Wat Mongkolratanaram. BUT! Before I get to those, I would love for you to learn more about Songkran’s history, customs and traditions beyond the multi-day big fun water fight 😉 It is, after all, Cultural Tidbits Monday on LatinAbroad!

Songkran Festival Tampa, water fights

Songkran water fights escalating at Tampa’s Thai Temple

Songkran Festival Tampa sign

Songkran Festival in Tampa this past weekend

Thai New Year: Songkran Festival history

Songkran, which literally means “astrological passage” and comes from the Sanskrit word “saṃkrānti,” is the festival that marks Thai New Year (Wikipedia). Currently, it is celebrated annually between April 13 – 15 — but that wasn’t always the case.

Back in ancient times, a new year was marked by the first sign of waning of the moon in the first month of the lunar calendar (around late November). For this reason, dates were never fixed. Then, King Rama V made history by changing Thai New Year dates twice — sticking to April 1st in 1888 (WatTampaInEnglish.com).

You thought they would be done switching the New Year date on the poor Thai people by then though, right…? But nope! In 1940, shortly after Thailand became a constitutional monarchy, New Year was to be celebrated at the beginning of the Gregorian calendar: January 1st.

Songkran Festival history, King Chulalongkorn the Great

King of Siam Rama V, also known as Chulalongkorn The Great, circa 1880

After the switch though, Songkran Festival became a National Holiday and, even today, it is still known as Thai New Year. Thus, one could say that Thais have about 2-3 different New Year dates and celebrations, depending on their background: January 1st, April 13-15, and late January – February (Chinese New Year).

Songkran Festival customs and traditions

Despite the different New Year dates throughout the centuries, most traditional celebrations are held in April. Why is that? As Songkran customs and traditions include the visitation and honoring of elders, sand pagoda building, gift exchanges, and the ubiquitous water splashing, it is better to celebrate during the hottest month of the year. Not only are the months of January and February are too cold, but they are also quite busy in rural areas, as it is harvest season.

Other customs and traditions we observed during this year’s Songkran Festival Tampa included a parade to lead a Buddha Statue, the subsequent clockwise circling of the Main Temple (3 times), and the Pundit leading chants as sprinkled perfumed water and flower petals to the Buddha statues, monks, and elders.

Songkran Festival Tampa, monk blessing

Monk blessings at Songkran Festival Tampa

Songkran Festival Tampa, water splashing

WATER SPLASHING! I mean blessing

After the traditional processions, everybody is encouraged to sprinkle each other with the perfumed water used to cleanse the Buddhas, as this is considered a blessing, good fortune and health for the New Year. As you will judge by the following Wat Mongkolratanaram photos and video, I shall have a quite prosperous 2014-2015! 😉

Songkran Festival Tampa VIDEO and photos!

Before processions began, we had a wonderful USD $5 lunch in the peaceful, riverfront grounds of Wat Mongkolratanaram. What’s really cool is that they have a massive amount of options: from 4-5 different types of curries to aromatic noodle soups and Thai desserts! A full review of the wonderful Sunday meals at this Thai Temple will follow on a future post, though. Now, onto the Songkran Festival Tampa video and more photos from Wat Mongkolratanaram grounds! 😀

^^ just a teaser! Longer one coming up soon 😉

Songkran Festival Tampa, offering carving

Songkran Festival fruit offering carving

Songkran Festival Tampa, Thai sign

Can someone translate for me? 🙂

Songkran Festival photos, outdoor altar

Songkran Festival outdoor altar – so beautiful

Songkran Festival photos, water-blurred altar

Water-blurred Songkran Festival altar

Songkran Festival photos, Tampa Thai Temple grounds

Altar at the beautiful grounds of Tampa’s Thai Temple, Wat Mongkolratanaram

Songkran Festival photos, inside the temple

Inside Tampa’s Buddhist Temple: beautiful altar

Songkran Festival Tampa, Thai temple façade

Façade of Wat Mongkolratanaram. Hard to believe we’re in the middle of Florida!

Have you ever celebrated the Songkran Festival? Where in the world? 🙂

FriFotos: places I’ve called HOME around the world! (photo essay)

To travelers and nomads, home is typically a state of mind. However, for FriFotos this week, I wanted to take you on a photographic journey to some of the places I’ve called HOME around the world. From sailboats to hammocks; concrete blocks to tiki huts: ¡Bienvenidos a mi hogar!

Home around the world: FriFotos photo essay

Home around the world, Puerto Rico

My humble home in Puerto Rico. Solid concrete = hurricane-proof!

The beginning and the end: my parents house and neighborhood in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. Closer to the city of Caguas, though!

Home around the world, Puerto Rico concrete houses

The neighborhood I grew up in! A dead-end street with beautiful palm trees and mountains in the vicinity.

Due to hurricanes, most houses in Puerto Rico are made of solid concrete throughout:  including walls inside the home. Only the wealthy can afford intricate homes, as it is more expensive and difficult to build and mold concrete houses. However, if you just want one big concrete box, that won’t be too expensive!

The million-dollar home in Tampa, Florida

Home around the world, million-dollar home Tampa

The pool area, part of a yacht, the lake, and other million-dollar homes in the area.

In the summer of 2010, I was lucky enough to score a housesitting and pet sitting gig in an affluent neighborhood in Tampa, Florida.  For 2 full months, I lived like a rock star!  A yacht, a boat, fun neighbors, great food! I also got to hang out with the amazing family when they were around every couple of weeks. I bonded with my hosts so much that I now call them my American family. I even call the married couple mom and dad!

Whenever I can’t go back home for Christmas, I spend the holidays with them 🙂

Home around the world, American family

My new American family!

Don’t worry though, my first familia will always be in Puerto Rico. I simply call them mami and papi to differentiate my 2 sets of parents 😉 lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful people—much love indeed.

A hammock, overwater hostel, and a sailboat in Panama

Home around the world, Aqualounge Hostel Bocas del Toro

Aqualounge Hostel in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Only reachable by boat!

Home around the world, Bocas del Toro hammock

My bed for a couple of nights in Bocas del Toro, Panama

While this hammock and overwater hostel in Bocas del Toro were my home for less than a week, I had an amazing time! Great drinking specials, quirky characters, and fun parties.

Home around the world, sailboat Kuna Yala

View of Kuna Yala village from my sailboat cabin

More about this trip: Panama, my last college spring break! (photo essay)

This trip got even better with 4 days sailing down the San Blas Islands—in great company as well. Just imagine this bubbly Puerto Rican, a loopy captain, 2 diplomats from the US foreign service, 2 retired lawyers, and a Kuna Indian fisherman…!

College campus in Morocco

Home around the world, Al Akhawayn University Morocco

The gorgeous campus of Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco (Amina Lahbabi)

In the fall of 2009, I studied abroad in Ifrane, a small town by the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, for 4 months. The American-style college is called Al-Akhawayn University and I had a blast! Gorgeous grounds, architecture, and people. The dorms were even better than in most colleges I’ve seen in the USA, which was crazy!

Home around the world, Moroccan college dorms

One of the dorms! Photo courtesy of Munir Sayegh

I felt most at home in the classroom of my World Religions class with Portuguese professor Jacques, though. Handsome, wise. He taught me so much about unknown cultures, religious traditions, rites, etc. I haven’t been that happy in many other places! Unfortunately, no photo of handsome Jacques available.

 Cluttered roofs and sleeping on an ancient felucca in Egypt

Home around the world, Cairo apartment

Cluttered roofs and dirty apartments — commonplace in otherwise-fascinating Cairo, Egypt

I must have moved about 4 times during my year of Arabic studies in Egypt.  Issues ranged from roommate conflicts to sketchy bowaabs (building doorman)—you name it! And even though my digital camera died within the first week in Cairo, my first flatmate—Natalia—took a good picture of one of the apartments (photo above).

Umm yeah…with my student budget (relying exclusively on a scholarship), I couldn’t afford a maid to keep the apartment dust-free nor a better view than that one. All in all, a very humbling experience. Seriously, cleanliness…one of the many things we take for granted everyday.

Home around the world, sleeping on a felucca

Relaxing morning, sleeping on a felucca!

It goes without saying that where I felt the most at home during my year in Egypt was while drifting down the Nile on a felucca for 3 days and 2 nights.  Absolutely magical.

Home around the world, felucca sunset

Sunset during my 22nd birthday (by Aswan, Egypt)

This photo essay is almost 800 words now, so enough of home for today! 😉

Hope you enjoyed it.

Felucca Sunset Egypt

Yup, that’s me on the felucca once more. Had to save the best shot for last!

Where’s home to you? How many countries have you lived in?

Cigar City Brewery Tampa: My favorite USA beers (photos and history)

Another busy week in the life of professional juggler Maria 😉 I’m still tied up in several travel writing projects, business strategies, etc. Yet, I couldn’t help but join this week’s FriFotos theme “Brands.” Finally, the perfect time to introduce you to my favorite USA beers! Ladies and gents, here’s the sexy Cigar City Brewery Tampa.

Cigar City Brewery Tampa glass

Photo: Dave Goldberg, Flickr

Overview

I can’t believe that the Cigar City Brewery Tampa does not even have a Wikipedia article. So! Here’s my attempt at a short history lesson…

While Florida is commonly known as “beer wasteland,” there have been some fine breweries around. The first was the Florida Brewing Company, which was founded in 1896 and carried on until 1961. Then, other breweries emerged (although not for long).

Finally, Cigar City Brewery Company (most commonly known as Cigar City Brewery Tampa Bay) began operations in 1994 in Ybor City. It remained there until 2003. on this location is where the famous Ybor Gold Amber, Brown Ale, Gaspar’s Porter, Calusa Wheat and Light were brewed. However, following the move from Ybor City to West Spruce Street, these brands were bought by the Florida Brewing Company in Melbourne, FL.

Ever since Cigar City Brewery Tampa moved its operations right to the middle of my current bus route from work to home, it started brewing my favorite USA beers 😀 Among them are:

Maduro Brown Ale

With a higher alcohol content than the regular English Brown ale, the Maduro features  flaked oats in its malt bill, giving it an outstanding silky-smooth feeling in your mouth and down your throat. It is as orgasmic as it sounds!

Cigar City Brewery Tampa Maduro beer

My dark lover, Maduro (Photo: Christer Edvartsen, Flickr)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown Ale

As weird as it may sound, this is the most surprisingly-delicious beer you are lips will ever touch. It really tastes just like an oatmeal raisin cookie! What’s funny is that, whenever I go to the Cigar City Brewery Tampa tasting room, bartenders say that this is one of the most popular beers–particularly among men. It is only brewed seasonally, and whenever they do, it is sold out within a day. And so, whenever I get the chance to get another taste of this beauty, I rejoice in celebration. It is not easy to come by!

Cigar City Brewery Tampa oatmeal raisin cookie beer

Label of one of my favorite brown beauties (Photo: Humble Elements, Flickr)

Cubano-style Espresso Brown Ale

You’ve guessed it: I love my brown beauties 😉 Whenever my usual lovers are not available, I cheat on them with this Cuban-style beer. It is roasted with rich espresso beans, sweet caramel, toffee, and a touch of dry nuttiness. Yet, once poured, one can also taste notes of chocolate, then caramel, finishing off with some vanilla aftertaste. Ohhh SI.

Cigar City Brewery Tampa Cubano-Style Espresso Brown ale

My only Latin lover (Photo: naiserie, Flickr)

That’s it for today! If you wish to know more about other Cigar City Brewery beer varieties, click here. You will see other available beers and their ingredients on menu on the left.

Have you tried Cigar City Brewery Tampa? Which is your favorite beer?

Hurricane Season: Happy birthday to me! Tropical Storm Debby came to party

Hiii! I know, was supposed to write a brilliant Cultural Tidbits Monday post. However, I went to bed at 3 AM last night (yes, work) to wake up at 6:40 AM to Tropical Storm Debby and still be required to work from home (yes, on my birthday). So! I’m pretty exhausted and have a minor case of cabin fever. My roommates went for supplies as I worked and looked at flooded neighborhoods nearby on the news. Is it that time of the year for Hurricane Season Florida, Gulf region and the Caribbean…? Yup:

Welcome to the Hurricane Season! June – November 30th every year

Oh: We had tornadoes because of it, too!

Those are your tidbits for today 😉 I’m safe, don’t worry, I’m just exhausted and have not much to do on my birthday other than, well, keep working. Bah Hurricane Season…

Orrrr…maybe a bubble bath will be welcomed as a birthday gift by my yearning body?

Have you experienced Hurricane Season? What’s your story?

Siesta Key beach FL photos: The best USA beach? Maybe…

For Beach Thursday this week, I decided to feature Siesta Key beach FL, which has been voted as the best beach in the USA.

Siesta beach FL, number 1 USA beach sign

Siesta Key beach FL: Number 1 USA beach sign

I went there last month for the first time and visited both the North and South beaches (one side had small waves; the other side had pretty big ones!). I found it interesting that the quality of the sand varies as you walk along the coast for several miles (which I did and regretted later). You see, sunburn and tons of bird poop on my back are not my exact definitions of fun. But according to Jodi (Legal Nomads), bird poop is great for luck, so I guess the rest of 2012 is all done for me! Lol 😛 So, that being said, I would rather go to the beaches on the North (of Siesta Key beach coast), which also happen to be a little less crowded. Now, let’s get to the nice Siesta Key Beach FL pictures shall we? 😉

Siesta Key beach FL water

What do you think of the water? This was on North side

Siesta beach FL, Aviator sunglasses shot

I’m a sucker for Aviator sunglasses shots…!

Siesta Key beach FL Aviators shot

Aaaand that’s why I’m posting another one

Being from the Caribbean, one thing triumphs all when I travel:

It is hard for a beach to impress me.

As such, Siesta Key FL did not make it to my Top 10 Best Beaches list. I do admit though: It is one of the most beautiful beaches I have visited in the USA.

Siesta Beach, Siesta Key FL

Photo: aoskilinn, Flickr

Siesta beach FL ride

We hitched a free ride in this! Took us straight to where we parked, which was pretty dang far may I emphasize. So yah, parking is a biotch at Siesta Key beach FL!

Sieta beach FL cart signs

Signs on roof of our free cart ride to one of the furthest parking lots

Naturally, it is crowded and not for everyone. However, if you enjoy crystal-clear water and ultra-fine white sands, Siesta Key beach FL will sure please. For better atmosphere though, I would give my vote to Honeymoon Island beaches instead. Honeymoon Island, by the way, is also located in Florida and its beaches are not nearly as crowded as Siesta Key’s. Yet, they are just as beautiful–if not more so! I’ll talk more about them on next week’s Beach Thursday post 😉 Gotta boot now and prep for TBEX next week!

Siesta Key beach FL 069 bikini

Is it weird that I think it’s funny this photo of me at Siesta Key beach FL is # 69 in my photo album…?

Siesta Key beach FL couple

Me and my gringuito (sorry boys!)

Have you been to Siesta Key Beach FL? What’s your favorite USA beach?

Dali Museum Florida and its Tree of Wishes: Photo essay

I also have this Dali Museum Florida post under “Inspiration” category of my travel blog, as this is one of my many (successful!) attempts at enjoying local tourism and dealing with my life after travel. Hope it makes for a good Travel Bucket List Wednesday photo essay as well! 🙂

Salvador Dali Museum Florida: Finally crossed off!

For years on my travel bucket list, it wasn’t until February of this year that I finally visited the Dali Museum Florida. Located in beautiful St. Petersburg, the “American” tribute to the famous surrealist artist was founded in (year), but was recently remodeled, expanded to more than twice its original size and reopened in 2011:

Old Dali Museum Florida

Dali Museum, FL before remodel (2010 Jinjian Liang, Flickr)

Interesting fact: Did you know Salvador Dalí’s full name is Salvador Domènec Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol!? *catches breath* Whoa!

New Salvador Dali museum Florida at night

“The new Salvador Dali museum is the permanent home of the world’s most comprehensive collection of the renowned Spanish artist’s work” (Ron Ciervo, Flickr)

The Salvador Dali Museum Florida is only one of 5 Dalí museums worldwide, which include the Dalí Theatre and Museum (Figueres, Catalonia), Dalí Universe (London), Espace Dalí (Paris), and a permanent Dalí exhibition in Berlin.

It is impossible to see all the works in one day, obviously.

As “the world’s most comprehensive collection” of the eccentric artist (see caption of image above by Ron Ciervo), the Salvador Dalí museum in Florida has over 1,500 works. Thus, my first visit simply included a very informational scheduled tour to get a gist of all the exhibitions. While I’m usually against group tours, our guide was incredibly knowledgeable. Not only did we enjoy learning about how each of the works presented came to life (i.e. painting techniques used, how it was commissioned, etc.)–but we were also graced with additional information about the personal life and emotional background of each painting. I learned so much about Salvador Dalí–and came to fall in love with my favorite eccentric artist of all time all over again.

My favorite parts

I loved learning about his love affair with Gala Dalí. I was not aware that Gala left her husband (and her kid!) to stay with Dalí in Paris. In turn, Dalí made her famous, became his muse and one of the most painted models of the time. How did she repay him? Stayed with him all the way through his (alleged?) dementia and until the day she died. It’s funny, though, that the guide didn’t mention the several extramarital affairs Gala, and even Dalí, had. Apparently, Dalí practiced candaulism. Still, I’m not gonna lie–this eccentric love story, albeit sinful, captivated me…

Dali Museum Florida, Gala Lincoln painting

Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea: A panting whose name–and reflection at a distance of about 20 meters–tells a bigger story (dasoaz, Flickr). Dali Museum Florida now houses the original piece.

Funny enough, my other favorite part of my day at the Salvador Dali Museum Florida was the “Tree of Wishes” or Wish Tree.

Dali Museum Florida Wish Tree

My man (in purple) and the Tree of Wishes at the Dali Museum Florida

Yes!

It is tradition to take off your museum admission bracelet once you are done with your visit, take it to the “Tree of Wishes” in the backyard, write a wish on it, and tie it to a branch of the Tree–then, believe it’ll come true! The kid in me was very excited 😀

Dali museum Florida building and wish tree

Wishes from all over the world, hanging by a tree

Our wish at Dali Museum Florida

Our wish <3

All in all, an enjoyable day of local tourism (Florida)

I’ll have to repay a visit and perhaps even take a scheduled tour with a different guide–I’m sure the experience will be totally different. It’s refreshing when one sees the attractions close to our current base as exciting as any other outsider does!

Dali Museum Florida, building

Dali Museum bench and part of the bldg. (Matthew Paulson, Flickr)

Have you been to a Dalí museum? What’s on your travel bucket list?

My life after traveling the world: Local tourism (photos)

As follow-up to my Life after Traveling “depression experience” post, I decided to post photos of some local tourism I’ve been doing. It’s Travel Tuesday, and I’m trying to find some excitement and joy in beautiful spots and locales close to me…until I can spread my wings to fly far, far away again!

Life after traveling: Making up after a fight on Davis Island, Tampa, FL

My partner and I actually had a fight/argument last Wine Wednesday, right in the middle of the wine aisle of a supermarket. That’s where he broke down and said he couldn’t take my “life after traveling depression” anymore. That we had to do something about it. After some tears and emotional “yanks,” we finally figured it all out. Then, we decided to simply get some deli sandwiches from the cafe nearby and head to Blaine’s favorite spot in our city: Seaplane Basin Park on Davis Island, Tampa, FL. The breeze was a bit cool, just what we needed to calm us down, plan our future local tourism adventures and remember how much we do love each other 😉 🙂

life after traveling, Seaplane Basin Park

life after traveling, Seaplane Basin Park sunset

We watched sunset together, happy with our adventures ahead

Seaplane Basin Park marina

The marina

Stay tuned for more local tourism adventures. Next Travel Tuesday post will be about the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, FL!

Salvador Dali Museum and Moon, St Petersburg, Florida

Salvador Dali Museum, St Petersburg, Florida (Matthew Paulson, Flickr)

How’s your life after traveling the world? Share your experiences below!