Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Weekend in Tampa

This year, M wants to take a few weekend trips, the first of which took place last weekend when we went to Tampa to see Billy Joel in concert (a bucket list item for M), watch the Lightning play the Islanders, and visit M's old stomping grounds.

We got lucky in that we both had accumulated enough miles with Southwest to book free tickets. It's a short, easy, and direct (!!!) flight from Austin to Tampa. This meant we arrived in Tampa ready to hit the ground running, take a drive down Bayshore, and visit McDill.

The Billy Joel concert was great. M is older than me and the youngest in his own family by a wide margin, so Billy Joel's music features prominently in his childhood memories. While my memories of his music are not so clear or close to my heart, I still enjoyed the concert. By the time Billy Joel pulled out his harmonica for Piano Man, I felt downright sentimental. We had wonderful seats in the first row of the first tier, sitting right above the tunnel that connected the side stage to the arena exit. This meant that at the end of the show, Billy Joel and his band walked offstage and right underneath us. It was a fun and memorable moment for M :)

Fuzzy Billy Joel (bc I want to remember the great view from our seats)
The next day, we ate lunch at Ciccio Cali, which was by far my favorite meal of the trip. I had the Hot & Crunchy Bowl--seared Ahi, cucumber, jicama, scallions, soy sauce, avocado, crispy tempura onion, sesame seeds, and sriracha aioli on a bed of sticky rice. I'd love to eat like this more often!

That night we went to the hockey game. It's one of our favorite sports to watch live. M picked out another great set of seats. In the final minutes of the game, the Islanders were just one point behind the Lightning, so they decided to pull their goalie and make a run at a tied score. They didn't succeed, but the Lightning scored on the empty goal and won the game.

All in all, the trip was much more relaxed (and less educational) than the vacations of my childhood, but I really enjoyed the trip, appreciated that M took the lead on planning our activities, and came home well rested. Thanks M!