Patty and I just returned from the Tampa area today after a five-day vacation with two other couples, including Patty’s sister Vicky and her husband Mark. The occasion for the trip was Vicky’s 60th birthday.
We stayed about 60 miles south of Tampa on a finger of land called Anna Maria Island. Temperatures were in the 50s and 60s last Thursday and Friday, our first two days, but jumped up into the 70s on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
I made it to the beach once, as I recall, and that’s about my quota. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful, with that fine, white sand that I haven’t seen anywhere other than along the Gulf of Mexico, and stunning sunsets. But I’m just not a beach person. With my fair, Irish skin, I just burn and peel when exposed to the sun (without sunscreen), and the beach doesn’t hold much allure for me.
Instead, I played golf twice (another member of our group joined me once) and went to the Tampa Bay Downs thoroughbred track one day.
As usual when I fly into fairly large cities, I scoped out the airport, and Tampa International is certainly a jewel.
It’s got wide concourses that are illuminated by natural light that pours through the tall, glass, airside windows. It’s clean and modern-looking, and there are plenty of bars, restaurants and retail shops.
The airport handled 16.9 million passengers in 2013, making it the 31st busiest airport in the country. (KCI, by comparison handles nine to 11 million passengers per year.) A $1 billion expansion that will increase the Tampa facility’s capacity to 25 million a year recently got underway.
In 2007 and 2008, Zagat Survey ranked Tampa International the “Best Overall U.S. Airport,” while placing it second best overall in 2009 and 2010.
Why do I bring this up? You know…because KCI compares so miserably to almost all other major cities’ airports. I’ve said this for the last year or so, KCI is a dark, dingy dump. It’s time to renovate and expand, and the sooner we do it, the better off Kansas City is going to be.
But, anyway…here are some photos that I hope you will enjoy.