I was at a bus terminal when one of the few beggars in town came and asked me for help – he had a blue bike from the 70s. We chatted for a while and I do not remember how it happened, but I bought it for US$ 100 and rode all over the city, free as a bird. It turned out to be a very pleasant place, despite the heat and humidity.
The city is plain and there is not much traffic, you do not get tired; it is possible to cycle long distances. A great part of Sarasota has bike lanes, and as in most American towns, you can leave your bike and no one will steal it.
I took the time to go to all the tourist points that interested me most: the beaches, the city center with stores and ice cream shops, the “Unconditional Surrender” (Kissing Statue) and the SARASOTA CLASSIC CAR MUSEUM – besides the Ford T, picnic cars and the classic American cars, you can also see John Lennon’s Mercedes and the original car from “Back to the Future”, all built in stainless steel.
You are immediately charmed by Sarasota. It is not known by foreigners, but is one of the favorite tourist points for several Americans, especially the wealthy ones. The beach has great hotels, excellent restaurants, designer stores and everything is clean and organized. SIESTA BEACH is a big attraction, considered the best American beach. Its white sand and calm sea make it a perfect place to spend the day with the kids – although I have already been to much prettier beaches in the US. There is also the beautiful LIDO BEACH, where I watched an amazing sunset.
The KISSING STATUE is one of the most beautiful statues I have ever seen; there should be one in bronze too. There is even a dispute between the city hall of New York and Sarasota for its possession, because it is unique and represents that famous photography of an American soldier kissing the nurse girlfriend after he came back from World War II. The photograph is beautiful; the statue is gorgeous and is the main landmark in Sarasota.
The nicest part of the ride was passing by John Ringling Bridge, which connects the mainland to Lido Beach. It is a long bridge with a steep incline. I cycled during the day and at night; it is a great feeling, especially on the descent with the wind and the view.
Another great place to visit is one of Grease filming locations – a public school that remains exactly the same. There are many restaurants, and most of them are famous. John and his wife, my clients, took me out to dinner in a fantastic restaurant, with the sound of Jazz music.
Sarasota also has a good nightlife. In the historic center there are top restaurants and parties; picturesque bars and restaurants, and those small places just to eat a burger or a pepperoni pizza (so good!).
How to get there: it is in northern Florida, a 2-hour drive from Orlando and 1h away from Tampa. It is the best option for those who go to Disney and want to enjoy the beach.
Translated by Lúcia Maciel
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