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Tampa Tour: Canaries set to arrive in Florida for warm weather break

PUBLISHED: 15:54 12 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:54 12 November 2018

Downtown Tampa awaits the arrival of Norwich City, with a flag supporting ice hockey team Tampa Bay Lightning Picture: Archant

Downtown Tampa awaits the arrival of Norwich City, with a flag supporting ice hockey team Tampa Bay Lightning Picture: Archant

Archant

Greetings from Florida, Canaries fans.

The Hillsborough river runs through downtown Tampa Picture: ArchantThe Hillsborough river runs through downtown Tampa Picture: Archant

The Championship leaders are due to fly in tonight but I’ve had the chance to do a bit of scouting in Tampa ahead of their arrival.

Unfortunately that meant missing the Millwall game and it sounds like I missed something rather special. I flew out of London Gatwick at 2pm on Saturday, for a trip across the pond of more than nine hours. So by the time I managed to get some mobile data on my phone it was around seven hours since Teemu Pukki had caused such brilliant injury-time chaos.

For a reporter who follows Daniel Farke’s team closely, it was a strange experience to not know the result for so long – but a great relief to see yet another win pop through as I was waiting for my luggage.

I’ve caught up with as much of our coverage from Paddy and Michael as I can and watched the highlights a few times, the atmosphere at the end looks brilliant.

We’ve been able to send someone over here thanks to City’s partnership with Visit Tampa Bay, the club’s official destination partner.

The clip of the celebrations after Pukki’s winner, with bodies flying everywhere and Carrow Road bouncing, helped me to illustrate perfectly just how good the last few months have been as I had dinner with one of the Visit Tampa Bay public relations team on Sunday evening!

I eventually got to bed around 4am UK time here in downtown Tampa, so had been awake just the 22 hours straight – as the bags under my eyes show in the video in the Pink Un app.

But before heading to bed I squeezed in dinner at Anise Global Gastrobar, which reminded me of Norwich favourite Zak’s, having grown from a food truck selling Asian-style stinky buns into a trendy food spot selling Asian-Cuban fusion.

Visit Tampa BayVisit Tampa Bay

As we walked back to the hotel ice hockey fans were pouring out of Tampa Bay Lightning game creating a real Saturday night buzz amid the high-rise buildings of downtown Tampa – with a Harley Davidson rider blasting music from his bike and one guy carrying one of those almost unimaginably big US pizzas above his head as he headed for a spot alongside the Hillsborough river to enjoy.

After catching up on some sleep it was Busch Gardens during the day on Sunday – in temperatures over 25C. I’m fortunate enough to have been before so knew what to expect from a scenic venue which mixes safari, zoo and amusement park into one.

I’m not really a roller-coaster man – covering Norwich is enough of a roller-coaster for me – but if you’re a thrill seeker then you’ve got loads of choice on that front.

I’ll be taking in more of the tourism and cultural hot spots in Tampa throughout Monday before City arrive in the evening, with a welcome party planned at the airport ahead of a reception at the team hotel later on – no doubt with the smiles still on show after Saturday’s drama.

• We’ll be keeping you up to date with City’s tour of Tampa throughout the week, download the Pink Un app for exclusive insights from the other side of the Atlantic

Busch Gardens mixes safari and theme park in Florida Picture: ArchantBusch Gardens mixes safari and theme park in Florida Picture: Archant

A friend Dave Freezer made at Busch Gardens in Tampa Picture: ArchantA friend Dave Freezer made at Busch Gardens in Tampa Picture: Archant

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