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Published: March 19th 2016
Check ! We completed one more item on our bucket list. Wednesday took this foursome (plus Pretty Girl, Lulu) to Tarpon Springs. Three of us reminisced that we had been here years ago....I don't remember it. Of course, that doesn't mean anything. I don't remember every place and every thing we have done over these almost 52 years together (Cory does, though...what a mind!). That's why I write my blog now. Kind of like our personal diary. But everyone can read it! So, now start reading my musings for Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
We knew Tarpon Springs was famous for its sponges but that's it. This is "Google" Information's about the city (remember Google is Your Friend): "The Sponge Industry helped build a Greek Community that is now famous not only for the worlds finest sponges, but for some of the finest Greek Restaurants, Markets, and Bakeries in the Country. What will you find in Tarpon Springs? The Sponge Docks, Greek Restaurants, Bakeries, Attractions, Natural Sponges, Sponge Diving, Tours, Sightseeing Cruises, Unique Greek and Florida Souvenirs, lots of Shopping, Sightseeing and Live Entertainment (Bouzoukia)". OPA!
First, we stopped at a Wa-Wa (try their sandwiches, etc.= great taste, great food,
great price!) for gas and Sandy asked a lady where or what to see in the town. She was told we should go onto the "Main Street" for antique shops and others. OK. We did that. It was nice and we went in a few shops. Of course, Miss Show-Off took full advantage of some photo opp's. Once was enough...wouldn't bother with it again. Not that exciting.
The lady also told her about a restaurant, Hellas, down at the sponge docks. So we headed off towards the water. Took the parking lot at the beginning of the sponge docks street. Cheaper down the street but this gave us the opportunity to walk and visit the full length of delightful sights and shops on it.
First place we went in was The Sponge Factory shop. Sponges, sponges & sponges. All related to Sponge-Bob SquarePants! In the way back of the store, we watched a brief movie about sponges.....everything you would ever want to know about these absorptive creatures. This made us "Sponge Experts" and gave us a 10% discount at check-out. Some of what we learned (Google): "Sponges are animals of the phylum Porifera. They are multicellular organisms that
have bodies full of pores and channels allowing water to circulate through them, consisting of jelly-like mesohyl sandwiched between two thin layers of cells". Sandy & I spent almost 2 hours (that's what the guys said..I doubt it)here. We picked out sponges (now that we knew which sponge was which) and olive oil products. That's the other big seller in the shops.....everything olive oil. This whole area is settled and populated by the Greeks. We bought some olive oil lotion cause one of the employees at Tropical Palms said she uses olive oil on her skin to keep the no-see-ums away. I'll try anything! Those mean, teensy-weensy, biting bugs! Hate 'em.
We eventually left this store and began our trek down the busy street. It was a regular street lined with hundreds of neat shops selling sponges, olive oil stuff and other touristy items plus wonderful Greek restaurants and bakeries. We stopped in one intriguing restaurant so Sandy could pose Lulu next to a Greek mural on their wall. The employee who watched us said he thought Sandy was holding the "Greek Goddess Medusa". Lulu was not thrilled. She doesn't care for snakes....let alone have them coming out of
Lulu's tall friend
her head! We moved on to settle her down. Whiny pants!
There was an aquarium at the end of the street but we didn't go down to it. We found the restaurant recommended to Sandy. It is HELLAS, a huge Greek restaurant. A very big, scrumptious smelling bakery was attached to it. I have never seen so many delectable delights. I got fatter just looking at them. We entered the restaurant thru the bakery because the open air front of Hellas had a large step up. They were able to seat us right out front in this open air patio. Further inside the restaurant, it was also enticing with its blue and white motif of Greece surrounding you. The wait-staff was fantastic. Just like the staff on the cruise ship. So pleasant and accommodating ....just like we were family. The food was excellent. Sandy & Sam got Greek dishes while Cory and I settled for my calamari and Bucky: a grouper sandwich meal. We would highly recommend this restaurant should you go here.
It was good we had to walk back to the car: way up the street. Time to work off a couple ounces of weight. We
Lulu is a sponge diver
passed the sponge boats docked along the pathway. We stopped to see about taking one of their many cruises (Odessey). The one we liked was a 2-hour boat ride down the Anclote River into the Gulf of Mexico. Cory said $15 for seniors. Sometimes it's good to be old! Well, maybe.....
Rats! We were too late for the afternoon cruises and too early for the Sunset Cruise (plus we would be getting back at almost 9:00 PM). No matter, we have added that to our 2017 bucket list! Needless to say, we had a great time in a fun place on a beautiful day. Better yet: shared with good friends. We hope you enjoyed it, too. Don't fuss.....promise: we are going back next year!
After we left this Greek sponge world, we traveled a short distance North. A couple of our Tropical Palms friends are relocating to a campground called Ja-Mar South RV Resort in Port Richey. We wanted to see it since we had heard a lot about it. It is very clean and neat. Just off Rt.19 so close to restaurants, shopping, etc. We aren't as tidy around our site as theirs...too much busy, eye-catching, outdoor
Lulu inside a sponge
$229.00! Get out of it, Missy!
decor and lawn furniture. We wish our friends well in their new home-ground.
Our trip home was longer (distance) but quicker (time). Going: Bucky went through Tampa (eeek) and then north. Coming back, he traveled through Zephyhills and that way. Good! We passed the time chattering about everything we saw and did today and what we liked best. What caught your eye? Mark it down cause remember; we're going back next year.
We stopped at a Culver's so Sam could get a ice cream cone. He loves ice cream and Lorna Doones. He said it was a good one = FYI.
Hope to stay in touch with all of you but not exactly sure when that will be. Our family starts arriving here in our area this Monday. The action will pick up then. Lots of comings and goings. Lots of blogs to write but the time will be limited. Our time with our family will take precedence. Not that we are putting you on the back burner. You will be joining us, of course. My recordings will probably be hap-hazard ......that's what I am trying to say. Sometimes it takes me many words to get to
the point. Do you think?? So....rest up and get ready. The fun is just beginning. Catch you on the run!
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