Tampa Sunday..

We went to Davis Island in Tampa to look at houses and eat breakfast. We had eaten at our hotel the previous days and wanted something “better”  We ate at an Irish Restaurant on Davis Island. We ate outside at a picnic table. My meal was slightly interrupted when the children that had been eating decided to play Frisbee in the parking lot. They could have used more adult supervision since the Frisbee hit me in the back of my head while I was eating.  I don’t think the parents even knew. Hum and smile, throw it back and keep eating.

The homes in the area start at 775 k and go up. This is a pretty exclusive area and near Tampa General Hospital. I would image that a fair number of the doctors and administrators live there.  But, we can dream, and dream we did. By the way, the most recent lottery tickets were a total bust!

We drove north after eating and touring Davis Island with our final destination being Crystal River, Florida. We were told about an excellent fish market and seafood restaurant. We did not have anything planned and we had a nice new rental car, so we went for it. The toll road had a plaza every 10 to 12 miles (60 mile drive). Maybe they could charge a little more and not make us stop so frequently.

While driving we looked on Trip Advisor (my DW, not me, I was driving) and discovered that the restaurant got bad reviews. We stopped by anyway and found the fish market closed and a line at the door to the restaurant. The top rated seafood restaurant was just up the road so we changed plans. The top rated seafood restaurant was in a mall food court. Really! We went in and walked past and kept going. They need to vet these reviews a little better. We did get some ice cream before leaving the mall.  On the way back to Tampa we purchased a Sun Pass for the car. Sun Pass is like EZ Pass in the north-east. You pre-pay the tolls and can drive through the toll plaza without stopping.

Sunday evening found us back in Tampa for outdoor yoga. Hixon Park in downtown Tampa is where they have a free yoga class on Sunday evening. The park has a terraced area that the students can lay their mats on and the instructor is at the bottom. This was really cool. Check this off as another great, free, outdoor yoga venue.

Here is a Drop Box link to all the yoga pictures.

I will post a few down below.

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Namaste

 

Tampa/Sarasota Saturday afternoon..

Saturday morning we spent in Tampa at the Flan Festival and the Ybor City Farmer’s market. You can read about that here. Saturday afternoon we drove south to Sarasota, Florida to visit the distillery at Drum Circle Distilling. This is the company that makes Siesta Key Rum. Their website can be found here.

The distillery has a tasting room and also gives tours. What could be better than free rum and a tour?  Nothing that day for sure.  While we were there they had a camera man video taping the tour to be used in a promotional video.  My DW and I are in the video which I will post below. We are in the video in seconds 20 -23, in the tasting room talking to the owners.

The rum was good. I wish it were available in New Jersey near us. The only liquor store that carries the rum is in Union, NJ which is about 80 miles from home. The best rum was the spiced rum. The aged rum needs a few more years to age.  Here is the video.

 

http://youtu.be/7d7Bgcy8nr0

 

The crazy part of the afternoon was that the rental car would not start.  The battery was dead while we were in Sarasota. I called Allstate Roadside (we have with our cars at home) and they came out and jumped the car for free. The car, which we rented from Dollar Rent A Car, was a 2012 Altima with 41,000 miles. The tires were beat and the body showed the miles. When we picked it up at the airport there were not many cars to choose from. Next time I will walk back inside and get something nicer. Really, 41,000 miles at a major US airport in your rental fleet?

When the mechanic opened the hood we discovered that the positive terminal on the battery was corroded. I have never, ever, had a battery that corroded on any of the cars that I have owned over the years.  The mechanic removed the negative terminal and cleaned that (it wasn’t too bad). He went to take the positive terminal off and the connector started to bend. Then next stop after bend is break. He stopped working on the terminal and just jumped the car. He advised that we don’t shut it off and return it ASAP! Nice, huh?

We drove the car back to Dollar after talking to them on the phone. We picked up a 2013 Impala with 7000 miles. That is the kind of mileage I would expect at a major US airport from a major car rental. Shame on you Dollar Rental!

Here is a picture of the battery terminal on that car

2014-02-22 14.58.46

Here is a link to the Drop Box containing the pictures from the distillery tour.

Here are few distillery pictures.

Enjoy and Thanks for Reading!

Namaste

Tampa Saturday..

The current (one of the) joke around our home is to say to the other person “How about we go to the Farmer’s Market in Ybor City on Saturday?” This is a good line to make the other person smile if they are having a particularly bad day.  Just don’t over use it! So you can guess that the Saturday when we were in Tampa we went to the Farmer’s Market in Ybor City. It is like most farmer’s markets, except that this one is in Florida.

We headed out of our room into the fog (second day in a row) and headed across Tampa to Ybor City. Ybor City is the Cuban and Latin quarter of Tampa. They used to have factories producing cigars in Ybor City. Then most of the industry left and the area went to hell. Over the last ten or 20 years the area has been revitalized.

This particular Saturday also was the Annul Ybor City Flan Festival. In addition to the farmer’s market they closed the streets and the food vendors and such came out to hawk their wares. We happened upon the Flan Festival last year. This year we planned to be in Tampa the same weekend as the Flan Festival. What is Flan?  Here is a Wiki link that should explain it.  We skipped the flan but we collected beads and some of the local foods.  It rained for about ten minutes. Typical Florida weather, the rain starts and stops whenever.

Here is a link to the Drop Box folder containing all the pictures from Ybor City.

Here are a few highlights from the morning

Thanks for reading

Namaste

 

 

Where ya’ been, dude?..

Been, I’ve been. There and back in the last eight days of so. I’ve been dodging crazy people as I drive to work. I’ve been looking up at the sky and wondering when I moved to Scranton (not) and where the heck the sun has gone.

The last time we visited I wrote about attending three wakes, a funeral and a beer festival in one week. The next week, last week, was hell at work. If I was that hindu character (s) with the extra hands, I would still not have enough hands and hours at work.  Worked sucked, there is no other way to describe the week. By Wednesday night, I was a grouch at home. Come Thursday morning I was looking on the internet for sunshine, anywhere in the United States. I was on a mission to go where the weather suits my clothes.

My DW got Friday off and I called in sick (mental health day) and we headed south. Thursday night I bought two tickets to Tampa, Florida. The plane left at 8 am Friday morning and by 10:45 am we were in the 75 degrees weather enjoying some sunshine and humidity. I know, this summer I will be cursing that same humidity, but not last week. We picked up our rental car and headed west to Clearwater Beach.  There was quite a bit of traffic heading to the beach around lunch time Friday. I guess we were not the only people looking for some time in the sun.

We spent the afternoon at Sandy Key Park (on the beach). We walked, people watched, played in the water and took a nap on the beach.  After our beach afternoon we headed to the Westin in Tampa where we had a room reserved for the weekend. We ate dinner at Aqua in the Westin. The food was really good.  Tampa was under a boil water advisory Friday night into Sunday night due to a power outage at the water treatment plant. The hotel provided complimentary bottled water all weekend.

Saturday morning we went to Ybor City to walk around their Saturday Farmers Market. It turns out that Saturday was also the 10 annual Flan Festival. There was all kinds of food and booths set up in the area of the Farmers Market.  After we walked and ate our breakfast, we headed to Thonotosassa, Florida to rent canoes from Canoe Escape. We canoed for 4.5 miles on the Hillsborough River. We saw lots of alligators, lots of turtles and lots of birds. There are pictures and video from the trip. (Well of course there are pictures!)  The video can be found here in the You Tube link. The full folder of pictures can be found here in this Drop Box link

After our wildlife adventure we traveled to Tarpon Springs for a late lunch/early dinner.  We ate at Hellas Restaurant and Bakery.  The food was excellent.  Hellas is one of our favorite places to eat.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel in Tampa. We tried out the hot tub and pool. The hot tub was an intimate affair. Well, maybe affair is the wrong word. Intimate, it the right word to describe its size. If you went in with your significant other, the hot tub was the right size. If there were two couples in the hot tub, you would soon be friends. If there were younger children (under 10) in the hot tub, it was way too small. And the water was poorly filtered. We spent all of 5 minutes in the hot tub then went back up to our rooms for a hot shower. 

Saturday night was a few beers at the Bahama Breeze restaurant located about a half mile from our hotel.  We got back the room after midnight, soaking up as much of the humidity as we could. Sunday we were back on the plane for an 8 am flight back to Philadelphia.  We had a good time. Monday, back to work. I played lacrosse last night. I caught most of the passes thrown at me but scored no goals.

Thanks for reading!!

Here are a few pictures from the weekend. Enjoy!

Namaste