If there is one thing I’ve learned living the soccer life, it’s to explore the city where you live and its surrounding areas. Treat your current living situation as if it is temporary (because sometimes it is) and live like a tourist!
My daughter and I recently went on a day trip to Tarpon Springs, Florida while my husband was away coaching a soccer game. Since it is located one and a half hours from where we live, this was the perfect spot to go and explore without finding overnight accommodations. With supposedly the highest percentage of Greek Americans than any city in the U.S. our spirits were high (well, mine were) as we looked forward to immersing ourselves in the closest thing that we were going to see of Greek culture.
We proceeded through town, passing some lovely antique stores that looked promising to explore, but put those aside for another day. Upon arriving at the Sponge Docks we parked ($3) and proceeded to walk down Dodecanese Blvd. Along here we found various souvenir-type shops with several of them selling sponges….of ALL shapes and sizes.
As always, there were some “interesting” souvenirs offered up to those whose money was burning a hole in his/her pocket.
While browsing through one of these stores called Spongeorama we entered their Sponge Diving Museum (FREE) in the back of the store. The museum gives some interesting history on the sponge industry but is in urgent need of some cleaning and updating. The store offers a free 20 minute video that also tells about the history. We skipped the video and continued to explore.
Walking along the dock area we found a couple of sponge diving boats that were tied up.
There are a couple of cruise line companies available to take you out for a sponge-diving demonstration, dolphin watching, and even a lunch or dinner cruise. We weren’t ready to try out our “sea” legs yet so we continued walking.
We passed a few Greek restaurants when suddenly I spotted it…the very place where I knew I could find what I was really looking for.
It was mid-afternoon and time for a coffee break and a sweet treat.
It all looked so delicious! I decided to try their Greek coffee and… now let me see…
There it was – the baklava! I couldn’t resist it. The thought of that honey and nuts was what I was craving. We decided to enjoy it outside at a table. The coffee had a lot of dregs in the bottom. They were supposed to be there. That was something I didn’t know about Greek coffee. Don’t drink what’s in the bottom of the cup! Now I know! The baklava, however, was exquisite.
During the early evening tables were set up by restaurants along the street which had been blocked off. We had a seat on a bench and enjoyed watching a group of brave souls who were partaking of a free lesson in Greek dancing. This was followed by a live band playing Greek music while diners enjoyed what looked to be a scrumptious meal with good conversation and laughter.
We closed the day out by sharing a Greek Spaghetti meal called Makaronada at Costas Restaurant. A popular appetizer enjoyed by several in the restaurant was Saganaki – or flaming cheese. It was a sight to behold! Maybe we’ll try that next time. Opa!