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Monday, May 12, 2014

Tarpon Springs - We Stopped For Lunch To See The Sponge Boats

Lulu and I stopped at Tarpon Springs - halfway home from Fort Lauderdale today.

Monday - We spent Sunday night at a Hotel near Sarasota. It is about 500 miles from Miami to Tallahassee and this was a place that was half way home. Lulu wanted to shop at the Ellendon Outlets and this hotel was right there. This morning we drove to Tarpon Springs. 

In the 1920s - Tarpon Springs became famous because it was the bets place to harvest sponges in the world. They started out by hooking them - but later they found out that using diving suites they could go down deep and collect sponges with rakes. People form Greece that were experts in the field flocked to Tarpon Springs to make their fortune. 

Today - the importance of sponges has diminished due to synthetic products - but they still harvest sponges - and the town is full of great little Greek Restaurants. Lulu decided that this was a great place for lunch. We like to eat at Hellas - pronounced hell-LASS - and today's lunch was excellent. The docks were not crowded - but the weather was nice - and the hucksters were trying to get everyone to go out on dolphin cruises. 

After lunch - we pointed the Prius north on old Route 19. We had 220 miles to go - the first part of the trip had quite a bit of stop and go at traffic lights. We got home safely at 5:30.

Our Prius got 48.5 miles per gallon. We tried to maintain a 66 mile per hour limit. The weather was great - high 80s - sunny - no rain the entire 5 days. 

Our whole trip was 5 days - 1100 miles - 3 hotels - and lots of nice places to eat. Lulu had school business on Friday and Saturday - the rest of the time she got plenty of beach time in. A Thursday night stop at the Palma Maria was the perfect first night out that set the tone. We enjoyed a few hours with our friends - Carl and Marylou Zimmerman.

While we were away - our friends Michele and John Maas stayed in our new home for the weekend. Their daughter Krys just completed her first year at FSU. John is the employer of Doris Meneses. We met them through Doris. 

Last spring we visited the Parthenon in Athens - Greece. It is the most inspirational building to me. This restaurant used it in advertising,

The cool old VW van was quite a beach buggy. It was lowered several inches - but still in nice shape. These vans could barely reach 50 MPH because they only had a 36 horsepower engine. 

Lulu bought a couple sponges. Although the industry has shrunk - there is a still a large Greek population in the town. They keep their shops and home very tidy. 

 More sponges at Tarpon Springs. Those large ones cost around $40.

A sponge boat at Tarpon Springs.

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