Saturday, February 4, 2012

Greeks & Sponges in Tarpon Springs, FL

Saturday, 2/4/12 - Our friends Juanita and Larry invited us to meet them at Tarpon Springs this morning which is half way between where we are in Clearwater and them in Port Richey. Now we knew nothing of this place and were absolutely delighted to find out what an interesting place it was. Tarpon Springs became an important center for sponge diving when Greek divers came to the area in the early 1900s. Most of the original buildings are restored and still in use. There is much more to the town but we stayed in the "tourist section" - Dodecanese Blvd, a street that is filled with a sponge museum (which honestly was very fascinating) and so many places to buy every kind of sponge PLUS Juanita & my personal favorite......tourist trap shops, one after another to wander in and out of and touch everything. Will and Larry decided to have a cup of coffee which freed us up to take off and wander through the shops.

As the town is made up of mostly Greek families that have been in this area "forever" they had lots of Greek restaurants to choose from. We wandered into one of the shops and asked one of the ladies there which Greek restaurant we should try and she said, "hands down, go to Mykonos Greek Cookery, absolutely authentic Greek food, not fancy but my family eats there." Well, when we met back up with the guys, we gave the restaurant report and headed for Mykonos. She was right, not fancy but crowded with a line waiting. We got right in and then the big decision. I had a vegetarian stew, potatoes and all types of veggies, Larry had a stuffed eggplant and Juanita a stuff pepper & tomato... all were delicious. Of course poor Will who wanted nothing to do with Greek food, but went along, as the good sport he is, ordered a hamburger and fries. Who knew they would serve a hamburger on Peta bread. and make homemade style fries. Who knows if it was authentic but it sure was delicious. We didn't have room for dessert - baklava, but did manage to buy one for each of us (excluding Will) to take home.

After lunch we wandered up and down the street, stopping to listen to live music that was being played outdoors in the old Sponge Exchange, where in the old days the sponges were brought to be sold. Walking along the pier of the Anclote River where you can go out on cruises of all kinds even a sponge diving exhibit tour. Gosh, before we knew it the day had flown by and it was 4:30 pm and time to head back to our cars and head home. Today the weather was beautiful, back in the 80s with lots of sunshine. We had a wonderful time and were so lucky to discover Tarpon Springs. Much love to all our family and friends.

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