Saturday, March 11, 2006

The best things about our Florida vacation

• The weather was breezy and idyllic the entire week.

• We discovered the best beach ever and spent a lot of time there. And no, I'm not going to say which one, because then everyone else will go there and it will be ruined.

• We found the coveted Africa volume of the Time-Life Foods of the World series in a thrift store. Several other volumes, too.

• At the Cleveland Indians' spring training stadium in Winter Haven, we paid all of $5 to sit in the shade, and we could smell the orange groves nearby as we watched the game. Have I mentioned before that orange blossoms are the best-smelling flowers in the entire world? I have? Well, I just mentioned it again.

• Ybor City was super touristy and seemed kind of down-on-its-heels, but we found a restaurant with unexpectedly good oysters, shrimp, Cuban sandwiches, and conversation.

• We took a great "Sea-fari" boat trip from the Tarpon Springs sponge docks. They provided auto-focus binoculars and had a knowledgeable naturalist onboard. We saw dolphins, bald eagles, herons, ospreys--all kinds of animals, all in their natural habitats. There was a fully restored 1880s iron lighthouse. The water was jade green. Amazing.

• I visited the Fournos bakery (across the street from the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Tarpon) every morning at breakfast time. We also went back to the Mykonos restaurant. And yes, we had the tasty fried smelt!

• I experienced massive equipment failure--my contact lens ripped in half, my purse fell apart, my shoe broke--and totally didn't care because I was having a great time.