Day Two in Tampa began with a hike in the jungle. Okay so there aren’t real live jungles in Florida but as far as I could tell, it was a jungle (it was actually a nature trail through a swamp). Even though I am in the woods on the trails regularly as a runner, its been a while (forever) since I hiked in a swamp. Bugs, sunburn, rickety bridge, fallen trees and little rivers, this trail had it all.
After a shower and some primping (cue coral lipstick), Grandma, Bruce and I headed to Ybor city (pronounced ee-bor, get it right). Ybor city is an old Cuban town famous for its cigars of course, but also some incredible nightlife. We happened to be visiting on St. Patrick’s Day so the fun had already begun by 2PM when we arrived. The first thing we encountered were these wild chickens, brought here by the Cubans and protected by the state. They even made a mural for them 😉 :Though we were given a formal tour of the city my favorite part was definitely the shrine dedicated to the Island of Cuba. This little grotto is a piece of land given by the United States to Cuba in honor of Ybor but also as a token of peace. When you step through the gates, you are technically not in the USA any more. pppreeetttyyy cooolll!We were starving after our tour so we asked around for the best restaurant in town. According to our tour guide as well as our fellow tourists, the best place for dinner was the Columbia. It was not only the best meal I’ve had since being in Europe, it was also the fanciest. I was very at home and very contented. These are my contented faces:
One of my favorite pictures from today happened to be of a sticker I found posted on a lamppost just outside an old Ybor hotel:
In many ways this sums up my philosophy of travel: Just go, there’s only one way to find out.