Saturday, February 13, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I didn't realize that it had been so long since I posted. I'm back at Blueberry Hill and alternately enjoying the park and touring with Carman. Our weather is fixing to turn lousy again, but at least I'm not in a snowstorm. Last Tuesday, I took a bus tour to Tampa and Ybor City with a group from the park. When we started out, it was raining cats and dogs for most of the way. As we neared Tampa, it quit raining, and by lunch time the sun was shining. We rode the Gasparilla parade route from the previous weekend. It's a pirate celebration and an excuse to party. We saw a lot of houses, old and new, and since the guide was a native, he told a lot of interesting stories. Ybor City was a place where immigrants came to work in the cigar factories. They were mostly Italian, German and Hispanic. Each ethnic group had it own social club and medical facility. They paid twenty-five cents a month for medical care. We had a great lunch at Carmine's Italian restaurant, and our last stop was the Cuban bakery where everyone bought a three-foot loaf of Cuban bread for $2 plus a lot of goodies. From there we went to the University of Tampa administration building which had been the Tampa Hotel. Teddy Roosevelt stayed there before going off to the Spanish American War. The domes are ballrooms and the stained glass pictures are in the center of the dome. The architecture and preservation of the building is incredible.