January 5, 2010

pre-cruise visit to Tampa

We spent two nights in Tampa before our cruise to the Caribbean. It was our first time in the city so it was a good opportunity for us to check out the attractions close to the port and also to unwind after the long drive. We stayed at Ybor City and had quiet strolls along the main street during the day.

It was a sunny day but a bit chilly when we visited the Florida Aquarium, one of the main attractions in Tampa, located just beside the port. The photo above was taken from the second level of the aquarium.

A giant stingray welcomes the visitor to the Florida Aquarium.

American Victory (above) ship docked at the port.

This streetcar (above) was a very convenient means of transportation around the city. As we crossed the street, we saw this weekend market. They were selling all kinds of food. There were an assortment of fruit preserves, rustic loaves of bread and fresh produce. Some stalls were offering handmade soaps, plants, jewelry and other interesting decorative items.

We had a late lunch at La Creperia at Ybor City. They had both sweet and savory crepes in their menu. I was torn between the sweet Nutella and banana crepe and the ham and cheese breakfast crepe. I finally decided to get the savory crepe. La Creperia has an all-day breakfast crepe menu as well. We also tried the the Spanish-Cuban food at Columbia restaurant in Ybor for dinner but didn't get the chance to take pictures there.

We also stopped by one of the biggest home furnishings store, IKEA. We weaved through the creative furniture displays inside the store, checking out a few interesting ideas as we went along. After the cruise, we remembered to stop by at IKEA once again to pick up a few food items from the grocery and to try the Swedish meatballs with lingonberry preserves for lunch.

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