Our good friends Jeff and Marilyn will be leaving the area soon, so we’ve tried to see a lot of them. We invited them to the Columbia Restaurant, which I think is almost a legal requirement if you are in Tampa. The district of Ybor (pronounced EE-Bor) was settled with Cubans, and known for making hand rolled cigars. The Columbia opened in 1905 in the heart of the Cuban area, and has been serving Cuban dishes for a very long time. It is Florida’s oldest restaurant, and the oldest Spanish restaurant in the country. There are many newer locations around Florida, but I like the Ybor history. We had a great dinner!
We had to check out this place, if for no other reason than the cool name! Turns out it was very beautiful too! Again with Jeff and Marilyn, we put the kayaks in at Roger’s Park. It was crowded with canoes, rental kayaks and standup paddleboards. Heading upstream felt like we were on a busy freeway, not only because of all the traffic, but the current was very strong against us. Oh, well, I much prefer to start out upstream, and let the current help us when we’re tired and headed back. We fought the current for over 6 miles to the spring where this spring-fed river starts.
The sign about breeding Water Moccasins is a pretty good deterrent to landing in that area…
Here you can see the sign that says we’ve gone 6 miles from Roger’s park.
It was very warm, and with the work of fighting the current, we finally gave in and cooled off in the water. Cold at first, but so refreshing!
We also saw a lot of kids jumping or swinging into the water. You’ll have to watch the video to see them! We really enjoyed the current as we started back. After a while, however, it didn’t seem nearly so strong. And in a while it was noticeably running the other direction! This was supposed to be a spring fed river – it can’t change current direction! It turns out it is tidal and we timed it just right to catch up current both ways! That last mile of fighting the current again as we toiled DOWNSTREAM seemed forever long!
Here’s the video – everybody getting wet in some very pretty water: