Monthly Archive: June 2016

Beauty and the Greeks: absorbing European culture in an authentic fishing village

Leafing through photo albums of past visits to Florida can leave you a bit cynical. The spring break jaunts may have been titillating a decade ago, but your interests have evolved since you won the gold for beer bonging and string bikini chasing.

You’ve done your sentence at the Magic Kingdom. While Orlando remains “the muggiest place on Earth,” the cost of a ticket, let alone a meal or souvenir, is anything but frozen in yesteryear. The degree to which inflation has struck Disney World evokes concern for the livelihood of its animated residents; When was the last time Minnie Mouse had a paying gig?Rogers_Street_Historic_Fishing_Village

Your vacation needs a shot of turn-of-the-century ambience without the touristy glitz that seasoned travelers desperately try to avoid.

Tarpon Springs, about 30 miles northwest of the Tampa Airport, was once a playground for the Victotian-era rich and famous from up north, and the quaint city of 23,000 has become an Eden for antique collectors. Jetsam from the state’s large senior population–approximately 23 percent are retirees–make the local vintage shops a gold mine of treasures from bygone days.

Riding the waves: surf churns up a new industry for Brazilian fishing village. (Executive Travel)

Nick Edwards is madly pulling weeds, sanding the bar and scooping buckets of rusty water from the icebox. “These guys are my childhood heroes and they are staying here,” he exclaims with awe as he refurbishes the bar at the Itauna Inn, a beachside pousada. “These guys” include the world’s top professional surfers, and they have just invaded Saquarema, a fishing village two hours north of Rio de Janeiro.Pittenweem,_Fife,_Scotland

Edwards, a local English teacher, opened the small bar to capitalize on the fledgling, but thriving, surf industry. Indeed, the entire town has been revamped. While two years ago Saquarema barely figured on a tourist map, today professional sports have blasted the 63,000-resident community into a new era. First came the unveiling of a 110,00-square-meter Olympic volley-ball-training center. Then, in October 2002, a professional surfing tour sponsored by the World Championship Tour came to town, exposing Saquarema’s secret: Itauna Beach.