A Change Of Pace

I normally come to florida with one thing in mind…birds and some landscapes but, I have heard mention of Ybor City over the years and the curiosity got the better of me today so, off we went to check it out. Ybor City is the home to handmade cigars, architecture and interesting people. I was anticipating working all of the above. Our first subject was the Columbia Restaurant which opened in 1905 and is still operated by the original family. It had all kinds of mosaic tile pictures on the walls and made for an interesting fisheye…

Shortly thereafter, we passed the Ybor City Development Offices and saw a map in the window so we stopped in to pick one up and ask a couple of questions. We met Brenda, who graciously answered our questions, pointed out some interesting stops and then suggested we talk to Bob, the Historic District Ambassador. A quick phone call and Brenda had set up a meeting with Bob who showed up and told us he would take us around. He took us to the New World Brewery where we were once again greeted graciously and the owner, Steve, allowed us free reign of his establishment…

We wandered down the street with Bob filling in the history of the buildings and Ybor City. We told him we would love to see inside the Columbia Museum to which he promptly made arrangements to get us in…

On Bob’s suggestion we all ordered the 1905 salad with a Cuban sandwich for lunch, which was delicious, before proceeding on with our tour. Next on our agenda was a visit to a few of the cigar stores to see them hand roll cigars. We stopped at La Herencia De Cuba and met Mr Ramirez who sat down and began rolling cigars for us…

He was a wonderful gentleman with a charming smile…

All too fast the day flew by and soon we were thanking Bob for the great tour and behind the scenes access as well as the great stories. Ybor City certainly lived up to all the stories we heard about it and more. We went to Ybor City in search of a fun day of photography and got way more than we bargained for when we met Ambassador Bob, who brought the old Ybor City to life with his tales…

Thanks Bob, for an incredible day, we’ll be back.

Images created with Nikon D3S, AF 16mm 2.8 Fisheye, AF-S 24-70mm 2.8 on Lexar digital media