6 Things to see at The Saturday Morning Market in Downtown St. Pete, FL

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It was a delightful, sunny and cool day in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. I parked my car and walked through the streets feeling the breeze in the air. The perfect day to check out the Saturday Morning Market!  Every year, the market is open during the Fall, from early October to late May, from 9am – 2pm in downtown St. Pete.  It’s become the largest one-day-a-week fresh market in the Southeast US, with about 10,000+ customers each week. It’s a great time for families and friends to come together and enjoy what the market has to offer!

As I walked through the market, I could feel the heat from the sun upon me, and smell the different aromas of food cooking from the numerous vendors.  I was starting to get hungry! The smell of the sausages, onions, bread baking and empanadas was unbearable.  The cool breeze that I had felt while walking to the market, was no longer a cool one but a hot one.  There was no shade to stand under and hide. There was so much going on around me, the food cooking, dogs barking and live music playing.

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The Saturday Morning Market – St. Pete, FL.

1. Fresh Vegetables & Produce – The market was filled with fresh produce including green and red peppers, squash, habaneros, organic items and much more.

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2. Art – Every year, artist from all over the state of Florida come to showcase their talent. It’s also a great way to network and connect with other artists in the area.

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3. Baked Goods – One of my favorite foods at the market and anywhere are baked goods, especially cupcakes. I’m like a kid in a candy store, my eyes go nuts when I see them, especially if they are decorated like these, with colorful sprinkles. As I stood near them to admire the details, I could smell a delicious aroma of empanadas cooking.  I walked by the  empanada stand and the line was a mile long, but that did not stop me from buying one. As I stood in line, I couldn’t decide which one to get as there were so many of them. My eyes connected with the Southwestern Empanada. As I ordered it, I could not wait to take a bite of it.  It was filled with, chicken, black beans, corn and a delicious sauce that left me wanting more.

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4. Flowers/Plants – There were so many colorful flowers and plants, I felt like I was in the middle of a greenhouse. Though the Sunflowers did not have a floral scent to them, they were still bright and beautiful.

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5. Crafts: I don’t consider myself to be a crafty person, however I loved what the market vendors had on display.

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6. Music – There were several musicians playing during the market. But this guy caught my eye. It’s not every day you see an accordionist. His composure and style of music, which added a little bit of folk and classical tunes brought in a big crowd to see him play.

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Do you have any local markets in your area? If so, what do you enjoy about them? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Happy Travels ~ Ruthie

 

 

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Video: La Tierra del Olvido – Playing for Change

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No matter what Spanish Culture you are from, the Latin community embraces their country.  Though we all come from different cultures, we willingly find ways to enhance our traditions. Our music is different, but it’s our unique expression of our culture and who we are. I came across this video from the website of a fellow travel blogger and photographer Will Castillo from “I Will Travel Website” and it highlights how “Colombian musicians from all over their country came together to offer a peaceful moment in the nation’s 50-year war”.

When I first saw this video, I felt a sense of joy to hear music and lyrics from another Spanish culture.  The instruments being played are distinctive in sound and the artists came together to express their love for music. It’s the little things in life that truly have a huge impact on our culture.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did!  To learn more about Playing for Change and what they’re all about, check out their website at http://www.playingforchange.com/about/. To read and learn more about Will Castillo travel and photography journey, check out his website at http://iwilltravelblog.com/

How does music impact you?  Feel free to share your thoughts.

Happy Travels ~ Ruthie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the best Christmas Gift is Recognition!

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By now, you all probably know that my blog Ruthie’s Routes was named Top 10 Bloggers of 2013 by The Blogger’s Lounge!  I woke up reading the post on Twitter and was so excited that I called my husband at work to tell him the great news.  I had to read the post twice, as my eyes could not believe it!  As a beginner blogger, I am humbled by this recognition.

I have received a lot of encouragement from all of you during my journey. I started blogging this past August, and though it hasn’t been easy, I could not have done it without your help. I have come to really love blogging, putting my journey out there and hopefully inspiring others to travel more and explore what this world has to offer.

I want to thank all of you who have taken the time out of your busy travel schedules to give me advice and suggestions.  I won’t name all of you, but you know who you are.  Those that have connected with me via social media, via mail, emails, interviews and have shared my content.  I’m so appreciative to have met you along my journey and hope that someday I get to travel to where you are and thank you face to face.

On this Christmas Eve Day, Thank You for making Ruthie’s Routes a part of your family, it’s the best Christmas gift anyone could ever get! I’m eager to see where Ruthie’s Route’s journey will take me in 2014!

Check out The Blogger’s Lounge to read my story: http://bloggers-lounge.co.uk/blogging-news/bloggers-lounge-top-10-bloggers-2013/

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Everyone!

Happy Travels ~ Ruthie

 

Monday Musings: 2 Etiquette Tips for Re-Gifting a Gift

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I felt compelled to write about this topic, not because I wanted to, but because of an experience that I went through.  Do to privacy, I won’t go into details of when, where or show a picture of the gift. I was so excited to receive this gift. It was nicely wrapped with a holiday see through wrapping paper. Very festive and Christmassy! I could not wait to get home, open it up, and taste what was inside. It was one of my favorite things to eat!!

When I arrived at home that evening, I quickly unwrapped the gift and placed the gift card that was attached to the wrapping paper, on the table, not paying attention to it. I started tasting and indulging in my gift and could stop eating, it was delicious!! The next day, I had a few more bites and noticed that I had put the gift tag on the table.  I picked up the tag and was curious enough to flip the tag around.  I don’t know what made me do this.  AND guess what???

How many of you, have ever re-gifted a gift that was given to you? Well, I have.  There I said it. I’ve re-gifted gifts, such as clothing and food, especially if the clothes were not my style of clothing or the food was something that I did not like.  I don’t think there is nothing wrong with re-gifting a gift. However, it’s important to follow two simple etiquette tips for re-gifting a gift.

Rule#1:

This is the most important tip ever.  If you are going to re-gift a gift, PLEASE make sure that the tag where you write the person’s name is blank. Unfortunately, for me, there was another person’s name on the tag. So clearly, my gift was a re-gift. However, the person who re-gifted the gift, forgot to put a new tag on the gift, and therefore there was a name on my gift tag. AND it wasn’t my name.

Rule#2:

Make sure, that you wrap the gift with a different wrapping paper or a new box. It’s always nice to wrap the gift in a box, giving it a fresh new look. If you see holes or scribbles on the paper or box that could mean, that the gift is a re-gift.

Personally, I think, it’s common courtesy to make your gift presentable as possible, even if you are re-gifting a gift. Remember to attach a new gift tag to the gift you’re giving away.

Have you ever re-gifted a gift that was given to you? If so, what was it?

Happy Travels ~ Ruthie

 

13 Things to know About Tampa International Airport

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As many times as I have traveled in and out of different airports, Tampa International Airport is the most convenient and user friendly for me. The airport has shuttles that take you to and from the Main Terminal to each airsides. It’s also equipped with Free Wireless Internet throughout the airport facilities. The layout of the airport is like a spider.  Each spider’s leg is considered to be a terminal.  It’s pretty amazing to see, especially if you can get an aerial view from the sky.

Here are 13 Things to know About Tampa International Airport:

  1. All airsides are connected to the Main Terminal: Airsides A, C, E and F.
  2. The following airlines operate out of each airside: Airside A:   Spirit, JetBlue, Frontier, United  and Silver  (Commuter) Airlines Airside C: Southwest and AirTran Airlines.  Airside F: American, US Airways, British Airways, Edelweiss (Swiss Airline), Sky King (operates flights to Cuba), West Jet (Canadian), Cayman Airlines and JetBlue (also operates flights to Cuba).  Airside E: Delta and Air Canada
  3. 2 Duty Free Shops: There are two duty free shops, one on Airside E and the other located on Airside F. They operate according to the airlines flights, schedules and International Flights and are open 2 hours prior to departure time.
  4. Ground Transportation: We have several rental car companies on site to include; Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Budget and National.
  5. Parking Information: Short Term Parking is located in the Main Terminal (Levels 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9).  Long Term Garage Parking is accessible via Monorails.
  6. Retail Shops: We have several retails shops located on the Landside/Main Terminal – Level 3 which are the following: Authors Bookstore, Bijoux Terner, Brookstone, Destination Time, Harley-Davidson, Mindworks, News Central/Gift & News, Radio Road, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Sports Scene, Sunglass Int’l, Swarovski, Talie, Tampa! and Tech Interaction.  Each airside, will also have their own shops after you cross security.
  7. Travelex/Currency Exchange/Flight Insurance: Located on Landside Terminal Level 3, near the Armstrong Elevators and also on Airside F for international flights.
  8. Chapel: This is a Non-denominational chapel. It’s located in the Landside Terminal Level 3, near the Armstrong Elevators.
  9. Accommodations: The Marriott Hotel is located on Level 3 directly connected to the main terminal.
  10. ATM: Operated by SunTrust Bank. Located on Landside Terminal Levels 1, 2, 3, and all airside terminals.
  11. Business Center: The business center is located in the Marriott Hotel.
  12. Mail Drop: Located at all elevator Cores in the main terminal.
  13. Smoking Areas/Outdoor Patios: For those travelers who smoke, smoking areas are located on Landside Terminal Level 3 between Airsides A and C and All Airsides.

What’s your favorite airport and why?

Happy Travels ~ Ruthie

 

Photo Essay: The Streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Old San Juan, Puerto Rico is one of my favorite places to visit.  It’s full of culture, history, charm and delicious food.  The streets, buildings and architecture reflect the Spanish Colonial period.

You will find that in Old San Juan, there are narrow, winding, cobblestone streets, tiled roof buildings as well as ornate balconies.

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 Cobblestone Street

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Winding street of Old San Juan

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Small Cobblestone Alley Road

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Pastel – colored buildings

 Old San Juan, Puerto Rico is filled with historic places, museums and shops. It’s a principle spot for locals and tourists. If you ever travel to Puerto Rico, make sure to tour Old San Juan for a little bit of Latin flavor.

Have you been to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico? If so, what did you love about the area?

Happy Travels ~ Ruthie

 

9 Things I’m Thankful for This Year

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Every year during this time, I step back and evaluate what I’ve been thankful for during the year.  It’s a time of reflection, a time to give thanks for what I have.  There are so many unfortunate people in this world that don’t have food, families, friends, jobs and the list goes on and on.

As we enter the holiday season, I wanted to share with you a few of the many things that I’m Thankful for this year.

  1. Family: My family plays a huge role in my life. Without the love and support from them, I would not be where I am today.
  2. Husband: A loving and supporting husband.  No matter what decisions I’ve made, he’s always supported me.
  3. Friends: Lifetime friendships. No matter what happens, they’re there.
  4. Job: Without a job, I would not be able to pay my bills and save to travel to more places.
  5. Food: If it wasn’t for food, my family and I would be starving.
  6. Travel: The ability to travel and see different parts of the world.
  7. Freedom: Without freedom, we would all be held against our will.
  8. Technology – Without it, we would not be able to communicate with our loved ones.
  9. Good Health: I’m blessed to have good health. No major allergies or sickness.

What are you thankful for this year?

Happy Travels ~ Ruthie’s Routes