Key West

Key West was the last stop on our Floridian road trip and we were just in time for Independence Day! After our questionable accommodation in Homestead, we were happy to be going literally anywhere else but our gorgeous hotel was above and beyond what we had expected.
Getting to the end of the keys was easier said than done though. From start to finish, the Florida Keys are 113 miles long and part of that involved travelling over Seven Mile Bridge which is, you guessed it, a bridge that is seven miles long. Driving across that was perhaps the most disconcerting part of the entire road trip. You don’t really expect to see tropical islands while looking out of the car window.

After the very long drive, we checked into our hotel (which was serving complimentary cocktails that I wasn’t allowed to drink, I might add…) and collapsed in our pristine rooms. We couldn’t have been further from a CSI crime scene than if we had tried.

As our hotel was extremely close the Key West’s historic harbour, we spend a lot of time wandering up and down the boardwalk that weekend. The area might well be the only place in the US outside of large cities where walking to and from places is the norm.

I was pretty hyped to be spending the 4th July in America. I completely lost count of how many American flags we saw but everyone seemed to be in such a good mood. We had a few jokes cracked at our expense at lunch (mahi-mahi sandwiches!) which I can say I was sort of expecting but I was not prepared for the amount of flag-styled shorts, t-shirts, vest tops and dresses we saw. Even the houses and hotels were decked out!
While we definitely could have done more exploring of Key West, after all the driving we truly felt like we deserved a break. Besides, it was so incredibly hot at this point – Key West is just 60 miles from Cuba! – that we really didn’t have the energy. We spent a large portion of our time relaxing by the pool. It was actually the first time I had purposefully sat down to read my book during the entire trip.

On the evening of the fourth, we treated ourselves to a fancy meal out on the waterfront at the Hyatt’s restaurant SHOR. We were welcomed by these adorable guys.

Although slightly grumpy, they were very photogenic.
We settled at our table, we ordered our delicious food and prepared for an amazing tropical sunset. Unfortunately, we encountered the same issue I had in Bali – the wet season! Although it wasn’t raining, clouds rolled in on the horizon to obstruct our view.

But that’s not to say we weren’t treated to a spectacular light show!

It made the perfect backdrop for our one and only slice of authentic Key lime pie (how could we resist?!). The restaurant we were at actually won the official last Key lime pie contest so we knew we were literally about to eat the best Key lime pie on the planet… And my god, it was incredible. No picture because we all pretty much inhaled it. So good.

As night descended (along with the mosquitoes), we actually didn’t see very many fireworks! We heard one or two from a display on the other side of the island but really nothing much. For all we’d heard that the US loves Independence Day, Key West does it very low key indeed.

What we faced the following day was driving all the way back up north to Palm Beach. We stayed one night there and got some incredible takeaway pizza from a lovely, friendly independent pizzeria, Palermo Brick Oven Pizza.

Availing myself of the last waffle machine I’d be given access to, I stuffed my face at breakfast and shoved all my belongings back into my case (considerably messier than when they were originally packed). We drove the last leg of the journey to Orlando International Airport and returned the rental car.

Our flight was then, of course, delayed on the tarmac due to a severe lightning storm in the vicinity which stopped the ground crew from loading the luggage but after an hour we got up in the air and on our way back to good old Blighty.

Florida 2015
Universal Studios Orlando Key Biscayne
Cocoa Beach and Village Orchids and Key Largo
Kennedy Space Center Dolphin Research Center
Miami Beach Key West
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If you’ve stuck with me for all these posts, a huge thank you! Hopefully I’ll be able to share some exciting new about some of the photos soon! 😉

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