Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cruise recap: Day 4

Day 4: Key West, Florida

Another beautiful sunrise. I'll tell you, starting every day of this vacation with a beautiful sunrise was one of the highlights of the trip.

We arrived in Key West shortly after breakfast and without really planning to meet, I managed to meet up with a bunch from the group as we were getting ready to disembark for our day in Key West. I only had one thing I wanted to do and that was visit Ernest Hemingway's house. For the first time in the trip, I actually felt the heat. The first day in Miami and the other days in the Bahamas there was always a breeze, not so on this day. Our stop in Key West was hot and humid and we felt it. Anyway, enough about the weather (although, short aside, scattered thunderstorms were forecast and that never happened!)

After getting our bearings myself and a couple of friends headed over to Hemingway's house and did a little visit. It might have been a good idea to do the guided tour but I didn't feel like being pushed around from room to room, so we just wandered around and took our time viewing the place. It is really quite a beautiful home. Lovely high ceiling and huge floor to ceiling windows. Hemingway's studio was very interesting to see as well, even if we couldn't go right into the room. The gardens are also very well kept and the swimming pool looked all too inviting! The one thing that bothered me, even though the windows were all open, were the cats. Every time you turned around there was another cat or two or three, jumping off some piece of furniture or strolling past. And as you walked through the gardens they were just everywhere. It was a bit too much for my sensitive allergy and I pretty much spent close to an hour trying not to rub my eyes and breathe through my scarf.

After our visit there we walked over to the Southernmost Point in the USA. We were told it was a photo opportunity. Arriving there I wondered why people were lining up to take their picture against a big piece of concrete painted in a variety of colours but I guess ... well, I don't know. I just took a picture of the area and the ocean and moved on. I suppose the best thing about that was the price - free!

By this time we were about melting so found ourselves a little bistro on Duval Street and had an enjoyable lunch, complete with air-conditioning. One of the few instances that I have really appreciated a/c.

After lunch we walked back down Duval Street to visit a butterfly conservatory. That wasn't air conditioned as much, but it was still cooler than being outside in the heavy humidity. We had fun with the butterflies. There were just so many different kinds, of every size and colour imaginable. Really impressive.

It was probably about mid-afternoon at this time and we decided we would stroll back up Duval Street and head for the ship and a refreshing dip in the pool. On the way, we stopped for some Key Lime pie and ran into two of our friends so we all sat down and enjoyed our pie together.

Back on the boat, it was a relief to jump into the pool. A number of our group somehow managed to meet up again and two of our own guys were selected for the Sexiest Man competition. And what do you know, one of them even won!

A quick shower and change and we were back in the dining room for our final meal together. Once again the menu did not disappoint. I was impressed with the food. There was always a good selection and the portion size was just right. I could eat the appetizer, main and dessert and leave the table feeling well fed without feeling I'd need to order a second dish or without feeling I'd eaten too much.

After dinner we all went and got our packing done and then met up in one of the bars for a few cocktails and some laughs. Given that we were 16, while it was difficult to get everyone to meet up, when we were together we all really enjoyed the atmosphere as a group. It was a good mix of people and I think that's why I had so much fun. Shortly before midnight I headed to my cabin to finish my packing and hopefully get a good rest after the long day of walking.

We would arrive in Miami around breakfast time the next day and head for home.

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