We started our second Florida trip in Fort Lauderdale. The weather was stormy due to a hurricane so we checked out some special restaurants: on the one hand Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. It was wet, cold and windy and they don’t really serve a lot of shrimps for the money but with the scenes of Forrest Gump at the back of one’s mind a funny experience and a must for Run Forrest Run fans. Before heading off to Naples we had breakfast at Diner by the sea, a must-see if you saw the Swiss TV series “Job Tausch”, there people change their job for a week with others on the same job but on another continent. So two waiters from St. Moritz (high-end ski destination in Switzerland) changed with two waiters from Diner by the Sea (small and simple restaurant especially for retirees in Fort Lauderdale). The TV series was amusing and interesting but it was a real pleasure to met Arlene – such a lovely and warmly person! The food: normal American breakfast, it last until dinner.
Naples was our next station. There we hit our friends from Switzerland with whom we spend the next ten days. In Naples we visited the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary to see alligators, frogs, birds, raccoons and snakes. It wasn’t our animal day, we saw only a lonesome deer. Instead a lot of cypress and pines and butterflies on the nice 2 mi boardwalk through marsh and wet prairie – we felt like on a jungle expedition.
Through Big Cypress National Reserve and the Everglades National Park (one of the largest tropical wilderness in the US with a large mangrove ecosystem, home to lots of threatened or protected species including the Florida panther, the American crocodile, and the West Indian manatee, habitat of hundreds species of birds as well as uncountable fresh and saltwater fishs. Also the majority of South Florida’s fresh water is recharged in this park), a short stop in Everglades City to see some alligators, to our target: Islamorada in the middle of the Florida Keys.
The Florida Keys are a string of tropical islands stretching about 120 miles off the southern tip of the U.S. state of Florida, between the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
In Islamorada we spent a day with kayaking, fishing, swimming, enjoying the beach and eating see food. Sometimes I think in a former life I lost a part of my heart to the ocean. There’s nothing more relaxing for me than listening to the waves, ocean breeze ruffling my hair and sand between my toes.
The next day we headed further to Key West. A crazy little town where blue is a little bit more blue then everywhere else, red is louder, yellow wakes you up and green is all around. You can feel on the streets that Cuba is only 90 miles away. A musician told us “what happens in Key West – never happened”. In this sense: we enjoyed our stay there.
The scenic route back to Key Largo, the last spot before back on mainland. We stayed two nights there, our hotel the Hampton Inn was fantastic. The back yard is like a zoo: iguanas, squirrels, ibis and a manatee family near the hotel beach, awesome!
Then it was already time to say goodbye to our Swiss friends. The 10 days together were fantastic and just flew by. Thanks a lot family Früh, it was a pleasure to travel around with you!
Before flying back home to Charlotte we spent the last to days in Miami Beach. Art Deco District is nice, Ocean Drive with all the little show-offs is amused, Lincoln Road is great for shopping (a must from time to time), the Holocaust Memorial is sad and beautiful in all. For me the greatest place was Wynwood Art District with galleries, museums and collections and most impressive numerous huge wall murals by artists from all around the globe. An unique outdoor place where I could spend hours, days, …
Now back in Charlotte, I’m sitting in our backyard, taking a stroll down memory lane, it’s a bit more chilly but the sun is shining and the birds are singing, what more could you ask for?