Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Key West

I don't want to put off writing about Key West (KW from here on), partly because I'll forget details if I wait (though the 300+ photos I took would help there), and because I need to get my brain firmly into Hawaii-trip planning, so clear the decks! (Kind of: I am going to do separate, more detailed entries for a couple of things, as I'll mention when I get to them.)

On Saturday, we were up early and over to the marina.

This was not our boat:
This was our boat!
Before it departed, the sun was starting to come up.
Which gave us a nice view as we left the area.
Looking back, I could see our wake was misting upward.
The boat ride was ... fine. We started out sitting outdoors, since inside is very air conditioned and the TV was loud. But once we were under way, and the wind got too cold, we went inside, where the noise of the boat's engines made the TVs seem not as annoying (though it was still cold). There's a snack bar, so you're not stuck if you don't bring food or drink with you. The ride took just over three hours, which is good for them, actually, but bring something to do! I was knitting, of course.

And once we got into the KW area, I was taking pictures. Because, parasailing!
And cruise ships!
And just lovely views in general.
We went right by the cruise ships (there were three in, on Saturday), and got quite the close-up view.
They're massive!
After we got off the boat, I got my bearings, and we walked along to the waterfront for lunch. The food at the Waterfront Brewery was very good, and look at the view:

Inside, too.
We watched this little tiki bar boat floating back and forth.
And on the way out, we saw this sign:
Yum? Yuck? You decide.

We passed this picturesque spot:
And, to follow the keg Christmas tree, here's a lobster trap one. Very festive.
The signpost was also fun.
And the mural on the building!
One thing I didn't know about KW ahead of time is that there are roosters roaming around all over. Unexpected! 
We took a Conch Tour Train around, which was very entertaining while being informative. And very bouncy; they need some road re-paving done in KW.
Going down the street, having the tour guide point out the Curry Mansion Inn--where we were going to be staying! Though we were actually in the annex across the street. Still, cool!
Some amazing old trees.
And an interesting point of geography.
The beginning of Route One! It goes all the way up to Maine.
Some cool street art: Franken-octopus.
The southernmost point in the continental US: this photo was taken as the tour went by--the point, and then the line of people down the block waiting to get their pictures taken in front of it. I'll pass!
There's a beach further down that was very pretty.

And another wild tree.
If you click on this picture, you'll see how much this property owner values his privacy.
Very cool old brick building, which started life as a Cuban bank!
Back on foot, sign-spotting. I know key lime is a big deal, but cigars? Gross.
An enormous flower.
I mean, hand for scale!
We both very carefully did not look in!
Time to check in to the Inn.

I bought one thing on the walk over: this awesome Bruins shirt. The names, the history!
Once we were checked in, and left our bag (for one night, our stuff fit into a backpack, but it was still nice not to be carrying it around), we walked back over to the Mallory Square area and walked around, pondering where to have dinner and watch the sunset.

Close to the cruise ship!
And this one, which isn't near the size, but is still so big for a person's boat.
Just so big, though.
Do you suppose this still gets driven? I mean, it's a Suzuki with an antique plate...
KW philosophy.
Dinner on a pier, anyone?
After a good bit of wandering, we ended up back by the side the cruise ships were on. The restaurant, Bistro 245, was very nice, and the view couldn't be beat.

I got up to photograph the boats going by.
Got a bird!
And the cruise ship pulling out.
Shortly thereafter, another one pulled out.
And then it was time for the sunset proper. The pier was FULL of people watching it.
Sail passes sun.

Biplane coming in. We were surprised all weekend by the number of planes coming in. Small ones, bigger ones, pontoon ones.
And down goes the sun. Just lovely.
As was the raspberry daiquiri I had to drink, mmm.

On the walk back to the inn, I saw this sign on the side of a business, and had to stop and say, "Ow, hire a proofreader!" That's three unnecessary apostrophes there.
The crescent moon was just there in the sky.
And the Christmas lights were on.
We made a very early night of it, both of us being tired from the early rising, lots of walking and standing, and so on. Which meant that we were up and moving at a decent hour on Sunday. We went across to the main house for breakfast (included in the room rate), and learned that they have a cat! Who was too busy to socialize much. Places to go...
After breakfast we packed up, and left the backpack there while we went out again.

Passing the gates of the Little White House (Truman's).
Our first stop was the treasure museum, and I'm going to make details of that its own entry, as I took a bunch of photos, and found it all quite interesting. Sunken ships! Pirates! Treasure!
Another cruise ship, close by. (There were two in on Sunday.)
After that, we took the Duval Loop over to the Hemingway House; the Duval Loop is a free city bus that loops around the old part of the island, very handy for getting about. Definitely use it!

While waiting in line, I looked up at all the green overhead.
Well, almost all green. One lone red flower.
And a lighthouse across the street, which Hemingway reportedly used to guide him home when he was drunk.
I'm also going to make this its own entry, because many photos!
After we left there, we walked down Duval. On the side street over, these people were very helpful with signs in their yard.
Can I mention how surprised I was at how many people walking down Duval were in a rush? It's a major tourist street, I would expect to be behind many saunterers, but instead I often felt like I was blocking people from getting where they were going. Odd.

Sights along the way:
Rooster. This one was hanging around the patio where we had lunch (Mangoes), and clearly found it a good source of food.
I liked this touch.
Babies! I didn't see nearly as many of these as the adults.
Mary Ellen's Bar! Had to get a photo there.
It's a theater! It's a ... Walgreen's? Well, that was unexpected.
I stopped at a vendor on Duval when this one caught my eye:
But much though it amused me, the one I bought was pretty, rather than funny.
I love a good souvenir from a trip. This and the Bruins shirt, an interesting pair!

Interesting sign.
Another crazy tree.
I mean, look at it!
After a stop at CVS for return-trip snacks, it was back to the Curry Mansion to rest a bit, as we had done lots more walking, and it was very hot! There was no way to make one manner of dress work for both being in KW (hot) and being on the ferry (freezing). Next time, instead of trying, I would bring capris and sandals for walking around (jeans and sneakers were much too much), and then sneakers and jeans and long unders and a heavy hooded sweatshirt, plus fingerless gloves, for the ferry. Yes, really.

Anyway, back to the Curry Mansion! This was in the driveway.
I can only image there was some kind of holiday parade? Who knows. I'm going to make the final separate entry for the Curry Mansion, as it was beautiful inside and I took many photos.

Strolling slowly to the ferry, we passed this house frame.
There were tons of properties undergoing repairs and renovations, but this one was the most extensive I saw!
When decoration gets out of hand.
These plants had these weird bulb things on them.
Some drooping all the way to the ground.
Which apparently do this flowery thing later? Nature is crazy!
We got to the terminal early to get in line so that we could get seats on the left side and see the sunset (advice from the inn). Time to pull out the knitting!
As the boat pulled out, we got up close with the last cruise ship.
It looks like it's coming right at us!
Of course, it wasn't moving.

There were also more of these pretty ships.
Leading to an interesting contrast.
When it was sunset time, I didn't feel like going out on deck, so I watched the impressionistic "sunset through sea-sprayed windows" instead.
It was very pretty.

After it was down, I got off my duff and went outside anyway. Lovely.

There's that crescent moon again.

The return trip was uneventful, and faster than we had expected it to be. We ate ourselves silly on snacks (what is it about travel and how one eats?), then were home in time to watch the second half of the Bruins game that I had expected to miss. Sore, and exhausted, but happy we went and happy to be home again. The sign of a good trip!

I'll get to those three separate entries, but let me know (you intrepid readers who made it this far) if you have any questions, and I'll do my best to answer.

Happy new year!