Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Driving the Lower Keys, Florida ~ Part 2

And we arrived in Key West! 

We were surprised at the size of Key West – for some reason we expected a smaller key with quaint shops and such. Instead we found ourselves in a decent-sized town with chain restaurants, large stores, etc…

We eventually found the Visitor’s Center which was not easy to find and which lacked any kind of hospitality in any form. In fact, it seems as if the employees work on commission and earn money by selling tickets and suggesting restaurants that earn them a kick-back - what!?  Yes, this was the Visitor’s Center, where we expect unbiased information and nice people – so far we were not loving Key West.

We found parking where we could fit (the truck doesn’t fit in most parking garages due to its height) and estimated we’d stay three hours or so, and paid $7.50 at $2.50/hour. Here’s where we were reminded that there are genuinely good people in this world (sometimes it’s easy to forget). When Suzanne came back from getting the parking ticket that goes in the window to show we’ve paid, Brad was chatting with people who saw our Oregon license plate – they’re from California (neighbors, when meeting in Key West). Suzanne casually asked Brad if he remembered the sunscreen, since now it was sunny skies, no longer pouring rain, and she was wearing a tank top. He replied nope, he forgot. Okay, conversation done. The woman of the couple with whom we were chatting (less than a five minute conversation) walked a few feet to her car and came back with sunscreen for Suzanne and gave her a huge dollop! A small act, but meaningful and thoughtful.

We meandered the wharf a bit – we always enjoy seeing boats, then headed to Duval Street – the hub of tourist activities.  Here’s what we were expecting of all the keys – quaint (expensive) restaurants, small shops, ticky-tacky tourist stuff, etc..   We’re not big shoppers, but we did enjoy a few art galleries and a couple stores, especially for their air condition, because it may have been raining in the other keys, but it Key West, it was HOT!  We eventually arrived at the most southern point – lots of people taking pictures. We’ve now been to the most southern, western points in the continental United States - guess we have a goal now, for the rest.
The very hot walk back took us past Hemingway’s House (we didn’t pay the $13 per person to go in) with the 6-toes cats and more shops. One thing we really enjoyed about Duval Street was that this was where many sea captains built their homes - if one can look past the stores, the buildings/homes are amazing - stately and majestic.

So we “did” Key West in a couple hours. There is more to do – like enjoy the restaurants (although we did get an icy cold strawberry-lemonade), shop more, and go boating, fishing, etc…. The town, for us, had a college-feel and we’re glad we visited, but have no plans to return. 

Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

1 comment:

jcw3rd said...

Sorry to see that you missed Truman's winter White House on the decommissioned army base. Very interesting and worth the time and money.

-- jc&bev

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