Key West, FL
We did it. We finally arrived at Key West and paid for a month at a mooring ball in Garrison Bight. We’ll be here through the 29th. Looks like it’s going to be a Key West kind of Christmas.
Now, I’m sure many people will say “Why are you wasting your time in Key West? You should have just went straight to the Bahamas”. To them I say: Our journey, our decision. And you know what? We really like it here so far. And it feels really, really good to be in one place for more than a few days.
We spent the first few days exploring the island. Bikes are definitely the way to go here, and I feel totally safe riding on the road right along side of the traffic. This actually says a lot, since I am probably the most uncoordinated/nonathletic/clumsy person you’d ever meet. So for me to feel comfortable on a bicycle is sorta a big damn deal. We took our bikes everywhere. This island is only 2 miles by 4 miles, so you can cover a lot of ground on a bike in a day. Matt was sweet enough to stop and wait for me each and every time I just had to stop and grab a picture. I’ve seriously felt like a tourist these past few days…. stopping to take pictures of everything, with a huge smile plastered on my face the entire time. Did I mention that we really love this place?
Hemingway House. They charged $13 per person to walk through, so we just snapped a pic of the outside. Plus, the house is crawling with cats, which Matt is allergic to, so we definitely were not venturing inside. Almost everywhere you go has some sort of reference to Hemingway – the bars ‘Hemingway got drunk here!’ to the parking lots boasting that ‘Hemingway passed out drunk here!’. Guess he got infected by the Key West Disease pretty early on.
Just down the street from the Hemingway House was the famous marker that designated the Southernmost point in the US. Cuba is only 90 miles away. Probably closer than the closest Target, which is 120 miles away in Miami. No Joke.
We looked at the line of people waiting to get their picture by the marker and decided that we really didn’t want a picture after all. I mean, I took the picture (with Matt waiting patiently for me by the bikes…. yet again), so it’s pretty much understood that we were there. No selfie needed. It was definitely one of those In Real Life moments, when they show you the reality of a beautiful place.
We rode along the famous Smathers Beach and decided to park the bikes and walk along the sugar white sand. All we could think was “Holy shit, we’re finally in Key West!”. A selfie was definitely in order. Have fun with that snow, y’all.
Another public beach. I’ll take these over OCMD any day.
Speaking of snow, the town has really gotten into Christmas, which is so totally bizarre to us because it’s 80 degrees and beautiful here. It’s hard getting into the Christmas frame of mind in shorts and a t-shirt. We were in Winn Dixie today doing some grocery shopping and they were blaring Christmas music throughout the store. By the time we did the 10 minute bike ride back to the dinghy, my Bertolli frozen meal in a bag was defrosted because it was 82 degrees today. It’s that bizarre.
By the way, we’ve perfected our grocery shopping technique as transients without a car. We each wear a backpack and just got a milk crate that Matt attached to a rack on the back of his bike. We load up my backpack with the fragile items (eggs, bread, chips), Matt’s bag with the heavy/bulky items (soda cans, creamer, boxed stuff), and pack the bag(s) of produce into the milk crate. Worked pretty well!
Of course, we’ve made it down to Duval Street a few times already. Cheapest beer we could find was $4, which means it’s a 1-2 beer limit on this cruisers budget! We roamed around to a few places, but really liked Willy T’s because they have outdoor tables right on the main street (so it’s great people watching), there’s usually always a band/singer, and it’s really fun reading the messages on the dollar bills that absolutely cover every single inch of this place.
But, perhaps the best part of Key West, is the Dantoni family, who welcomed us in with open arms and have made us feel right at home immediately. My mom grew up with Gina and Skip, and their daughter, Lindsay (who also lives in KW), is a few years younger than us. I can’t tell you how great it is to have a small connection to home in a unfamiliar place.
We’ve already sort of established a mini routine and are meeting a lot of locals thanks to the Dantoni’s. We met up for trivia at Island Dogs last night, which might become a regular thing on Tuesdays. We came in 5 out of 8, so we didn’t suck too bad.
Perhaps the best/most bizarre thing about the Keys is all of the roosters running around. They’re everywhere. Cars were honking at them to get out of the way in the grocery store parking lot so they wouldn’t get run over. We heard it’s illegal to harm them…. guess they’re sacred like cows in India.
Who knows. I think it’s all the quirks about this place that make us love it so much. Looking forward to a crazy/fun month!