We were supposed to set off at 8am this morning but last night we discovered that the air conditioning unit was leaking and Eddie had to spend hours trying to clear the overflow. This meant that no packing was done and it had to be done this morning. So it was 9am when we set off to Miami Beach to go and see Nick and Mandy for breakfast and to see their apartment. We didn't stay long and set off on the long trip down to Key West. I must have slept for about an hour which was all through the the suburbs of Miami waking up as we reached the first of the Keys.
I have been down to the Keys before but had forgotten how lovely it is and being a water baby I really enjoyed the scenery. The road is so straight with lots of bridges linking islands - the longest being 7 miles long. We saw some fairly large iguanas - about two foot long by the side of the road but Maggie said that she had seen Pelicans before but we didn't see any today.
We stopped at a Publix (supermarket) and bought scrummy subs which we ate in the car - it's too hot to picnic! The temperature driving down was about 31 degrees Celsius.
We arrived at Helen's Hideaway about 5.30pm and found a lovely little house tucked away off the road down a tiny lane. We have our own parking whIch is a bonus. The house has one bedroom in the main building with a nice bathroom which has a huge shower room! The other bedroom is across from the pool which Maggie and Eddie are using - Victoria has a sofa bed in the living room. We unpacked and jumped into the pool then barbecued by the light of a torch - we had left it rather late!
Up early then Richard, Victoria and I went off to find the Trolley Bus which is a hop on hop off bus. We did the whole tour which was about 90 minutes then R and I went for lunch and a wander round the harbour. No narrow boats in there just huge plastic ones all designed for fishing - marlin, tuna, swordfish, grouper and mani mahi. We wandered back to the house and swam before getting ready to go out for a meal and watch the sunset. We walked down Duval Street soaking in the atmosphere and on to Mallory Square. We chose to eat at separate restaurants as it is so hard for Maggie to find vegan food in America. We sat right on the water front and had a mediocre meal but watched the sun set behind a small island - a palm tree was sort of silhouetted in the sun. The sunset really was magical. We took a taxi home and sipped wine round the pool.
Another early start. R, V and I wandered down to the Southernmost Point on the USA where there were already queues of people waiting to have their photo taken next to the buoy - we didn't wait! It was then a stroll to see Ernest Hemmingway's house. I didn't know much about Hemmingway but he certainly sounds to have been a very interesting man who sadly took his own life at 61. He had four wives and loved his drink - he also was an ambulance driver in the WWI and a war correspondent in the WWII. His son Gregory was given a polydactyl cat called Snowy and he was to be the start of a long long dynasty of six toed cats - at present there are about 50. We had a brilliant guide called Chris who was so enthusiastic about Hemmingway that when he told us how Hemmingway had died he started to well up. We were just about to go into the Lighthouse when we saw M & E on their was to Kelly's Bar so we just had to join them! Two cocktails and some lunch later we walked up Duval Street, popping into shops to browse and get cool, to the Lighthouse. Some 88 steps later we were at the top with great views over Key West and there was a nice cool breeze. It was then back to the house and a nice cool swim. Sparkling wine round the pool was followed by another barbecue.