Roadtrip adventures in chilly Florida
Today me and Louise landed in Guatemala city. We will take a bus to Copan ruinas in Honduras tomorrow morning. Tonight we are relaxing in a small friendly hostel with not much action, thus a good opportunity for me to sum up our 10 days holiday in Florida.
So, let’s talk about Florida and our little road-trip that started with poring rain. After having spent one night at a dodgy airport hotel in Miami we picked up our car and set of to Key West. By the time we arrived in this picturesque Caribbean island the rain was poring down so heavily we couldn´t see anything in front of us. Everyone we met said it had been great for weeks until we came. No famous sunset for us.
When we drove back to the mainland the next day it cleared up. But once we hit Fort Lauderdale, our next stop on this trip, the rain had caught up with us. Despite this we had two great days with my old classmate Jenny that lives in Florida since many years back. Our days were filled with shopping and at night Jenny prepared great food for us (she is a chef) and invited her nice friends over. Her two beautiful dogs Emma and Lily made our stay at Jenny´s even more memorable.
Once again we hit the road. After having me as a driver for 1 1/2 hour in the Keys Louise kindly offered to take the chauffeur role alone. After all she like driving and is good at it too 🙂 Thank´s Louise for bringing me safely around Florida! We spent 2 nights in Orlando. The decision was a visit to Universal Studios but even though we had fun I think our expectations were just a bit too high and we found the great outlet stores in the Orlando area a bigger thrill than Universals.
The following day I convinced Louise to get up really early to fulfill one of my highlights on this trip – to swim with a manatee in Crystal River. We had not pre-booked and nearly missed this adventure. I was so relieved that we could get on the tour that I started to cry. After an hour in the cold river I finally got to experience what I had been waiting for. One of the three manatees that were around slowly swam up to me, looked me in the eyes and then turned around to show he wanted me to pad his tummy. This is the kind of moment that I will never forget. Unfortunately I have no pictures of those creatures but here is a link to some information about them.
It was then time to keep on driving south towards Sarasota. We wanted to stop by in St Petersburg for a visit to the big Salvador Dali museum there, but time ran out. Exhausted (especially the driver) we finally got our treat. The nice and comfy Days Inn with walking distance (= beer time) to our favorite food chain the Applebees). We slept like babies in a huge room with one double bed each, hot tub in the garden and our bellies filled with yummy Applebees goodies. The bad weather kept following us. We did have a bit of sun in Sarasota but only 14 degrees…brrr. Even so we enjoyed a walk on the magnificent Siesta Key Beach and a sunset walk by the harbor.
After two nights in Sarasota we drove through Everglades towards our end destination Miami. We saw two pairs of alligator eyes from a distance. We were told it was too cold for them to come up and sun bade them self. The tour on the air speed boat was lots of fun though not that environmental friendly. After the tour we saw one more gator passing by.
Back in Miami we left the car at the airport and transported us by cab to South Beach. Exhausted as we were we longed for a nice bed. But since we got the dormitory next to the party-lobby we thought we might as well join in. The receptionist convinced us to come along to the famous Nikki Beach. So a quick shower and a pizza slice around the corner and we were ready for the rich and beautiful. We must have been exotic in our fleece and sneakers because we were approached a couple of times that evening. One invite was to come along on a private yacht but we did not have time for that…what a pity 😉
We spent one full day strolling around Miami Beach and one full day on a combined city and boat tour to get a better overview over Miami. Still no beach temperature but the sun was out and Miami sure made a good impression on us. Looking back it has been 10 fun and interesting days. Eating and hotels were surprisingly cheap. In Miami we stayed in a hostel but in Sarasota we had a nice hotel for the same price. My best memories are swimming with Manatees, staying at my friend Jenny’s place, beach walk and spending two nights at “Days Inn”, in Sarasota. And ofcourse Miami in its whole, great place!
Posted on February 16, 2012, in United States and tagged Backpacking, beaches, Florida, Manatees, Miami, Orlando, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Roadtrip, Sarasota, Travel, USA. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.