Posts tagged Key West
JJ and I spent most of our time in Key West relaxing. We were in no rush to get out and do much. After being on a schedule in Orlando at Disney World, it was nice to just go with the flow. We spent a lot of time on Duval Street and wasted away the evenings watching the sunset and drinking mojitos.
On the third day there were two of these huge cruise ships harbored outside of Mallory Square. It completely blocked the sunset, and there were tons of angry tourists that could not see the sunset. Luckily, we were able to enjoy it on our first two evenings.
We didn’t have a bad meal in Key West and although most of the meals were somewhat expensive, all were delicious.
According to our trolley driver, this is the most stolen sign in America.
There are chickens and roosters running all over Key West. The original population of birds came from Cuba. At one time cock fighting was huge on the island. The cock fighters got enraged when legislation was passed to outlaw cockfighting so they let all of their birds loose. The birds have roamed free ever since.
90 miles to Cuba but the line for the southernmost point was huge. We didn’t need a photo of us that bad.
Our visit to the Conch Republic was great. It was a wonderful opportunity to relax and see a part of the state that neither JJ or I had ever seen. I look forward to going back when the weather is warmer and getting into the water. I really would like to do some snorkeling and kayaking. We made the drive back to Mississippi in one day. It was over a 1000 miles and was quite the beast to do in one day. I still enjoyed driving instead of flying and will probably do it again when we go back. The vacation did lead us to the possibility of doing our PhD programs in South Florida. The University of South Florida was already on our list of possibilities, but after spending some time in South Florida, it moved up a couple of spots.
On our second day in Key West, we walked around the corner to the Hemingway house. Ernest Hemingway had lived in Key West and wrote A Farewell To Arms while living here. Upon paying the $12 to get in, we immediately noticed all the cats that we were told would be there. About half of the cats are polydactyl which means they have an extra toe. Hemingway was given a cat with the extra toes by a ship captain and many of the cats on the property are direct descendants of that original gifted cat. They have 45 cats on the property, and we saw many of them. They were friendly for the most part but have grown bored by all the tourists, I believe. They had free run throughout the property and the house as you can see in the below photos. All the cats have names and are well taken care of. If you want to find out more, check out the Hemingway House’s webpage here. We stayed on the grounds for a couple of hours and caught bits of pieces of the tours that were given throughout our time on the property. There were definitely some interesting stories being told.
Hemingway’s Wife at that time replaced his boxing ring with a pool while Hemingway was covering the Spanish Civil War. Don’t feel too bad for him, he took his mistress to cover the war with him and while he was gone, his wife decided to spend $20,000 on the pool. This was a little bit more than Papa Hemingway had wanted her to spend. After seeing the pool, Hemingway threw a penny into the pool telling his wife that she was going to take his last penny. That penny was taken out of the pool by the wife and cast into the cement walkway near the pool house.
Hemingway took this urinal when they were doing renovations at his favorite watering hole, Sloppy Joes. His wife at the time added the Spanish tile and turned it into a watering hole for the family cats.
JJ and I really could have stayed at the house longer. There were tables set up through out the garden where you could take a rest and just watch the cats. The house can be toured rather quickly but I suggest taking your time to stroll the gardens and spend some time just soaking in the atmosphere. If you ever find yourself in Key West, a stop by the Hemingway house is a must.
I have been fascinated with Key West for years. I have thought about Key West often as Jimmy Buffett is usually in my CD player or on my MP3. I actually drug out an old journal to read what I wrote. I actually had plans to leave Yellowstone and go to Key West when I finished my contract in the park. Well, that was not in the cards, but I never stopped wanting to visit the island and after our short visit, I am eager to return during warmer weather and to get out on the water. It took us eight hours of rainy driving to get to the Keys from Orlando. The views on the way down would have been great had the weather been better. After we left the mainland, the water turned to the most green that I have ever seen. It was almost eerie. It took us about 3 and half hours to drive from the mainland to Key West. We went through a bunch of keys and wished that the weather was better so that we could have stopped more often. We finally got to Key West and were thrilled with our hotel. We stayed at the Truman Hotel in Old Town Key West on Truman Street, and it was extremely convenient to all the sights in Key West. The hotel also has been renovated and would have had a great scene if it would have been more crowded.
When we got to Key West, the weather had cleared and we quickly unpacked and made our way to Mallory Square for the Sunset Celebration that is held every evening. Words can not describe how great it was. Not only was everyone waiting for the sunset but there were street performers, bars, hobos, musicians, and tourists all around. Check out the photos of the sunset.
After watching the sunset, we walked down Duval and stopped in a few bars, and then had a great meal. I had grilled Key West Shrimp, and JJ had a seafood quiche. We also had a batch of conch fritters. I don’t believe that we had a bad meal the whole time we were in Key West.
Duval street was very simliar to Bourbon street. There were a bunch of different kinds of bars including a few drag bars, very simliar to New Orleans. I had always heard that there was a large gay population in Key West, but it really was no different from New Orleans. We walked up and down the street a few times, and then went back to our hotel and enjoyed a few drinks out by the pool.
After the drive and the first sunset, JJ and I both regretted not booking more time in the Keys. In fact, I am already planning my next trip down there. My brother and I both want to do some backcountry kayaking.
The next couple of days were filled with sightseeing, drinking, and relaxing. We also learned a lot about Key West while during a few tours. There was no need for a car and we walked our took the trolley everywhere we needed to go, but more on that later.
Road Trip Day 5 & 6 coming soon.
The fall term is over. It was an incredible feeling to see this:
Went to JJ’s Math Christmas party last night. I probably had the lowest IQ around but still had a fun time, and the people were really nice. JJ had the chance to introduce me to a few of her professors, and a couple of them went on and told her that she got an A in their classes, so that made for a nice night. We went grabbed a few drinks with some of her fellow Math grad students after the department party. I stayed up to about 4 last night just because I could. It seems like the last two days were the first time that I have been able to rest or do anything non-school related without feeling guilty.
I am still waiting for my grades to roll in. I feel like I did pretty well, but have a couple of classes that required a major project as the major portion of the grade and that worries be slightly. Grades have to be in on Monday, and I will be able to check them online on Wednesday.
Speaking of vacation.
We leave on Tuesday for a week in south Florida. The plan is to stay in Orlando for around four days and then head down to the Keys. We are staying in Key West but will probably venture north a couple of days. I am hoping to get in some kayaking and have already contacted a couple of charter services. I am mainly looking forward to relaxing by the pool, getting some reading done, and not thinking about school, research, or work. I started reading Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway last night since we will be visiting his Key West home next week and am in the process of creating an ultimate island CD full of great tunes for our trip. The next few days will be spent prepping for the trip and hoping that my sister has her baby soon. She was due to be induced on Tuesday of last week, but the doctor delayed her inducement until this Tuesday. That doesn’t exactly fit our schedule since we will be on the road Tuesday morning but we will be back soon enough.
Went out tonight and picked up a bunch of light reading for the trip. I ended up grabbing:
Wicked- Gregory Maguire
When You are Engulfed in Flames and Me Talk Pretty One Day both by David Sedaris
The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell
I hope to get a lot of reading done over the break and will probably end up making more trips to the bookstore and the library. There are tons of books that I wanted to read over the last few months and haven’t had the time. Hopefully, I can knock down that list quite a bit over the break.
JJ and I have both been ready to get out of Hattiesburg! Our wanderlust just doesn’t seem to want to die down. We will come back a day or two before Christmas to celebrate with my immediate family, and then we will be hitting the road once again. We have promised my grandparents that we will come back to Kentucky for a visit. We last saw them on quick trip this past summer, and we are both excited about getting to spend some time with them!
Look For The Next Update From Disney World Soon!