The Florida Keys truly are a little portion of Paradise. Beautiful weather, friendly people and lots to do....or not dependent on you energy level :)
We left Boynton Beach on Tuesday and traversed some of the most incredible roadways you will ever see. 7 miles of bridge over the most beautiful waters imaginable. Running along side the bridge is the "old Bridge" which was built in the early 1900's as an "overseas" Railroad to the keys. It has not been used for years for travel, but is now used by thousands of walker, bikers and runners each year.
So amazing to realize the talent and mathematical genius it took to engineer such a feat...no computers or calculators just the human brain working its magic.
Once across the bridge there were 8 foot cyclone fences along the sides of the road. Along the swampy area to keep gators etc off the road..farther down to protect the deer. The Keys' deer on the endangered list. I was privileged to see one beside the fence. They look like a Montana fawn minus the spots. Amazed once more at the many species of wildlife we have to admire and appreciate from coast to coast.
The arrival at the motel, beautiful room, the blue water in an enticing pool was a welcome sight after a fun but exhausting day of travel. The speed limit and traffic makes for a long day. but alas it was dinner time and our stomachs were calling for food.
Let the adventure begin! We chose to take a bus rather that try to navigate through the city the first evening. It was a "Sit down, Hang on and Shut UP" kind of experience.The driver sped through the narrow streets with a honk and nary a brake. But the passengers on board kept the chance of being stressed at bay. When they learned we were new in the area and looking for dinner they took it upon themselves to make sure these two Vagabonds did not go hungry! Suggestions began coming from all over the bus...with the emphasis on where the best bar and cheapest beer was!!! We just kinda smiled and nodded until one fella turned to Jim and said "JUST FOLLOW ME." Now tell me, how do you argue with that??
So we did. We followed him off the bus and as we began to walk he turns and informs us "I can't walk very fast because I"m waiting for a heart transplant." At this point Jim and I look at each other, my giving him, complete control if CPR becomes a part of this journey! He took us down to the pier and the miles of bars and eateries.
We finally settled into a table at the "Turtle Kraals" It was happy hour so we bought a couple 'buckets' of ribs for dinner and they were YUMMY.
Walked the pier and did some "people watching" and then successfully found the bus stop. Rode "home" with a super young gal..living in the keys alone..and several older ladies down from the north soaking up some sunshine.
The king size bed just seemed to suck us in for a night of rest you only get on vacation. (Now shouldn't retirement be a CONSTANT vacation.) The next morning we awoke refreshed and a little more adventurous. We drove into town..found a parking spot [ a coveted find] on a side street and did some sightseeing on foot. Made our way through the crowd to get a picture of the Southern most spot in the US. Cuba 90 miles across the water
On up town checking out the shops, Lunch at 5 Guys, where we were the only ones to have our lunch delivered to the table. Made us wonder "did we look that old" or as I prefer "he was just a very nice young man". Then back to the hotel and pool full of blue wonder, where we relaxed and watched the local wildlife wander out to enjoy the fun. Iguanas and 'cow birds' were a reminder of how far we are from what we have known as home.
Evening found us at the bus stop making new friends from Sweden! They live in a tiny village of about 600 people where she teaches and he works in concrete. As we visited she shared that both of her parents had passed from Cancer. Their names will be on my 2014 walking shirt!!
Sunset in Mallory Square was our destination of choice, to view an incredible sunset. We followed the roar and became a part of the crowd gathering to watch the sun disappear into the ocean as the sailboats and ships seemed to float right through the golden glow. Another of those AWE moments. We have shared those
moments on both coasts now!
The afterglow followed us as we watched the performers and checked out the vendors on the square. A classic coastal dinner, more window shopping, a stop outside a bar to lean across the open wall to enjoy the incredible voice of the young entertainer and the an older couple sharing a dance. We left the music and fun to meet up with our Swedish friends for the bus ride "home", Mark it down as a wonderful day spent together!
Time seemed to fly and we were sad to once again pack the bags into the car. After a couple hours at the pool making another friend,adding another name to the shirt, one last walk on the beach we headed north.
We decided we could not pass up the opportunity of a lifetime. We made a stop at the 7 mile bridge to do a walk on the OLD 7. With more memories and stories to add to our retirement journal we headed back to our current "home" in Boynton Beach.