The drive in from Miami down through the keys was long and beautiful. Besides the gorgeous views, the highlights of the drive were a couple of fantastic and cheap cuban cafe con leches and our little drive through the key deer refuge area. Ben has called me “key deer” for most of our marriage. This came about after I told him about the little creatures and he doubted their existence thinking they were just another jackalope-type folkloric creature. We can both now fully attest that they are indeed real! Most we saw just looked like baby deer we see in our Austin neighborhood. However we were lucky to catch a glimpse of a tiny little buck with a large (for him) rack of antlers. Sadly, the kids were both napping during this sighting.
We eventually made it to Key West!
One of the first things we spotted was a coconut palm. A man on a bucket truck was working in the area and caught us admiring the palm. He cut a couple of down for the kids and even sliced the top of of one and provided a straw. We were all touched by his thoughtfulness. He was actually one of several interactions we had like this with the locals.
Violet enjoying fresh coconut milk.
From there we jumped aboard a trolly and took a tour of the island. Archer snoozed.
We got off the trolly and all (but Archer) enjoyed a slice of key lime pie.
Then we visited the lighthouse. Look really closely and you might be able to spot the kids at the top. Grandma and Ben escorted them to the top while Dad stayed with me, my nerves preventing me from climbing. The lighthouse didn’t exactly appear to be “built to code”. I was glad when everyone was safe and sound back on the ground.
Leaving the lighthouse Violet found what may or may not have been a six toed cat. The lighthouse is across from the Hemingway house, famous for the six toed cats that roam the premises.
When I think of Key West I think of this aquarium. It was probably my favorite experience of the whole trip. We got there right in time for almost a private tour of the facility. Violet and Archer got to feed sharks and fish Violet and Archer played for at least an hour in the touch tank, Archer finally braving picking up the sea urchins and Violet going back and forth from urchin to conch.
After the aquarium, Dad and I snuck around the back of a hotel to see the “pink” statues that our trolley tour guide had mentioned earlier in the day. Here are some non-pink statues that were also behind the hotel, and are safe to post.
Then we were all off to Mallory Square to watch the sunset. My favorite sighting here was the chickens roosting for the night. Violet loved watching for the wild chickens of the island. We learned they are the progeny of chickens freed years in the 70s from cock fighting circles. Violet would squawk at every chicken she saw.
On the way back to our condo that night we had front row seats to a car accident. A motorcycle driver leapt off his bike just in time to avoid the car that eventually ran over the bike, slamming into a taxi, which was carrying two old ladies. Dad jumped out of our car and served as a witness to the accident. The motorcycle guy was all smiles realizing how blessed he was to be well and whole. The poor old ladies seem to have gotten the worst of it but no ambulances were needed.
“Home” at last after a long day, both kids enjoyed the jaccuzi tub and then slept long and hard until morning. What a great first day in Key West!