Friday, December 28, 2012

One Human Family: Day 3

December 20, 2012: Key West, FL
On Thursday morning, after sleeping for another ten hours, we stumbled out of bed and into the sun for a New York tradition: coffee and a bagel.  We took a nice walk over to the Cuban Coffee Queen for a morning treat.  I ordered a re-hydrator smoothie, which was delicious, and Roger enjoyed a coffee as we split a "Cuban bagel," which was billed as "an everything bagel, toasted with cream cheese."  I eat a lot of bagels, and this was not exactly what I was expecting.  It had two holes instead of one (better for sharing!), and was sort of rectangular shape.  Oh, and it appeared to be pressed on a grill and covered in honey.  Very good, but definitely unexpected!

 As we walked through Key West, we saw some interesting sites, including chickens and a Christmas tree made out of lobster traps.  One thing we did not see, and wouldn't see until we left Key West, was the bike/jogging path that everyone told us existed along the water.  Several times we tried to find it, with no luck.  So, we mostly kept to the street while we were walking around, and it wasn't too bad.  I had hoped to run around the island a bit while we were there and take advantage of warmer temperatures, but a bad cold attacked me the weekend before we left, and even on antibiotics, too much physical exertion left me hacking.  So, we were limited to walks and a bit of easy swimming to burn off the calories from all the delicious food we enjoyed.

We walked over to the Hemingway House next.  I'd seen the outside when my family's cruise stopped in Key West in 2002, but I was so excited to see the inside during this trip, and it did not disappoint!  The house is absolutely beautiful, and Loren Case, our tour guide, was phenomenal.  Funny and informative, he really let us know a lot about the history of the home and gave us a few good stories about Hemingway and his second wife.  While we wandered around the grounds, Roger and I talked about everything Case did right, because Roger's been asked to give several museum tours as part of his job and school.  Seeing someone so great in action was really inspiring.  And, of course, being at the house was inspiring for me as a writer.  Roger and I agreed that one thing we're looking for in a future house is a bit of studio space.  Hemingway's studio, above a carriage house, was filled with books and animal trophies, and it was just gorgeous.  No wonder he wrote eight of his novels there!

From there, we headed to the Southernmost Point in the USA, and decided that instead of waiting on the insanely long line to take a picture in front of it, we would just sit behind it and watch the water for a bit.  We returned to the hotel and read on the beach for a bit, before partaking in their "beer school."  Mostly, it was tastings of the beers they had on tap at their bar, along with trivia questions.  (Getting one of the questions right meant that you had to slam your beer tasting glass, and they'd pour you a second round.  Clearly this was not for the faint of heart, although I did get two correct answers, and then gave Roger one of the right ones on an IPA.  I don't love IPAs.)

Really, this should have been enough drinking for me, but after several glasses of beer, we received our "diplomas" and headed to the bar for happy hour, where I enjoyed a rum runner.  Then, we headed to yet another bar, Kelly's, for their happy hour.  Kelly's is the only brewery in the Florida Keys, so it was fun to stop by for a bit.  I wasn't in love with their Havana Red Ale, but they did have really delicious wings.  We stumbled our way over to our "fancy dinner," at Cafe Sole, where we polished off a bottle of wine (free with a coupon from our concierge).  I have to say, I wasn't impressed with the dinner.  At about $30 an entree, we were really expecting some delicious seafood.  What we had was good, but not amazing, and weirdly enough, every entree had the same side-dishes, so it felt as if they weren't putting in any real effort.  It's rated as the second-best restaurant in town, but I'd say there are plenty of other places you could spend less money for a better meal.  And, after all that drinking, we ended up hailing one of the few cabs in Key West for the ten block trip back to the hotel.  I promptly passed out on the bed at 9pm, because I, folks, am what they call a champion.

Next up: the best meal of our trip (Garbo's Grill!) and Mallory Square.

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