After a long weekend away and a couple of days of rest, we packed up again for Part Two of our vacation to spend a few gloriously relaxing days in one of my absolutely favorite places…Key West!
Key West and I go waaayyy back! As a kid, three or four times a year my mom would throw us in the car and head down the chain of Keys to Key West for long weekends. And years ago, in another lifetime before kids, as a CPA I used to head down to Key West annually for usually three-month periods to perform audits down there. I was always first in line with my hand raised and frantically waving “PICK ME” every year when it was time to do our annual Keys audits!
And even though I was working down there, far away from the crazy hustle and bustle, stiff suits and heels, and hour-long commutes of Miami, it still felt like I was on vacation!
Key West has a totally different atmosphere. Packed chock full of some seriously really weird people coupled with a “5’ o’clock somewhere” mentality….I think the locals are always on vacation too!
And while I know Key West like the back of my hand…I came to a startling realization that other than a brief afternoon stop on a cruise and a many scout camping trips in the middle Keys, my kids had never really experienced Key West. I felt I was sorely depriving them of this experience and decided to fix that this Spring Break.
I had made “reservations” a few weeks ago at my friend Irene’s Inn, better known to her as her tiny two-bedroom condo which suits a single person just fine. Of course we descended on her in a five-person frenzy…kids included! She was very gracious about it though…and didn’t even get grumpy with us! I made sure we brought our own food, fixed all meals for ourselves and for her, and didn’t stay long enough to wear out our welcome..so we only stayed two nights.
Since I had received my produce box on Tuesday and really had not had a chance to use much of it, we packed most of it into coolers and brought it down with us.
I also quickly threw together some wraps to eat on the way down so we wouldn’t have to stop…hummus, cukes, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions (all from the produce box) in a Flat-Out multigrain wrap. So filling. So YUM!
This was rounded out with unpictured organic apples, bananas, Stacy’s Pita Chips, and this Publix fruit and nut granola bar. I think everybody ate their way down to Key West!The drive down was its usual stunning sight. I love the bridges! With the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic on the other there is water, water everywhere!
I have always had particular fascination with the seven-mile bridge…literally seven miles over water. As a kid I always made sure my mom would wake me up when we got to it and never wanted to miss it! Now in my 40s I still eagerly look out for it!
To the right you will see the old, two-lane, scary, dilapidated bridge we used when I was a kid…it is now a fishing bridge.
Key West in all of its weirdness didn’t disappoint! As we turned down the street towards Irene’s house, we were greeted by this giant Easter Bunny waving at everybody passing by! By the time we got to Irene’s it was later than I expected and I wanted to make sure we got to see the Sunset Celebration down at Mallory Square.
Tourists gather on the pier to watch both the sun setting in all its spectacular glory…along with a whole bunch of street people performing different kinds of street theater…mostly juggling fire on ladders and other high things, along with some other stuff sprinkled in.
Friday night we saw….
This Silver Guy who stands like a statue:
This guy who has someone in the audience tie him up in a strait jacket and then wrap him in chains…and he unhooks his joints, bends his body in painful, odd-looking positions, and gets out! Then we found a Silver Girl..also standing like a statue! Next was a juggler guy on a bicycle balanced on a pole! In the background was a guy who walked a tightrope and juggled fire: A guy who was sort of a combo one-man band and Goodwill store. You had to see this to believe it:
A guy who just played the guitar and sang! Yep…no fire…no juggling…no trash..ummm..no teeth! But he did sing and play really well!!!
A different guy who had someone put him in a strait jacket and wrap him tightly in chains! Incredibly he got out in less than 2 minutes…
Which brings us to the main event of the evening (no, not the street performers…nature’s stunning show!)
Afterwards we saw two more shows before heading home for dinner!
This very very young (19? 20?) boy actually did a great job! He was humorous, fun to watch…and had some amazing strength and balance…sorry for the dark pictures. The sun had set and we couldn’t use flash or he might be flash blinded!
Then he switched ladders to a free-standing kind of ladder (I don’t know the technical name!) with no leaning thing! He climbed on this up into the air! And then juggled flaming batons on top! INCREDIBLE!
The last show had a guy and girl. They did quite a few things…among them he juggled flaming baton thingies..then breathed the flame and blew out fire! Can you see the fire in his mouth? This was seriously impressive in person!!! Then his girl climbed into this box and he put knives through it. It is after dark so it was hard to photograph…but if you look closely you can see her arm coming out on the left to show us she is okay…after all the knives are pushed down and coming out the bottom.
Everybody was invited to go up and see how she was contorted inside the box…but we realized our meter was up and so made a beeline back to our parking space before we got a ticket!FabPreteen was seriously disappointed! I promised her she could look in the box when we went back the next night…but they weren’t there!!! Of course I didn’t hear the end of it.
If you have a preteenage daughter you probably understand.
After a quick stop at Publix for some extra dinner supplies (FabHubs was going to make pizza) we went back to Irene’s for dinner.
Somehow with all my gabbing I forgot to take a picture of the gorgeous (and absolutely delicious) pizza FabHubs made for me! Yes he makes his crusts from scratch…and topped it with my favorites…ricotta, mozzarella, onion, pineapple, mushrooms, red pepper, and maybe more veggies but I cannot remember! Kids had cheese.
I never thought I could break everybody from the pepperoni habit but they seem perfectly happy without it! I am pleased!!!
I was starving…I had not had anything since the hummus wrap and granola bar on the way down (I can’t afford the snacking calories the rest of the family can!) so while FabHubs made dinner I made a nice salad for myself. I was in the mood for something crunchy on top, so stealing an idea from Pursuing Balance Meredith, I topped it with some crunchy, fruity granola, along with some balsamic! It was perfect! Next was bedtime! Kids were packed onto the floor and couch. Good thing they are campers and used to being in sleeping bags on little mats in tents…they adapted perfectly.
FabPreteen got the couch of course! She is not as adaptive as the boys are! After tucking everybody in…FabHubs and I went off to bed ourselves, pretty exhausted and ready to recharge for another day of sightseeing…
Check out more of our Spring Break 2010 Sites and Eats: