Hi again bloggies! As promised, back with more Key West pictures to brag about share! But first, how was your Saturday? Mine was good…I actually woke up at 7:30 this morning, my body still seems to be on East Coast time! I had a ton of groceries to buy as we haven’t picked any up for about 3 weeks (we were trying to clean out the fridge/freezer/pantry pre-vacation) so my first stop was Target. I picked up an iced coffee + blueberry muffin from ‘bucks for the road and then hit Whole Foods. I dropped all those goodies off with Chris and braved the horror that is Saturdays at Costco. I found some great goodies though! I promise to get back into the blog-documenting spirit tomorrow and take pics as we eat our way through today’s grocery trip 🙂
The rest of the day was spent putting away groceries, doing vacation laundry and then whipping up a feast of egg rolls and stir-fry for dinner. Mmm!!
Looking back over the last week, there were a ton of great things and a few not so great. Let’s get the nastiness out of the way first, shall we?
- First, we were delayed in Denver. We got onto the plane and thought we’d be taking off any minute, only to have the pilot come over the intercom saying there was a hydraulic issue. About 30 minutes later he came back on and said we were good to go. 5 minutes went by and he came back on saying it was a BIG problem and the mechanics were coming back…this went on for a while until they realized it was just issue #1 and then we were off…only about an hour behind schedule.
- In Miami, we were slightly disgusted to see we had to wait in the “basement” of the airport to catch our propeller plane down to Key West. This wouldn’t have been a problem if every flight leaving those few gates wasn’t delayed. It was hot, smelly and crowded! Right when we were supposed to board our plane the flight attendant announced we would not be boarding as the plane was stuck in the Bahamas and hadn’t even left yet! About an hour later the plane arrived and we were told we’d be boarding in about 15 minutes. Sure enough, after 15 minutes went by the intercom sounded again saying the flight crew had asked for their dinner break so we had to wait another 40 minutes while they stood in the terminal eating sandwiches/talking on their cell phones/bullsh*tting about video games with the Starbucks staff. About this time I broke down and got C and I some Starbucks of our own to hold us over til we made it to Key West as we’d exhausted our airplane snacks. We finally made it onto the plane about 2 hours late and sat on the runway for another 20 minutes or so while the pilots worked on some paperwork. I won’t name the airline but we won’t be flying their service again unless absolutely necessary. I totally see the flight crew needs a break at some point – but we heard them saying ours was their LAST flight of the night and the flight to the Keys is only about 40 minutes…so why on earth couldn’t they have waited!!! And, they all acted as if it was an inconvenience to fly us down there…blech!
- Two words – motion sickness 😦 I’ve had a few bouts with it in the past and apparently it’s coming around to stay in my “old age.” I nearly hurled on the trip out to the Dry Tortugas, it was bad. For about the last 30 or so minutes of the 2.5 hour trip I was breaking out in cold sweats and plotting how I’d jump over the non-English speaking tourists at our table and make a break for the back of the boat before exploding. Thankfully, I didn’t explode and was able to hold down my “continental breakfast” (see below). My second round of motion sickness was last night on the plane, there were thunderstorms all around Denver last night and we sure enough hit one as we were coming in for a landing. The last 30 or so minutes of the flight was terrible with up and down side to side bumping and circling waiting for a runway to open up. Again, I narrowly avoided disaster (and ironically enough, the person sitting next to us was a broken-English speaking tourist!)
- The “continental breakfast” on our trip to the Dry Tortugas was…donuts. That’s right. Donuts. And Sunny Delight. Um, really? I don’t like to throw $$ talk around the blog but we paid $145/person + a $5/person entrance fee to the national park. There were probably 50-60 people on our boat, all paying the same price give or take $20 depending on age. And you give us donuts?? We are talking 1 donut per person…for an all day excursion. Give.me.a.break!
Ok, those are all the bad things that really stand out…and now on to some good things!
- Our hotel. It was amazing! The staff was great and we barely made the 8pm check-in time (it was a B&B so we had to call the innkeeper to come back over from their private house if we missed the check in hours) and rather than rushing us through the check-in process the staff opened a bottle of complimentary champagne for us, showed us around the grounds and even told us to stop back by Sunday morning for a possible room upgrade as we were staying for almost 8 days (and we got an upgrade!!.). The hotel breakfast was simple but filling, the grounds were gorgeous and the pool was open 24 hours! The pool-side bar featured an ice chest/filtered water machine that were available 24 hours a day so that was great having fresh, cold water whenever we wanted without spending $$ on bottled water or using the filter we have from REI which is a bit on the slow side and only fits in one of our water bottles.
- Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas – such an amazing and beautiful national park. It is located about 2 hours west of Key West in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, miles and miles from anything. The Fort has been abandoned for years and is so interesting to walk around and see both the strength of the construction and the poor planning (i.e. hard to get supplies, very susceptible to hurricane damage, no fresh water on the island, etc) contrasting each other. And the views. Ah, I’m beside myself thinking back on them 🙂 We spent about an hour wandering around the fort and spent the rest of our day trip on the beach, it was perfect warm water and aside from a couple coral cuts we both got, a perfect day.
- Dramamine – not much to say, other than a $2 package purchased from one of the “mates” on our ferry totally kept me from yakking on the 2.5 hour trip back to Key West, even in 6 foot seas. Dramamine makes me really drowzy…not sure why, so I was so relaxed I didn’t even mind when the engine of the ferry started smoking and one of the mates was breaking out scuba gear to go check out the problem (apparently one of the people drinking on the back sundeck dropped a grocery bag in the ocean and it got sucked up into the propeller, or something). We did manage to break free which is good, we were in part of the ocean that’s about 30 feet deep at that point!
- Learning to swim!! I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on the blog or not, but I never learned to swim growing up. I took lessons one summer and remember the teacher saying I was pretty much hopeless because I couldn’t relax and trust that I wouldn’t sink…so I sank automatically. Something about the extra buoyancy from salt water and a little instruction from Chris helped and in our first 5 minutes in the water I was floating and soon had learned a couple simple strokes. I definitely won’t be completing a triathlon anytime soon but just knowing that I can swim, I just have to work at it, makes me feel amazing. I also have the best hubby in the world for being patient and hanging out in the shallow water with me 🙂 ❤
I could go on and on about the trip, but instead, I’ll let some pictures do the talking. Have a great night bloggies!
Standing in the chapel at Dry Tortugas
Some of the amazing scenery:
A few perfect beaches:
An amazing view:
Sightseeing with the Southernmost Husband (hahahaha):