Just Another Day in Paradise

Trip Start Jan 22, 2013
Trip End Jan 29, 2013

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What I did
Hemingway House, Key West Cemetary, Higgs Beach

Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, January 25, 2013

Here's the only problem with the El Patio Motel.  They do not have coffee makers in the rooms, nor do they have coffee available in the lobby.  So naturally, we bounded out of bed this morning, threw on some clothes and almost ran to Ana's Cuban Cafe and Grocery Store.  This is a charming little place about two blocks from our hotel.  I had a Cafe con Leche (which is fabulous, BTW) and Dan had a regular coffee.  We sat down for a few minutes to get a start on our caffeine fix, and then started walking toward the beach.

There are huge, luxury resorts just to the east of us.  Those resorts have bought rights to the beach front, so there is very little public beach in this area.  We did find a beautiful beach though, about 6 blocks to the north.  It's called Higgs Beach, and it has a  bouyed off area for swimming and where someone can rent chase lounges and umbrellas for $20.00 per day.

We debated about whether or not to go back to the hotel and get our bathing suits and spend the day at the beach, or to go over to the Hemingway House.  Hemingway House won, and we walked back toward downtown to see it.  Costs $13 apiece to get in, but it's worth every cent.  The house was built in the  1850s and has had some minor updating.  The decorating is in the period of the early 1930s when Hemingway lived there.  According to the tour guide, most of his best sellers were written in his studio in the back yard of the house.  The studio is still the same as it was and is pretty thrilling.

But, being cat lovers, the best thing about the Hemingway House are the cats.  There are mellow cats everywhere.  They all have 6 toes and huge feet.  There's a sign when you first go in, saying "Please don't pick up the cats," but they like pets and don't shy away from anybody, even children.  They come in all sizes and colors.  We saw them laying on the antique furniture, Hemingway's bed, in the book store,and on the front walk, drinking out of the fountain and so on. Pics on earlier post. 

After Hemingway House, we were hungry and thirsty so we walked over to Duval Street.  Found a place called WillieT's and went in.  WillieT's is actually an outdoor cafe.  There are sails stretched out over the patio so you can sit outside and be out of the sun.  The weather, of course, is incredible (mid 80's) again today

Had some drinks and shared a salad then decided to go to the Key West Cemetary.  There are 75,000 people buried there, and a big memorial to the Battleship Maine.  Supposedly there are grave markers that have really unusual sayings on them, including "I told you I was sick" and "At least I know where he's sleeping tonight."  With 75,000 graves, we didn't see those two, but there are some old graves there. Also, the Remember the Maine memorial is very nice.

By this time, it had been a pretty long day.  We came back to the El Patio to rest.  I put on my bathing suit and went up to the rooftop deck to get some sun.  This is a really nice area on top of one corner of the building. You reach it by climbing another circular staircase.  There are lounge chairs, tables and chairs, etc. up there.  I laid out for about an hour, while Dan made friends with a bunch of young guys from Fort Lauderdale.  They were in the mid-twenties and were down here for a bachelor party.

I came downstairs to take a nap, and Dan hung out with them for several hours. They were very nice and made him one of the boys!

But, by this time, it was dinnertime and we needed to figure out what we wanted to eat.  I found a Cuban restaurat called El Siboney, which was only about three blocks from the hotel and was very highly rated.  We walked over and knew it must be good from the crowd waiting to get in.

We only had to wait about 15 minutes, and then were seated. I had planned to have the chicken and yellow rice special, but they were out of it.  So we both  had cubed pork with yellow rice, black beans, plantains and Cuban bread.  Really, really good!  After dinner I had Cafe con Leche and rice putting.  Yum!

We're back at the hotel, and getting ready for bed.  Tomorrow we are changing hotels and moving to a place right on Duval street.  Can't wait to see what it's like!
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Cliff on

Hi guys. Lovely to hear all about your Key West adventures........one of my favourites places in Florida undoubtedly! Take care, happy travels and God speed.

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