Trip Start Sep 07, 2009
39Trip End Nov 17, 2009
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The train journey was much better than the last and we even managed to catch up on some sleep. It makes all the difference travelling by train during the day. We spent hours just looking out of the window. We travelled down through Georgia and into Florida. The countryside was quite tropical with lots of lush vegetation. The landscape is quite swampy too and we were hoping to catch a glimpse of an alligator or two, but no luck. The towns we went through (places like Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach) looked quite ugly from the train, although I'm sure they have a beautiful side too! After just over 12hrs we reached our destination - Miami. Again there were plenty of cabs and the driver we had was really friendly and gave us some tips for our drive down to the Keys next week
We pulled up at our hotel, The Park Central, on Ocean Drive and were hit with the full force of Miami Beach - beautiful art deco buildings all lit up, music blaring and, of course, 90 degree heat! The hotel is great, with a swimming pool and rooftop sun deck. We also get free sunbeds and towels for the beach...result! After the long journey, we grabbed a quick bite to eat on the strip and headed back to the hotel to put our feet up.
23/09/2009 - Had breakfast at the hotel cafe and got well and truly ripped off - $40 - our daily budget almost gone before 11am. We decided not to eat there again and bought some cereal and yogurt to eat in our room for the rest of stay!
We desperately needed to do some laundry, so we lugged our bags to a laundromat on Washington Avenue. Whilst waiting for the washing we walked back one block to Collins Avenue, where all the shops are, to pick up some more appropriate clothing for the climate! After a cheap lunch, we decided to hit the famous South Beach opposite our hotel. It was just what we expected; mile upon mile of golden sand (albeit manmade!). As it's the height of summer, the beach was not too crowded (the busy season is from December to April) and was just so relaxing. The sea was warm, but quite choppy.
After a few hours, we went back to the hotel to clean-up and go out for dinner. We walked 10 or so blocks up Ocean Drive and passed the Versace Villa where Gianni Versace was tragically shot and killed in 1997. It's now a glam club and hotel (rooms around $2000 a night!)
24/09/2009 - Had our cheap breakfast in our room and then hit the beach. Late afternoon, we returned back to our hotel and had a quick dip in the hotel pool. We're going up to the rooftop sundeck tonight for an outdoor movie show (Juno we think) with free drinks and popcorn. We have had a couple of perfect days and we both feel really relaxed and rested. So long as the weather doesn't turn (it is hurricane season!) we will be very, very happy here....