Jul 8, 2013

Cities- Key West, Home of the Sunset!


Key West Florida

Key West, FL is the southernmost key among the Florida Keys, it is also southernmost city of Continental USA just 90-miles away from Cuba! Original Spanish name of this beautiful place is Cayo Hueso which means Island of bones! Interesting huh? It seems the island was used as a burial ground by the Native Americans, bones were seen scattered around then! Now, it is a beautiful city with high density of tourists where you pay big amount for parking!

seven mile bridge Key West Florida
View from 7-mile Bridge

I was very much excited about the drive to Key West on that Overseas Highway. I started early in the morning from Florida City. With alligators from yesterday's Everglades NP kept roaming around in my mind, I was on the Overseas Highway. Overseas Highway is part (127-miles) of US Route-1 that takes us to Florida Keys. I was on the highway with my Sebring's roof open expecting the air to be warm! Yes it was for some time! As I moved away from the mainland towards those tiny keys, passing one by one it got extremely windy. I was amazed by the color of the ocean, do you see that? Lovely huh?

Key West Concrete Buoy
Concrete Buoy
Once I reached the place I looked for a budget motel. Am I kidding? Well, I wanted to camp  oceanside and so went directly to the popular campground run privately. It costed me $70 per night! With the night stay secured I went out venturing ... I was eager to roam aimlessly on Duval Street.

Duval Street is actually the downtown of Key West. This one mile long street runs from Gulf of Mexico to Atlantic Ocean. Lined with victorian style mansions this street was declared as a Great Street by American Planning Association (wiki).

After finding a parking place, $10 for 6 hours, I visited the Key West Butterfly Garden ($12 entry fee). I was surprised to see many species of butterflies in that not so big enclosed garden. The souvenir shop is dazzling though I spent only $3 for a keychain :) It was fun to wander around looking at those stunningly preserved victorian mansions. I walked down the street to southernmost house then a dock, near it was a small patch of sandy beach where every sand grain was occupied by tourists.

Key West Butterfly Garden
Then went looking for the famous concrete Buoy marking the southernmost tip of continental USA which wasn't far. It is most visited and photographed structure in the city. Not very far from the buoy is the Key West Lighthouse from where one could have a great view of the surroundings by paying $10 entry fee.

Soon I was back on the street again! I bought few post cards, other than that mostly did window shopping. I was hungry, I was skeptical to enter any of the bars or cheesy cafes. After too much of thinking over I entered Denny's for a Bocca burger and french fries! You can laugh at me as much you wish :) With newly gained energy I went around most of the busy streets there to see the popular mansions, cheesy cafes, bars and tacky shops. There are some art galleries too if you are an art lover.

Key West Lighthouse
Late afternoon, it was time for some cuban coffee! I looked for the popular shop Cuban Coffee Queen which was a bit of a walk from Duval Street. Ordered a Cafe Con Leche (Cuban expresso with hot milk) with Pan Cubano (toasted Cuban bread with butter). While leaving ordered another drink Bucci (strong expresso with cane sugar). It wasn't a great idea I realized later. So much of coffee I couldn't handle! Ahhh!

It was very interesting day for me. After a heavy dose of wildlife at Everglades I had spent the whole day in a city. It really was refreshing and funny to see interesting fellow humans :) Wouldn't it be a unfinished journey without tasting the popular Key lime pie! Well, it was tasty, sorry I do not have a picture :( By then it was sunset time and there were thousands of watchers! I returned to campground after watching the not so great sunset.

Now, I was in surprise about my own stupidity. I had planned to spend the night camping without realizing that I didn't have a tent! Ha ha ... But, then I saw most of the campers sitting inside the cars than out in the open. I got off the car and wow- experienced the cold, harsh wind. It was impossible to enjoy outdoors there. Fortunately, I had my down-sleeping-bag which kept me warm during that night. Million thanks to the birds who contributed to my sleeping bag! Though that caffeine kept me all night awake it kind of kept me warm!

Key West Seven mile bridge
From under the 7-mile Bridge
Early morning I ran to the concrete Buoy again to watch the beautiful sunrise. I had taken so many interesting pictures of the city. Unfortunately, I lost my p-o-s camera. In fact, it drowned in the Biscayne Bay. More about it later! 

In my opinion, the journey to Key West on that Overseas Highway was more exciting and beautiful than the city itself. And the journey further from it into the Gulf of Mexico to Dry Tortugas National Park was memorable! The turquoise water will never fade out from my memories.

Note: Other destinations in this road trip: Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne Underwater National Park, Sanibel Island.
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Related articles-
Butterflies of Florida
Bird and the sky from Biscayne
Jabalpur and Bedaghat
Dharmashala- Little Lhasa of India
National Parks of USA.

If you want pictures please ask me :)
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


22 comments:

  1. nice place and nice info...

    It resemblance with our Indira point in Andaman which is vanished by tsunami...

    thanks

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  2. Beautiful place. Does not look like it is a frequented place.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

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  3. The more I read your blog the more I realize how little I have seen:)

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    1. Thank you Bhatia Ji for your very kind words! And your Chutney post is really tasty :)

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  4. The view from under the bridge is magnificent. How did you like cuban coffee??

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    1. Thanks Anu! Coffee was very good, but I had too much of it! You know what it is- too much is ... :)

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  5. nice place; would love to see it someday.

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    1. Thanks May, I am sure you will enjoy this place and come up with at least 5-6 posts on it :)

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  6. I agree the drive there is the most incredible car journey I think I've taken. It's a great place to visit but like you I didn't quite expect all those crowds of people waiting for the sunset.

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    1. Yes, the city is called 'home of the sunset' and so people expect to see it- probably :) Thanks!

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  7. Wow, wonderful! well written article which presents the minute details about Journey. Nice post. most welcome on my blogs.

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    1. Thanks Erco-travels. Your blog has lots of info on India :)

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  8. Great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  9. Beautiful shots... I love the butterfly

    Mollyxxx

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    1. Thanks Molly! Yes, the butterfly garden is worth a visit.

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  10. I love Key West, it has so much flavor and live and let live attitude
    come and link up with us on Travel photo Mondays....

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    1. Yes, I agree. The city is very lively :)

      BTW, Thanks Noel! Will definitely link up to TPM!

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  11. That butterfly shot is gorgeous!

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