Good Morning Key West.
We enjoyed breakfast outside at a table on the deck as the ship pulled into Key West. The Sea Gulls are not shy at all. If you have any kind of bird phobia I recommend you stay inside to eat. The birds practically stalked their breakfast walking right down the railing to eye the food on everyone’s plates.
When anyone got up to leave they swooped right down to the table and began picking scraps from the plates. Shooing them away only brought a moment’s respite before they were back again.
The ship docked just outside of Mallory Square, the gathering place for all Key West.
It was so early when we headed out that attractions, like the Key West aquarium, were still closed.
Some of the tourist / souvenir shops were just opening up. They probably wanted to take advantage of the hoards of tourist just waiting to come ashore and spend their money.
Even I, who was watching every penny this trip, succumbed to the urge to buy. I picked up a navy blue sarong with a dolphin pattern to wear as a shawl to dinner. It gets quite cool in the dining room.
Joe and I wandered down Duval St where I took the mandatory picture of Earnest Hemingway’s hideout…Sloppy Joe’s.
We peeked in at the lighthouse grounds where life sized statues straight from Renoir paintings danced around the court yard.
It was clear to see that Key West still had a love affair going with the chickens.
They run wild in the streets and are tolerated everywhere. Roosters crow all day, not just at dawn.
Outside of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church we spotted a couple of baby chicks.
The other creatures that Key West is known for are the Hemmingway cats. Descended from a polydactyl cat owned by Earnest Hemmingway there are now dozens of cats that make the Hemingway house home.
As any good cat lady will do, I went to visit the cats but admission was cash only and since the boat is a Cashless Experience, I wasn’t carrying any cash. Joe didn’t have any either. We hung around outside and chatted with one of the street vendors for awhile before heading back to Mallory Square.
Mallory Square is the heart and soul of Key West. During the day it’s a just a pier where locals come to fish or paint or just sit and watch the waves but come evening the crowds will gather to watch the sun set into the ocean and the square will be alive with street entertainment.
Mallory Square gave me a great view of the ship too. The size of the Imagination is amazing.
While I was photographing the ship a couple of hungry pelicans swooped in to see what they could fine for lunch. They zoned in on a young boy’s fish catch going so far as to steal a fish right off the line as he tried to reel it in.
We were looking for a place for Joe to get a signature dish of Key West and I don’t mean Conch Fritters. No he wanted the original Key Lime pie. Although we wandered quite a few streets he couldn’t find the shop he was looking for. It’s been a long time…13 years…so who knows if it’s even still around. Finally as we were heading back to the ship he settled on Key Lime on a stick, an ice cream version.
Some things have changed from the Key West I remember. It is even more touristy than I remember. Back in 2000 they had 1 trolley line
and the little Conch train for sight seeing
and the Bone Island bus line for getting around the island. Now there are 2 trolley lines and a duck tour all added to the mix. The shop owners don’t just wait for you to wander in. No, now many of them “hawk” their wares as you walk by the shops.
The presidential palace, a summer home for several past presidents, is still a great place to tour but we were told that the Fisher Museum of salvaged shipwreck treasure had relocated.
We didn’t have time to make it to Smather’s Beach or the monument at the Southern Most Point but we did spot mile marker 0 for the end of Route 1.
And speaking of Route 1, we stopped for a breather across from the Green Parrot which claims the be the last and first bar and grill on Route 1. Joe could get a wifi signal there so he could check his e-mails. It’s harder being “unplugged” than expected.
The weather stayed nice for our meanderings in Key West but it was soon time to head back to the Ship. The ship would be casting off to begin it’s cruise to Cozumel, Mexico and we didn’t want to be left behind.