12 Hours in Key West

Here come some palm trees, key lime pie and gypsy chickens to brighten up this very gloomy Monday morning!  I can’t believe that this time last month (I’m pretty sure down to the day) I was wandering the streets of beautiful, balmy (and – let’s be totally honest here – a little bit barmy) Key West.  The southernmost city in the USA and the westernmost island of the Florida Keys, it really is a little world all on its own – a stepping stone between the star-spangled mainland and Cuba.  By day it’s a quaint island town full of clapboard houses with shady porches, lazy bars, bakeries and stray chickens… but by night?  As soon as that sun sets over Mallory Square, ANYTHING goes.  Sunny and I were there slap bang in the middle of Fantasy Fest (Key West’s annual 10 Day adults only extravaganza) and we saw… things.





Since we were staying on the middle keys (Islamorada and Marathon), we only had a day to explore Key West – which was more than enough because the island’s tiny and the city even smaller.  We had breakfast at a bar on Front Street, wandered around looking at the pretty houses on Emma and Fleming Streets, and then climbed the old lighthouse for a 360° view of the sea.



When the heat started to hit (it was close to 100 °F out of the shade of the palm and banyan trees) we hit up Ernest Hemingway’s House just off Whitehead Street.  The writer lived there in the thirties and descendants of his lucky polydactl (six-toed) cat Snow White still live there now and pretty much have the run of the house.  I think there are over fifty wandering around the house and gardens, snoozing on the bed and in the shade beside the massive (for Key West, anyway) swimming pool that Pauline Hemingway sneakily had fitted while Ernest was working as a correspondent during the Spanish Civil War.




When lunch swung around we ducked into Moondog Cafe for some fresh limeade and (finally!) some real, homemade Key Lime Pie.  I say “real” because true Key Lime Pie has to be made from Swingle Limes, which are smaller than regular limes with a slightly different flavour and a yellow juice.  Apparently it was first whipped up by the cook of Key West’s first millionaire – but the recipe might have come from local sponge fishermen who took canned milk, limes and eggs out onto their boats.  🙂


We finished the day off on Mallory Square where everyone gathers on the dock to watch the sun set over the water.

Have a lovely week everyone! 💚

 

A Day Exploring Capilano and Grouse Mountain

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I thought I’d posted everything from my little trip to Canada back in July, but turns out I had one post left – and here it is.  Officially, Sunny and I spent two whole days in Vancouver before heading off on our road trip towards Jasper and Banff – but because we stomped the city in one day and saw pretty much everything we wanted to see, we decided to spend the second day out of the city in North Vancouver exploring Capilano  Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain. 🙂

Capilano is only around 20 minutes north from downtown Vancouver – and basically reminded me of the evergreen forest from that old 80s cartoon, The Raccoons (Did anyone else watch that!?  I kept singing the theme song to Sunny when we were there and he was clueless!).  It’s a beautiful forest stretched across the Capilano River, which you can cross by walking over a 70 metre high suspesion bridge (which definitely has a wobble to it!).  There’s actually a free shuttle from downtown Vancouver (it leaves from just outside the cruise ship terminal) that runs all the way to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and onwards to the Grouse Mountain Cable Car, and then back again – so getting there was really easy (and free!).





Once we’d explored Capilano, we headed further up the mountain and caught the cable car up to Grouse Mountain – which is winter sports central during the winter, but during the summer is the place to go for amazing views of Vancouver and to get up close and personal with a couple of grizzly bears (safely!).  On the summit there’s a cafe and during the summer there’s a programme of activites – like talks on birds of prey spotted around the summit, and watching loggers do their thing.  You can actually get on the chair lift and go even higher if you’re not scared of heights!






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