Everglades Part 1

Wops, I completely forgot to post our pictures from the Everglades a couple weeks back. I only posted a quick picture of my and Andy holding a baby alligator. You see, after about 6 hours of being outside and another 4 hours of driving I was completely exhausted when we finally got to our hotel in Florida City. We just grabbed a late dinner at Applebee’s and went to sleep. That’s actually how a lot of our vacation days went – I’m surprised that I managed to update my blog as much as I did. I must really love you guys!

I think we left Miami a little before 11 and got to Everglades (the city) almost 2.5 hours later. We were delayed by a lot of roadwork and a stop for coffee. Coffee was a necessity every morning, since we were lucky if we got 7 hours of sleep a night. So I spent half of our trip trying to wake up and the other half staring excitedly out of the window. The view was just amazing! In certain places it even looked just like an African Savannah.

The first thing on our agenda was going on an airboat ride, and we ended up going with Jungle Erv’s. The tickets included an alligator boardwalk, while the actual ride was about 2 hours later. So we had plenty of time for the boardwalk and dinner at a cute local seafood restaurant.
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This little cutie was talking and waving to everyone walking by him.
Parrot in the Everglades
And then it was time for us to get to hold an alligator ourselves. I was a little nervous, but he was sitting completely still the whole time. And I was surprised at how soft his skin actually was.
Me holding an alligator
baby alligator
There was also a manatee lookout spot, but we weren’t lucky enough to see one.
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Most of the alligators we saw were actually wild ones. They had build spots along the river where they could climb up and lay in the sun. And this giant didn’t even move an eyelid while we were standing there watching him. I just wish I was half as calm as an alligator, because they can lay perfectly still for hours.
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Travel Observations

Just a few random observations/discoveries I made while we were on spring break that I had to get off my chest. Because the beauty of seeing new places is that they are different from what you’re used to.
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– There was A LOT of plastic surgery going on in Miami. I swear I even saw butt implants…

– You hear roosters everywhere you are in Key West. Be careful not to step on them.

– We saw (and heard) wild parrots in Fort Lauderdale.

– People practically hunt you down with offers and free drinks to get you to eat at their restaurants in South Beach. So you might as well take advantage of it (once you’ve seen them all).

– The Everglades looked like an African savannah in several places.

– There were a lot of people from Scandinavia in the Everglades. I even talked to a Danish couple.

– Just about every airboat service claimed to be “the original”.

– Thin high heels are a really bad idea when walking on docks.

– Running along the beach in the dark while tipsy is a lot of fun.

– It is windy EVERYWHERE in Florida. Where we went anyway. Bring a hair tie.

– People eat fried key lime pie. Seriously?!

– Very cheap hotels might have bed bugs. Check your mattress! We luckily got a new room.

– You can apparently drink in public in South Beach and Key West? At least people did. I just though that was a Vegas thing. Not that I’m complaining.

– Drawbridges are fun the first time. Then they get old fast.

– I hate toll roads…

– Jamaican style chicken is delicious! We had it at two different places, and they were both excellent.

– Eat at the local places. The food is new and exciting, and the service is way better.

– The sand in Miami is fine as sand while in the Keys it’s a lot more gritty.
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Our Day in Key West

We’re now 2 hours into our 9 hour drive back to Athens. And, strangely enough, this drive isn’t half as much fun as our drive here was, although I am really looking forward to be home by now. But, while we’re listening to the same CDs over and over again, you can enjoy some of our pictures from Key West.

We left Marathon early and got there before 12 o’clock. And even though check-in wasn’t until 3 we were lucky to get a room right away. It was on the second floor, with a balcony, and I absolutely loved the bed. Isn’t it cute? We’ve actually been really lucky with our rooms, except for one crappy room at a cheap hotel.
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After unpacking we went sightseeing downtown and ended up at the southernmost point of the US. There was a guide there who said that at that point we were closer to Cuba (90 miles) than to a Walmart, haha. There was a long line for pictures so I didn’t bother taking one with the marker.
US Southernmost Point
Oh, and did you know that there are roosters running wild just about everywhere in Key West? It took a bit getting used to, and you had to be careful while driving. (You can read about it here, it’s a fun article.)
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Then we grabbed ourselves a refreshing coconut drink and kept on walking until our feet were hurting and it was time to head back to the hotel. We saw Earnest Hemmingway’s home, but we didn’t stay for a tour.
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At 6 o’clock we went on a two hour sunset cruise which was a lot of fun (but very windy). We paid for dinner and unlimited drinks were included. Needless to say we where in a pretty great mood when we got back to land. We met several people who knew more about the Keys than us, and a lot of others who were only there for the drinks. Believe me, it’s pretty fun to see drunk people trying to walk straight on a moving boat.
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A Relaxing Weekend in Melbourne

After a week of “intense traveling”, where we changed hotels every day and hardly had a minute to waste, we were finally back in Melbourne on Thursday night. We decided that we would spend the last weekend relaxing by the pool so that we wouldn’t get back to Athens more stressed out than when we went on vacation. Don’t get me wrong, though! We had an amazing time, but six hours of sleep every night was starting to get to us.

So yesterday was my first day of doing absolutely nothing. After a morning trip to Starbucks I put on a bikini and lay by the pool catching up on blogs I hadn’t read in a week. But, when I finally had the time to relax, I started getting antsy and could hardly make myself sit still. And it didn’t help that the old man tanning next to me made me feel under-dressed by showing up in dress pants, a sweater, and a hat. I get it, you planned your outfit way better than me today! When he then started singing out loud I had to keep myself from giggling and decided to jump in the pool and swim until I was exhausted.

pool

If this level of energy keeps up it might actually not be so hard to start working out again when I get back home. And I’m enjoying waking up before 11 am without an alarm and without feeling like I need 5 cups of coffee to keep myself up. I think this trip might have been pretty good for us!

And – since we were talking about pools – these are my three favorite bikinis right now. The blue is from a cute little shop in Key West, the red from Macy’s, and the peach one from Victoria’s Secret.
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Pictures from Marathon

I’m taking a ton of pictures every day, but I hardly have any time to sit down and share them with you. There’s just too much to do! I’m actually surprised that we’ve even had Internet at all the hotels we’ve been at, because we were never that lucky in the past.

We got up at nine this morning to finally start driving toward the keys. The view from the bridges was amazing and the brightness of the water will never get old. We kept staring at it for the entire hour we were out there.
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We even stopped along the way to take a couple pictures – and the water was nice and warm.
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Our first stop is at Marathon and instead of the small hotel room we were expecting we got a condo almost as big as our apartment! It has a living room, two bathrooms, a tiny kitchen and a big bedroom. And it’s right on the water! This is the view right outside our door:
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After we got settled in we found a nearby beach where I had my first swim of the year before I passed out in the heat and got a little sunburned. It was perfect!
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