When we thought about taking this trip to Florida, did we hear from different people? but still in America ??,? aren't you already there? States??, ? change destination ..?, all of this? why? we had returned from California for a few months, but I know that the United States is large, and very different from each other, in many respects, and so, I was absolutely not discouraged by these useless comments and I booked ! Flight, hotel, car and go?
10 days, starting from Miami, with its long white beaches, palm trees, sun ... lots of fun people (in a good way), to the picturesque and beautiful Key West, the nature of the Everglades, the sunsets of Naples, and the beautiful coast from the Gulf of Mexico to Captiva Island and finally to the pleasant discovery of Fort Lauderdale, initially chosen only as a final stop before going to the airport, instead yes? turned out to be very pretty, with its canals on one side and beautiful beaches on the other!
Did we leave Thursday? 14/03 from Bologna, stopover in London and departure for Miami with a mega Airbus A380, double decker ... wonderful, I had never flown with such a large, quite comfortable and above all quiet plane.
We landed on time in the evening, unfortunately we could not enjoy the view of the city from above. of Miami illuminated, our seats were in correspondence of the wing, but being huge, wide and long it covered us all the view during the landing.
We proceed to the usual checks, collect the luggage, and with a taxi we arrive at our hotel, the CADET HOTEL in Miami Beach, around 23 pm!
We wake up at 09:00, unfortunately outside? all gray, calmly we get ready and a little disappointed by the lack of the sun, we begin, on foot, to? know? You love me.
One of the most? of Miami Beach, full of shops, tourist agencies and restaurants located in the middle of the street? LINCOLN ROAD (just 10 minutes walk from our hotel).
We then head towards the famous OCEAN DRIVE, can't it? missing the photo at VILLA CASUARINA, the famous house where Gianni Versace was murdered, now a hotel.
Continuing, we pass through the ART DECO DISTRICT, a neighborhood with impressive buildings from the 30s, in light pastel colors, overlooking Ocean Drive.
It is now 11:30 and it starts to rain, so I decide that I want to take away the whim of having the classic American breakfast, scrambled eggs and bacon, a lot? already? for a while since we have been up and not having eaten yet, we go to one of the many cafes on the Ocean, which offer different types of breakfasts, what for us? become more? a brunch.
In the meantime, the rain has stopped and it is clearing up, we continue along the Ocean Drive to South Beach, precisely at SOUTH POINT PARK PIER, where we stop for a while to admire and photograph the beautiful landscape.
Let's go back up, and saw that yes? made a nice day, we lie down on the beach to sunbathe.
We had seen a lot of police, stationed along the beaches and gardens, the main road had been cordoned off and we have so? understood that we were in full SPRING BREAK, the legendary spring break, where college kids take a few days of vacation in company at the most? famous locations United States tourism.
All this to us? it seemed strange, unusual: beaches full of kids, loud music, lots of people with clothes (when they had them, otherwise only very small costumes) and brightly colored hair, but all very cheerful and fun.
We decide to come away from the beach, especially because? the sun yes? done pretty strong and we felt like we were roasting.
We pass by COLLINS AVENUE, very busy, lots of convertible cars full of guys sitting high on seats with stereo and loud music, and ... horn at will ?, it was like being in a movie, fantastic !!
Saturday 16 / 03
This morning, after having breakfast at Sturbucks, on Lincoln Road, we go to the Miamitours office and get tickets for a combined tour, with the open bus and the boat ride, not having a car we thought it was the best solution, to get away from Miami Beach, and visit the other Miami.
IS? wonderful to cross the bridge, from Miami Beach to Downtown, we saw COCONUT GROVE, a neighborhood with low-rise houses, surrounded by palm trees; CORAL GABLES whose main feature is the luxury villas surrounded by greenery; LITTLE HAVANA, a Cuban neighborhood, the closest street famous, not to be missed? Calle Ocho very typical and characteristic; and finally we arrive at the port, we eat a quick fried and then we embark for the VENETIAN ISLANDS, in the BISCAYNE BAY, along several islets, from Star Island to Palm Island, to discover the villas of the most famous artists? famous like Paulina Rubio, Al Capone, Gloria Estefan etc?
The boat tour lasts about an hour and a half, when we return to the port, we relax by walking, at the BAYSIDE MARKETPLACE, there are many shops, and we take the opportunity to buy some souvenirs. We take the bus back (for the return we can choose the time from those proposed) and return to the hotel, after having a shower we go to dinner in one of the many restaurants on Lincoln Road.
Sunday 17 / 03
This morning, after having breakfast, always at the Starbuks on the Lincoln, let's call Uber,? was the first time we used this service, and yes? proved very useful.
We were brought to the WYNWOOD ART DISTRICT, a very particular neighborhood, where art and colors are the masters, there are several art galleries. The murals that are renewed from time to time are fantastic, don't miss the Wynwood Walls, at 2520 NW 2nd Ave, the main street, always full of people.
We call up Uber and let us drop off at Bayside Marketplace, to make a shoe purchase in one of the many shops, which we had seen the previous day, but regretted not having entered. Before returning to the beach, I want to take the Metromover, an elevated train, without a driver that runs on a monorail, makes several loops, we searched on the internet for the nearest stop. near that was the Bayside College, a 5 minute walk.
The Metromover passes through the large buildings of the city? , a good solution for tourists as it can? enjoy a beautiful view and you do not need any type of ticket why? service ? totally free.
Are we halfway? afternoon, and we return to Miami Beach, we choose a beach in the vicinity? of our hotel to spend the last hours of these days in Miami under the sun.
Monday? 18/03? Km. Routes 270
We leave the hotel at 08.00 and with Uber we are taken on the Collins to the car rental garage to collect the car, we have chosen Alamo.
They were fast and very professional, they gave us an SUV, a Nissan Rogue.
Enthusiastic we immediately leave for the Keys islands, we can't wait to get to the legendary Overseas Highway (US-1) ... the road suspended over the ocean seen in many films that connects the Keys and finally after about two hours we are there !
As we cross Key Largo, an island that stretches for about 50km, we notice a Burger King, we get hungry and so on. we stop to eat a sandwich. We then take a tour on foot, and we are fascinated by the natural landscape that presents itself to us.
We leave, we pass Islamorada, famous for fishing, and we arrive at Marathon, 7 small islands, where fishing and nature are the main characteristics. Like Key largo and Islamorada, even Marathon, despite being renowned for water sports, does not have many sandy beaches, with the exception of the splendid Sombrero Beach, a white beach with green palm trees that together with the blue of the sea water makes a contrast. truly spectacular colors.
We take the? SEVEN MILE BRIDGE? a bridge of about 6,76 miles, hence the name Seven Mile, one has the impression of being suspended over the ocean, on one side the Atlantic and on the other the Gulf of Mexico, next to it, we can also see the old bridge (old seven mile), today used only for walking. Unfortunately there are no stopping points to stop for a while to admire the view, so we decide to stop at Little Duck Key, park and walk north along the old bridge, a little more? of 1km until the interruption.
We leave towards KEY WEST, the last island and the most important point. south of Florida.
We arrive at about 17 pm at our hotel, the HERON HOUSE, a stone's throw from the main street Duval Street, here we will spend two nights.
After check-in, we take the suitcases to the room, and then the lady at the reception, with a map in hand, shows us where to park the car for free, practically a couple of blocks away, the residential area begins, where the parking lots along the road are free except for those where c ?? the inscription? resident ?.
It takes us about 40 minutes to find one, but in the end we succeed and not that far from our hotel.
We go back and after a shower we immediately go to MALLORY SQUARE, where we sit to wait for the sunset, what here? really wonderful, says one of the most? beautiful in the world.
Let's have dinner at? Hard Rock Cafe, along Duval Street, and then, a little tired, we go back to the hotel.
We wake up at 8.00, have a nice breakfast in the hotel around the pool, then calmly we walk towards DUVAL STREET. This ? the main street of Key West, very popular with tourists who stroll among the many shops and restaurants.
As we walk south, between one shop and another, we are amazed by the presence of numerous roosters, which some cross in front of us, others instead we find them standing on the fences of the houses. We immediately informed ourselves, in the past, Key West was a meeting point for merchant ships, those of North America and those of Mexico; Mexicans often participated in cockfights, took them with them and then abandoned them on the island, but never did anyone? worried about getting them back.
We arrive like this? at the end of this road cos? picturesque in every aspect, we take Whitehead Street and after 5 minutes we find ourselves at the SOUTHERNMOST POINT, a colorful buoy from 1983, where all the tourists line up for a souvenir photo, this is the best point. south of the whole of the United States, we are exactly 90 miles from Cuba.
We resume Duval St. heading north, and after about ten minutes we are at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, we decide to enter and we find ourselves in the midst of numerous butterflies with different colors, pink flamingos and colorful birds.
Continuing north, we find ourselves at the intersection with Truman Street, we turn left and then right, onto Whiteadhead St .. We immediately notice the lighthouse, a tower 27 meters high, in the past it was a reference point for boats. Still on the same road, a few meters on the right we find the villa where the famous writer Ernest Hemingway lived from 1931 to 1939.
What today? become a museum open to the public,? occupied by numerous cats, the true successors of those owned by the writer.
After the visit, we stop to eat a slice of the Key Lime Pine, the lemon cake typical of the place, I who am not a lover of sweets, I can say that it was very good and l? sitting down we relax a bit. We leave again, entering and exiting the numerous shops where we buy a couple of souvenirs, the classic magnets that are a must for me (I make the collection).
We head to the heart of Duval Street (the northern part near Mallory Square), here there are historic buildings, and clubs with live music, the most? the famous Sloppy Joe? s Bar, formerly frequented by Hemingway.
Now tired we stop in Mallory Square to have a drink waiting for the sunset and then taking Front Street, we go to look for a place for dinner at the historic port of Key West, very suggestive, an old pier on the sea surrounded by boats.
Wednesday? 20/03 - Km. 460 routes
We leave Key West and retrace the Overseas Highway back, arriving in the late morning at the Ernest Coe Visitor Center, after Key Largo, to visit the EVERGLADES.
We decide to do the Anhinga Trail, the entrance? in Royal Palm, a walking path that lasts about a couple of hours, on a walkway, after the initial anxiety we are fascinated by this swamp, and by the alligators present everywhere, even on the same walkway, free but we immediately realize that we are indifferent to him. In the swamp there are many, even three / four together relaxing in the sun, but not only that, we see numerous turtles, fish and birds typical of the local fauna.
Before getting back in the car we decide to do the trail in the small bush, a circular tour of half an hour surrounded by tropical plants.
We get back in the car, and we leave towards NAPLES (in the Gulf of Mexico), along the US-41, the Tamiami Road, from east to west that crosses the Everglades. As we walk along it, it has a strange effect to me, to see on the right a glimpse of the swamp, like a large ditch, with alligators on the shore, while in the center some small boats (like canoes) with fishermen!
I had marked a point on the navigator, at Ochoopee, also on US-41, where? present the pi? small post office all over the United States, still in operation, isn't it? very visible from the road and there are no signs, it usually goes unnoticed, even to us who had marked it? escaped, remains on the left, but we turned back,? a small detail that we did not want to miss.
We arrive at our hotel at the NAPLES PARK CENTRAL HOTEL in the evening, after check in and shower we go to dinner in one of the many Italian restaurants on Fifth Avenue South (Old Naples).
It is a street with great attention to detail, even a little chic, full of restaurants and boutiques.
Thursday? 21/03 - Km. Routes 58
This morning we wake up with beautiful sun and blue skies, have breakfast and go to the beach, at MARCO ISLAND, about 40 minutes by car from Naples.
There are many luxury villas, with green gardens, plants, flowers all well cared for, I can't help but take photos with the phone, they are fantastic!
We find a paid parking, 11 dollars all day, and then we go to lie in the sun, on this beach, very long and all white that contrasts perfectly with the blue-green of the sea! A little wind blows and it's fine, we never want to go away, but halfway? afternoon we decide to calmly return to the hotel.
After having settled for a while, we set off on foot towards the pier,? been a bit 'long (an hour) but ne? it was worth it, starting from Old Town we crossed the CAMBIER PARK, a park frequented mainly by sportsmen, where in fact there are several tennis courts.
We enter a residential neighborhood, luxurious villas and even here surrounded by magnificent gardens with well-kept flowers.
Taking the Third Street South, where we begin to meet some little places, we arrive at the intersection with 12th Avenue S, we turn right and after a few hundred meters we have reached the NAPLES PIER!
There is a little time until sunset, and it's cold why? it's very windy but? beautiful, the beach, the sea with the waves and the surfers .. we get to the bottom of the pier winning against the strong wind and then we go back, we stop on the beach, which in the meantime was filled with people and photographers waiting for the sun to go down , well what about ... a show !!
Too tired we call Uber, to be taken downtown, still on 5th, we find a place to have dinner and then we go back to the hotel.
Friday? 22/03 - Km. Routes 175
After breakfast, we leave Naples and head to SANIBEL. We take a little longer? of an hour, and we immediately go to the beach, precisely to Lighthouse Beach Park. With not a few difficulties? we find parking, for a fee, 5 $ per hour, we decide to do a couple of hours.
As soon as we arrive, we immediately notice the Sanibel Island Light, a pyramid-shaped lighthouse, about 30 meters high, all made of iron.
Past the lighthouse, we are immediately on the beach, a white expanse of sand and shells, and in front of us the sea, where 2 dolphins swim undisturbed a few tens meters away.
After two hours, relaxing under the scorching sun, we get back in the car and continue to CAPTIVA ISLAND, where we arrive in about half an hour. It is a very beautiful and well-kept island, surrounded by nature. It's almost 14 pm, we eat delicious tacos with shrimp in a Mexican restaurant, at Cantina Captiva.
After eating, we go on foot to Captiva Beach. a white beach with a shoreline covered with shells, where we relax a bit.
We do not wait for the sunset, why? we have the hotel in FORT MYERS, so we leave at 17.00 pm, but c ?? a lot of traffic and it takes about 2 hours (instead of 1 indicated by google maps).
Our hotel ? the RIVERVIEW INN. It is located a bit outside the center, but what about us? went very well, opposite, after crossing the road, a Steak House, where we had dinner.
Saturday 23/03 - Km. Routes 220
Today, can we say that? the last day, and we leave for the last destination: FORT LAUDERDALE.
We arrive in the early afternoon at our hotel, the FALA HOTEL, check-in, and immediately go to the beach, which is a 5-minute walk away. As soon as we arrive, an expanse of blue water appears in front of us, we stretch out under one of the many palm trees on the white sand and relax. We spend a good part of the afternoon, in the evening we go back to the hotel, and after a quick shower we get ready to go downtown.
As we passed we saw that it was full of people, bars and restaurants, but we also realized that it would be complicated to park, so let's call Uber, which takes us to the main street with a few dollars: Las Olas Boulevard.
We walk among the many shops, and we arrive where the canals begin, in fact, is this town not by chance? nicknamed Venice Of America. Numerous Water Taxis circulate here, taking tourists on various tours, to admire the villas of the VIPs that overlook them.
After having dinner in an Italian restaurant, in which we found ourselves very well and I would like to recommend, the Caff? Europe (Las Olas Blvd), we always return with Uber to our hotel.
Sunday 24/03 - Km. Routes 50
This morning we wake up calmly, close the suitcase and go to check-out. We leave the car parked at the hotel, and on foot we go for a walk along the promenade, called the Promenade, we see a lot of people, those who walk, those who run, who go with skates?
We find some small shops where we buy a couple of souvenirs including my mythical local magnet. We stop in the late morning in a place, the Cafe Ibiza, where we have breakfast, an omelette with ham and cheese, closed sandwiches, French toast and orange juice, what can I say? great !
We go to get back the car parked at the hotel and we go reluctantly towards the Miami airport, from Fort Lauderdale it takes about an hour, we return the car and with a shuttle we arrive at the departure terminal.
About 1230 km between sea, city? , nature? all in one beautiful journey that, without a doubt, we will not forget.