UNITED STATES: Florida and Florida Keys

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

3.300 km "on the road" trip in the United States with a destination in Florida which, we will realize, won't we? represented only by Miami, Disney World or Orlando; my son Giovanni and I, on the other hand, spent ten wonderful days moving from south to north, from east to west along the coasts and inside the state, choosing itineraries that tourists generally do not travel, being able to do so. appreciate Florida in its various facets. Intense and engaging experiences.

1 day

Saturday 20? Wake up in the middle of the night and arrive well in advance at the Venice airport; at the Alitalia check-in we find a long line due to the telematic service in tilt for which the tickets must be written by hand. Fortunately, the employees are fast and courteous and take-off takes place at 8,05 am with a delay that will be? partially recovered upon arrival in Rome. Here long walk at a brisk pace to get from terminal 1 to terminal 3 then boarding and off to Miami with route Paris, Ireland and north ocean, New York and already? for 8.865 km. Pleasant surprise from Alitalia: comfortable seats, good restaurant service and helpful and kind staff.
We arrive with a little? late but the entry procedures are fast including those to Avis for the collection of the car that Giovanni had booked from Vicenza; I was impressed by the number and variety? car rental agencies whose offices occupy an entire floor of the terminal and the shuttle service that takes us, after a long journey, to the garages where we pick up a well-equipped Ford Focus.
Outside there is a? Very hot air of about 24/25 ?, the traffic? chaotic but, following the directions, we quickly arrive at the Redroof Motel we had booked from home via the Internet. Long and heavy day for which we enjoy a well deserved rest.

2 day

Sunday 21? After breakfast a while? miserable, we consult the maps and decide to begin our journey by heading west towards the Gulf of Mexico; we leave at 9,00 with a nice warm sun and a temperature of 25? (will increase during the day up to 30?) and we begin to travel the Tamiami canal that connects Miami with Naples through the famous Everglades for a length of 140 km. We walk along a beautiful straight road that runs alongside this artificial canal and marshes where we see several wild alligators, birds of various species including the? Aningas? with long beaks with which they pierce their preys, aquatic plants such as marsh ferns, sharp palmettes and mangroves. There are no villages along the way but there are some points where you can visit natural oases and take turns in the marshes with the? Air boat ?.
We arrive on the Gulf of Mexico and travel the entire coast to the north through towns and cities? densely populated where? visible the wealth represented by a succession of residences, golf clubs, shopping centers, banks, colleges and universities, streets, lighting, buildings, manicured gardens with palm trees and flowers that frame the road we follow. A joy for the eyes and for a relaxing journey like this, to continuous amazement we do not realize that we have traveled so many miles leaving behind us Naples, Ft. Myers, Venice, Sarasota, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Seminole up to the streets different with crossing a bridge almost ten km long, to the town of Indian Rocks Beach where we are lucky enough to find a beautiful suite at the Great Heron Inn overlooking the gulf.
Once my luggage is settled, I go out on a beach of fine white sand and take a long walk in the silence broken only by the cormorants' cry and witness a beautiful sunset that fills me with happiness.
With Giovanni we go out on foot again to finally go to dinner in an excellent place where they serve me a fish soup then burgers with breaded oysters, crab with onions, tomatoes and fried potatoes.
Small curiosity: on the sides of the pedestrian crossings there are containers with phosphorescent flags that are picked up and held in the hand during the journey and put away when you arrive from the other side; a brilliant idea.
Routes 504 km.

3 day

Monday? 22? I get up at seven and, after getting ready, I go for a long walk on the beach. What time? almost deserted; I see the sun rising slowly and I remain to contemplate it for a long time immersed in my thoughts and a sense of peace and inner joy. I notice that the sand? moved in various points from which strange giant shells emerge with inside the live mollusk that the cormorants try to extract to eat: will you know? then that it is about? hermit crabs ?; the shell has very beautiful colors so? I collect a few to take them home but after a few days the mollusk? rotted but I was not able to extract it cos? I had to throw it all away! I meet a lady with whom I exchange a few words in English and I learn that her parents are of Italian origin: the world? really small.
Giovanni and I then go to breakfast in a nearby restaurant and at ten we take the car back and head north on the? 19? along the coast that still crosses pleasant places? such as Clearwater, Spring Hill and Crystal River: 32 km with cycle paths, pedestrian zones, the usual shopping and activity centers? professionals among which I was struck by chiropractors, vasectomy centers, lawyers, plastic surgeons, psychiatrists. As for animals, specialized shops, clinics, hospitals and acupuncturists are reserved for them!
Leaving the coast and the maritime flora, we begin to see very extensive ranches and plants with long white beards which, after Chiefland and Perry, become real woods together with palm groves, larch and pine trees; after stopping for lunch and for petrol, with a temperature that varies between 25/29 ?, we walk along the? 19? until we cross the I-10 which we know well from having crossed it in reverse on our previous trip to Georgia. We then head east and at 17,30 pm we go out and stop at the? Days Inn? Motel. Dinner in a Mexican place then immediately to bed.
Routes 415 km.

4 day

Tuesday? 23? After a rich and varied breakfast (omelette, bacon, pancakes with butter and maple syrup) we find brochures illustrating the city? of Madison located not far away so? we decide to go and visit it and we leave at nine. We arrive in ten minutes, we park then, on foot following the map we visit the historic center which includes many beautiful buildings of the 18th? century in particular the? court house ?, the park with the monument of the? four freedoms? and the? First Baptist Church ?: the town? also remembered for being the birthplace of the fourth President of the United States.
We manage in forty-five minutes, the heat is already getting hot. feel cos? we buy water and soft drinks and resume the journey on the? 90? a beautiful road that runs parallel to the highway but which crosses woods and villages: we see in the distance two prisons surrounded by barbed wire and turrets and armed guards and I am impressed with large signs that indicate? State prisoners involved in road works? but we will not see any at work.
Near Baldwin we take the I-10 to the outskirts of Jacksonville, the largest city? of the Flor? since we have already? view, and we carry on the? 1? which runs along the Atlantic Ocean to Miami. At a distributor we found the magazine that reports motels, prices and offers coupons with discounts on overnight stays: should we choose a Super8 near the city? of St. Augustine almost on the ocean at such an inviting price? we stop here at 14,45 pm.
After a short stop for accommodation, we take the car back to the center to visit this beautiful town founded on August 28, 1565, Saint Augustine's day, by the Spanish admiral Pedro Menendez de Avil? S and who is the most? ancient European settlement in the continental United States; in fact it preserves many beautiful buildings of Spanish architecture and the fortress called? Castillo de San Marco? whose walls and bastions have the characteristic of being built with a mixture of shells and corals making them more? resistant to cannon fire. Parked the car, we take a long walk around the historic center that takes us to admire the Flagler College (once a luxury hotel for rich vacationers), the Grace Methodist Church, Government House, the refined shops and cross the train that accompanies tourists in the city tour? that we complete in nearly two hours.
Let's see already? many Christmas decorations and we notice that the light poles and those of the parking meters are wrapped with red and black colored ribbons that give a note of joy.
We return to the motel at 17,15 pm then for dinner we head towards a characteristic restaurant with men? based on prawns for me sweet breaded with coconut sauce and for Giovanni fried with vegetables and potatoes: very good.
As soon as we enter we notice that there are several tables occupied by families equipped with pen and paper and only more? forward we will understand why: in fact there is a quiz game presented live by a speaker who asks questions of various cultures (we can understand enough) whose answers
they must be submitted in writing within a short period of time; at the end the scores will be totaled and the best will be awarded. A pleasant and different evening to crown a busy but interesting day.
Routes 300 km.

5 day

Wednesday? 24? While Giovanni is still asleep, I get up and at seven I go for a long walk on the beach at that almost deserted hour; return after an hour and I stop to look at the market stalls that? already? very animated and known that the goods on display are not? unlike the one that is also sold in our country.
After breakfast we decide to head south along the central part of the Flor? Da; cos? we leave at 9,30 with a nice warm sun, a constant temperature between 26/29 ?, and we enter the? 19? that crosses cultivated fields, large farms and in short we are at the entrance of the? Ocala National Forest? which boasts the pi? extensive concentration of maritime pines and includes 600 ponds and natural lakes (the largest is Lake George which measures 10x18 km), trails that can only be traveled by off-road vehicles, cycle paths for 35,4 km routes for hiking and horseback riding and sports aquatic activities such as boating, spearfishing and more.
Unfortunately, the rental contract prevents our car from traveling on dirt roads so we have to give up going into the woods.
During a stop I notice a sign that already? had me more? sometimes intrigued? hot boiled peanuts? and I take the opportunity to ask a very nice gentleman what it is: they are American peanuts boiled in their shell in salted water then opened and eaten normally: he offers me some for tasting but I don't like them.
We begin to cross large oranges crops of which the Flor? Da? the largest producer in the United States (the number plates of the cars also show two oranges) alternating with villas and residences closed in fenced villages that denote a certain luxury; after a short stop to eat hamburgers we enter the? 27? which passes very close to Disney World, a well-known amusement park, and we cross Lake Wales, a large center for the collection and processing of oranges whose plantations follow one another for kilometers and kilometers showing the fruits with the most color? or less intense depending on the degree of ripeness.
We cross and follow the 70 east up to Okeechobee which is located north of the lake of the same name and we stop at 17,45 pm at the Budget Inn motel; after a short rest we go to dinner at a restaurant with a fixed price buffet with a discount for those over 60. I use cooked vegetables, broad beans, catfish, shrimp, boiled beef to finish with banana cream and various biscuits: all delicious .
Routes 422 km.

6 day

Thursday? 25? Festive Thanksgiving Day throughout the United States. When I wake up I take advantage of the beautiful day to take a long walk in the streets surrounding the motel so? I can see the houses, the well-kept gardens up close and get an idea of ​​daily life; I meet very few people but in the small parks I notice the presence of many squirrels that run here and there? among the trees heedless of who passes by.
Departure on the? 78? to go around Lake Okeechobee what? the pi? extended of the Flor? da: at the beginning we see many campsites with caravans, beautiful cottages with boats, palm groves along the canals, marshes with extensive reeds; landings that offer air boat trips and Moore Haven the possibility? to cross the lake by ferryboat. There are not many villages and the towns we encounter as we proceed southwards denote poverty? of the people who? mostly black; we see cemeteries on the open meadows with the gravestones placed at random and more? ahead, on? 27?, extensive fields of sugar cane.
The roads are almost without traffic so? we arrive in Clewiston and South Bay where the pi? large complexes for the production of sugar and we stop in Pahokee for a stop and a walk along the lake even if the heat is felt. We resume our road and, after having traveled about 200 km we have returned to Okeechobee having completed the entire tour of the lake. After a short stop, we leave at 13,00 on the? 70 east? until the intersection with I-95 which we will travel north to Daytona Beach Sores and we stop at the Days Inn which looks directly on the ocean.
When I have packed my bags I go out on the beach for a short walk and find that? one of the few places in the world where there are reserved areas for parking cars and motorbikes. I walk for half an hour on a very clean beach without cigarette butts or litter or other waste and, on my return, when the sunset? now imminent, I cross a patrol of security guards that invites all vehicles to leave the parking places and exit the beach. The lifeguard stations are on very tall wooden buildings just like the ones seen in the TV series? Baywatch ?. Great!
Back in the motel I sit on the balcony to enjoy the sunset again, the view of the sky and the ocean accompanied by the sounds of dozens of seagulls gliding on the shore in search of food.
Giovanni and I go out in the car to go to dinner:? all closed, isn't there? traffic, there are no passers-by and we go through the center of Daytona which looks like a city? ghost before you find the? Marco? s Sports Diner? a characteristic place that offers a men? Thanksgiving special: John orders stuffed turkey with vegetables, I have smoked ham chop with Hawaiian sauce and finally pumpkin pie.
We return happy with this other interesting day that ends with a well-deserved rest in a really comfortable and super room!
Routes 480 km.

7 day

Friday? 26? At seven o'clock I'm ready and, even if c ?? a very cloudy sky that threatens rain, I go down to the beach for a walk of an hour then I sit outside on the balcony to read. In the meantime, fortunately, the sun comes out and allows us to have breakfast (bacon, eggs, potatoes, toast, French bread with butter and maple syrup) while remaining outdoors in the swimming pool area overlooking the ocean.
At 10,30 we start with a clear sky and a stable temperature of 26/29? and take the? 1? southwards along the ocean to the Kennedy Space Center where we arrive around noon; we park for free in a huge square where there are already? several cars and we head to the five entrances where long lines of visitors wait neatly to buy tickets to access the complex. We stay a while? uncertain whether to proceed then we decide to have this experience that will reveal itself? unforgettable; also here for me? over 60? c ?? a discount on the ticket upon presentation of a suitable document.
The complex ? formed by a very large area that includes various attractions and services: the rocket garden where eight are concentrated soaring towards the sky, the monument dedicated to the astronauts who died in action, play areas for children, three shops, one of which? the pi? largest in the world dedicated to objects and souvenirs on the subject of space, five catering outlets, six toilets located in various areas, lifts for the disabled, assistance for the hearing impaired, wheelchairs and strollers available, animal enclosure and first aid; you can also visit a life-size reproduction of the shuttle Explorer.
In the ticket price? including a tour that takes place on board buses (in total 44) that depart every fifteen minutes and follow pre-established itineraries inside the base with stops at various stations; first stop at the elevated launch observatory of complex 39 mainly dedicated to Space Shuttle operations. As soon as you enter a large dark room, a guide gives us? welcome and shows us an introductory film that traces the history of space conquests starting from the early competitions between the USSR and the USA then we go to visit the interactive exhibition area: all very interesting.
In the end we are free to climb to the top of the observatory for a 360 ° view? on the launch pads, on the Crawlerway and on the building where the vehicles are assembled. When we get off we stop for a quick snack and are then ready to take the bus back to the next stop at the Apollo / SaturnV center. The journey? long enough cos? we have the opportunity to verify the extension of this structure: upon arrival we are shown the open-air stands where the important spectators who attended the launches took their seats. Then we enter the? Firing Room Theater? that exactly reproduces the control room (with console and various instruments) to recreate the first launch of the Apollo with men on board: attention and silence are total and the tension reaches its maximum when the thrusters are switched on and the spacecraft enters the space
My heart beats a hundred, I feel an incredible emotion thinking that I am reliving, in the place where? actually happened, one of the basic episodes for the conquest of space; I seem to have entered history too!
We go out into a huge hall which houses a restored Saturn V moon rocket 111 meters high and which hangs from the ceiling: truly impressive. Also on display are various types of vehicles, a slice of moon rock, a Lunar Module simulator, a series of spacesuits, a piece of Apollo 13, an instrument chariot like the one used on the Apollo 14 moon, a van used to transport astronauts. on the launch pad and more. Bars, cafes, services and shops all managed in the utmost order and cleanliness: how much we Italians have to learn!
After this tour already? by itself? bewildering, we wait seven minutes (marked and marked by a red dispay) before entering the? Lunar Theater? where we will witness the simulation of the launch of Apollo 11 with landing on the moon. Period films scroll on the screens that mark the crucial moments of the launch, the moon landing and the landing (at this moment a faithful reproduction of the Lem and a life-size astronaut falls from above): beautiful!
Recent interviews with the three astronauts protagonists of that memorable undertaking follow, recalling the feelings of the time and the historical statements made by a group of children who had witnessed the event live. I repeat that? it was truly an unforgettable experience!
Leaving, we return to the parking lot, take the car back and head south again on the? 1? and in a few kilometers we arrive in Cocoa where we find an excellent Best Western: it is 17,30 pm and it rains heavily, the only time in the whole trip but it will cease? almost immediately. After an hour of relaxation we go out to have dinner at the? Kingstation? room obtained from the union of two railway carriages from which the internal walls have been removed while keeping the windows and other structures unaltered; very appetizing dinner based on excellent fried shrimp.
Routes 140 km.

8 day

Saturday 27? After the usual rich American breakfast, at 9,45 we are ready to leave on I-95 then on? 1? pi? along the bay and at Vero Beach we take the? A1A? which runs parallel to the Atlantic ocean:? an uninterrupted succession of gated residences with bars and guards at the entrances, lawns with cut grass, flowers, palm trees and well-kept exteriors, cycle and pedestrian paths.
At Fort Pierce we have to stop for about ten minutes to cross a drawbridge that? raised to allow the passage of some boats, we return to the? 1? pi? internal then we take the highway (6 + 6 lanes where you can reach a speed of 120 km / hour) to vary a bit? the landscape. In Jupiter we go out to eat sandwiches, get petrol and stretch our legs with a short walk.
The temperature reaches 30? and the sky, which threatened rain in the morning,? completely serene of an intense blue. We leave the highway and pass again on the? 1? that we travel up to Fort Lauderdale leaving on the left famous places? like Palm Beach Shores, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach which all have the same characteristics of lively cities? on the ocean. After several kilometers a bit? boring we go back to the? A1A? that we travel to the end of South Miami Beach passing through skyscrapers, villas and residences with flower beds, shopping malls, a multitude of people in constant movement (as seen in the films), an infinite theory of traffic lights and cars that put a lot of pressure on Giovanni's patience and mine therefore, when we decide we have seen enough of fabulous Miami Beach, we cross the long bridge that connects it to the city? old and we travel on I-95 until it ends and joins the? 1 south? towards the Key.
We are tired on the road and the hours spent in the car like that? at 18,30 we stop at the? Prince Inn? the first motel we find in Homestead even if it will result? not very comfortable; an hour later we go out on foot and reach a Chinese restaurant for dinner.
Transfer day with beautiful landscapes and glimpses of the ocean but I must say that Miami struck me above all for the skyscrapers and the chaos.
Routes 410 km.

9 day

Sunday 28? After breakfast departure on? 1? towards the Florida Key archipelago of 1.700 islands of coral limestone origin that extend from south-east to south-west of the Flor? by dividing the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico; c ?? a single two-lane highway that connects, through 203 km and 42 bridges with lengths ranging from 11 km to most long to 43 m of the pi? short, the five main islands in turn formed by various smaller islands.
The first one we meet? Key Largo advertised as the diving capital of the world but has no natural sand beaches; the second Islamorada (islands of purple due to the massive presence of purple marine snails) renowned for deep sea fishing and shops for bait and sports equipment such as weapons and fishing rods; the third Marathon recommended as a holiday resort for families; the fourth Big Pine and the Lower Keys marine sanctuary and endangered wildlife refuge with possibility? ecotours on foot and by bike; the fifth Key West the most? known and magnified and the final destination of our day.
After a brief stop at Marathon to get petrol, with a very black sky threatening rain and a temperature of 24 ?, we cross a column of about 100 Harley Davidson escorted by the police (probably going to a rally) and with drivers and passengers dressed with vests and colored bandanas as I have seen pi? times in movies.
We travel the long way through seaside villages that are almost all the same but what strikes me? the landscape with the ocean on one side and the gulf on the other and the crossing of all those bridges that connect the various islands; Parallel sections of old road tracks, bridges and sections of abandoned railway flow and the mind imagines how much effort and work were needed to carry out all these works that are supported on pylons planted in the water!
We follow the highway until kilometer? Zero? which takes us directly to the heart of old Key West where we find an easy paid parking and we begin our sightseeing tour on foot. It is 12,45 pm and following the bustle we enter the main streets with the greatest pedestrian traffic where we can admire the ancient wooden houses with very picturesque architecture: a good part of the wood for the construction? been obtained from the recovery of shipwrecked ships in the surrounding area.
We walk all along Truman Ave and Duval street along which there are many shops selling clothes, Cuban cigars, objects and anything else that can attract tourists eager to buy, bars, cafes and restaurants in the open air; hungry, we stop at a characteristic place where all the spaces available on the walls are occupied by? a dollar? simple or signed by whoever left it as a souvenir.
This is the Willie T? S where? also exhibited a plate that indicates the degrees of longitude and latitude and the writing? here? heaven?; I eat a plate of really good fried calamari with the live music company.
At the end of lunch we resume our tour and arrive at the point pi? south of the United States marked by a buoy indicating a distance of only 90 miles from Cuba: c ?? an orderly line of people waiting their turn to be photographed but I manage to take a quick photo between one pose and the next. We pass in front of the house where Hemingway lived during his stays here but we don't stop to visit it; c ?? a sultry heat and fatigue is felt therefore? we return to the parking lot near which I stop to browse inside a huge shop that sells only shells of all kinds, of all sizes, of all colors, in the center of which there is a mountain of starfish.
We walk along the long pier where cruise ships departing for the Caribbean are moored, then at 15,40 we get back in the car for the return.
We are surprised that there is not a lot of traffic given the holiday but we are okay with that? and we travel calmly with the intention of stopping after a couple of hours to find a motel to spend the night and rest; unfortunately, when we are now close to the goal, the circulation first slows down then suddenly stops and a long column of cars forms while on the other lane we do not see any pass. After a while? police cars, firefighters and ambulances pass by from which we deduce that there has been an accident; time goes by, the sun goes down, twilight comes and then pitch black as the cars have turned off the lights. Some people get out of their cars and walk back and forth, others sing or comment but always in the utmost order and tranquility.
We remain so? from 17,15:18,45 pm to : pm when the column finally gets underway again and we stop at the first motel we find in Islamorada: the luxurious and also expensive? Hampton Inn & Suites? with balcony overlooking the ocean; for dinner we go to a restaurant that is part of the complex and I choose a tortilla with spinach, artichokes, chicken fillets and melted cheese which I devour with gusto.
Routes 340 km.

10 day

Monday? 29? The American breakfast offers a wide choice including omelette, bacon, sausages, various cakes, juices, jams, fruit; in this hotel I was struck by the constant music on the elevator floors, the internal shop that exhibits particularly expensive goods, the super-equipped gym, three free internet stations, two swimming pools with aqua-gym instructor, the cleanliness and kindness of the staff . It has a very small beach formed not by sand but by very thin gravel brought back while the palms are real and the flowers and plants are treated to the utmost; after breakfast I sit in a comfortable wicker chair right in front of the ocean and I stay like that. in absolute relaxation lost in my thoughts. Together with Giovanni we evaluate if it is appropriate to stop until tomorrow but then we decide to resume our path also why? I always hope to be able to return to the Everglades and take that ride in the air boat that fascinates me so much. At 11,45 we get in the car and retrace the highway that takes us back to the mainland up to Homestead which we cross passing through the historic center then take the? 997? suitable for trucks and we pass through extensive nurseries with plants of all kinds, mainly palms, mangoes, vines and potted flowers that accompany us for many miles.
We connect with the? 41? that we travel for about fifty kilometers until? we notice a restaurant with an exotic name? Miccosukee? near the boarding point for air boat tours: we stop and ask for the departure time that will happen. in ten minutes; cos? we buy the tickets with which we are given cotton balls to put in the ears to isolate them from the noise. We wait for the pilot, an Indian of the tribe, we take a seat in six on this strange vehicle that begins to plow more and more? quickly the water and the shrubs of the swamp causing me at first a slight fear that soon turns into a feeling of complete freedom? with the sun and the air in your face. The landscape ? characterized by swamps, savannahs and virgin forests covered with falaschi (herbaceous plants used to straw chairs, weave mats and build the roof of the huts) which, rising up to three meters above the surface of the water, form a bush like this dense to make the places almost? inaccessible, except for the natural waterways.
After a long ride we stop to visit a house used by an Indian family until the end of the 70s built on stilts; the guide tells us the history of his people and points out a single big alligator which, according to him, has more? fifty years old (I understand the meaning of the story then I will ask Giovanni to explain the details).
We resume the waterway and stop at an islet habitat of a species of birds that eat only snakes; after about an hour we return to the boarding point very satisfied with this experience and we head, hungry, to the nearby restaurant, which is characteristic for the furniture, food and staff of the people? Miccosukee? who dresses the colorful garments they produce. I order a typical dish consisting of fried alligator pieces, frog legs, meatballs and a hot sandwich with tartar sauce: exceptional!
Before getting into the car for the return I enter the? Tourist point? where I pick up a d? pliant in Italian that I put away without looking; let's go back to Miami first along the usual? 41? almost deserted then the? 826? which comes with 6 + 6 lanes and with crazy rush hour traffic. We remain in the column for several miles until we arrive in the vicinity of the airport where we had identified, again through d? Pliant, a comfortable Best Western but unfortunately there is no free room so? we have to fall back on a pi? modest and affordable America? s Best Inn. For dinner we buy sandwiches that we eat in the room.
Before the well-deserved rest I make a summary of this other interesting day and look at the d? Pliant that I had taken: with great regret I read that, four hundred meters from where we stopped, it was possible to visit an authentic reconstructed Indian village, the museum, the artifact shop, watch the alligator show and much more; maybe tomorrow we can go back since not? very far? We'll see.
Routes 195 km.

11 day

Tuesday? 30? The day's program includes two choices: either visit downtown Miami to pass the time until it's time to go to the airport for the 16,45pm flight or return to Miccosukee; the second hypothesis prevails cos? we take the now well-known and not very busy street of the Tamiami canal until we reach the Miccosukee Indian Village. Are the Miccosukee a tribe? federally recognized Indian in 1962 and currently? formed by about 500 people who have kept their identity, their language, their flag and their customs and traditions but are well integrated with the modern world.
We enter the village through the souvenir shop after paying the ticket and taking the map to orient ourselves; first we see a room called? chikee? serving as a home for two families, the tables are used as worktops during the day and as a sleeping area at night, the beds are raised to protect against the invasion of water, snakes and alligators. A chikee for kitchen use with open fire and various utensils; a chikee where men work cypress or willow wood to make toys, bows, arrows, canoes while women with colored glass beads make necklaces, accessories and jewelry or make dolls from dwarf palm fibers and dress them with colored fabrics traditional.
We enter a small museum that offers a rare overview of the past of this people, of its culture and its way of life through photographs, tools on display, colorful clothes, historical artifacts and paintings painted by an artist of the tribe. Really very interesting and suggestive.
We walk the whole elevated wooden walk that offers a panoramic view of the Everglades a unique ecological reserve: the long blades that tremble in the breeze are of a species called? Dry grass? due to the sharp edge like a razor blade; the soil under the passage? submerged and muddy and constitutes a vital aspect of this unique place of its kind.
Last stop at the alligator pit where a dozen big beasts doze waiting for their trainer, a mighty Indian with the characteristic gil ?, awakens them to offer the public a show that concludes the visit to the village; we only look at the beginning then we have to go why? the weather ? flew.
After a quick tour of the souvenir shop where patchwork jackets, skirts and shirts, Miccosukee beaded necklaces, Cherokee loafers, silver and turquoise Navajo jewelry are on sale, we take our car back to Miami.
Can't describe my happiness? for having had this experience so? engaging in an Indian world that I only knew through watching a few films and that in my previous trips to the United States I had not had the opportunity to explore.
The return to the airport? was slowed down by an accident that blocked the main road, testing my sense of direction (the road is completely blocked in both directions until everything is perfectly normal) to find an alternative route: luckily everything? smooth yarn cos? at 13,00 we arrived at the airport, we returned the car and waited for the bus that took us directly to our terminal for boarding.
Routes 110 km.

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