Sunday, 1 July 2018

Key West May 2018 - Part 1

Day 1: Saturday 12th May

My flight was from Dublin at 9:50am. Tuna and I went to the airport together at 7am as he was also flying (to Bangkok though). We had breakfast and a beer and then I left him as I had to pass immigration before my American Airways flight. 

At the immigration line the staff asked me if I was travelling on an ESTA, and if so had I traveled to the USA on this passport before: Since I had they were able to move me into the USA nationals queue,so I got through the process very quickly. After immigration I bought another bottle of beer then went to my gate where boarding had just started.

I love airports: 7am? Have a beer. Tired? Sleep on the floor.

Once we landed in Charlotte I changed into my summer clothes. I originally had planned on eating Panda Express here (I love Panda Express!!) but my itinerary was changed so I was actually on an earlier flight than planned so I only had time to get a pretzel from Auntie Anne's on my way to my next departure gate. (When I originally booked the flights the earlier flight was over €100 more expensive, hence why I didn't buy it, so I was delighted when I got an email a week later saying they had bumped me to the earlier flight!)

Landing in Key West the weather was absolutely gorgeous!


I was really happy with my American Airlines flight. This was my second time flying with them (we flew to Vegas with them last year, through Charlotte also) and I would definitely fly with them again. The best thing was landing at 4.30pm so the sun was still out and you would still make it to Happy Hour!
The luggage arrived out onto the carousel almost immediately after we disembarked the plane but of course I still got a margarita from the airport bar in arrivals: It was one of the best margaritas I had throughout the whole trip!!

I got a taxi to our rental house, where Lydia, Mam and Elizabeth were watching the Eurovision. I settled down to watch it also, and I immediately blew up my inflatable unicorn!!!

Later Myself, Mam, Lydia and Elizabeth went to Southernmost Beach Cafe for dinner. 
We shared some appetisers:

Truffle Tator Tots and Tacos 

Egg Fried Rice and Pork Belly

Later, Lydia and I went down the end of Duval Street to see the last night of the Songwriter's Festival. It was a great atmosphere but we were tired and jetlagged so headed home pretty early.

 On our way home I stopped into Fat Tuesdays to get my first frozen margarita. Lydia got a virgin pina colada but she said it wasn't great and wouldn't get it again.

We passed the place where Five Guys used to be and I shed a little tear. I loved Five guys!! It's not the end of the world though, as we now have Five Guys here in Dublin, Ireland.

Day 2: Sunday 13th May
Lydia and I woke up very early so headed out for a walk. I knew the sunrise was at 6.44am so we headed to Whitestreet Pier to see it. However, there was no sun, it was cloudy, rainy thundery (this was to be a recurring theme throughout the trip).

 I had wanted to swim in the community pool in the morning however because of lightening it was closed. So instead we walked to Harpoon Harry's for breakfast. We sat outside and it soon started to pour down rain:

However, the breakfast we had was really nice and really filling. I would definitely recommend Harpoon Harry's for breakfast and I will go again next time I'm in Key West! 

We didn't know what to do now, as most of our plans had been made based on the expectation of sun. We started to walk to Duval Street but it was so rainy that we had to duck into a convenience store and purchase some overpriced ponchos. In fairness, they were good quality and we used them every day for the rest of the trip. 

We decided to pay into the aquarium since it was mostly indoors. We got a combo ticket for the aquarium and Hemingway's home. I would definitely recommend always buying combo tickets up front if you have plans to visit more than one attraction, you do save quite some money. 

In the aquarium we saw lots of fish, turtles, some baby aligators. My favorite part was when the guide was talking about all the different fish, where they live, what they eat etc. And then with one fish she just casually mentions 'And this one tastes great on a sandwich too!' :)

This fish tried to eat me!

We were so wet and miserable by the time the afternoon came :(

By the time we got home it had actually stopped raining! Although it was not sunny and still slightly cool we jumped in the pool at the first chance.

We stopped into 801 Bourbon Bar to see what the Drag Queen bingo was like: however we left almost straight away. I had expected it to be rude - but in a intelligent or even funny way... However, it was just offensive and tacky so we didn't stay.

Later we walked to Mallory square (stopping on the way so I could get a frozen margarita from Flying Monkey Saloon), but just like this morning there was no sun, so no sunset. I did get my first taste of the infamous 'Green Drink' though, it was great!

Day 3: Monday 14th May

Again we were up early so we took another morning walk, this time to the Southernmost point.

On our way back we saw the rain coming again

We were supposed to go out on Barefoot Billie's morning cruise today, but we received an email saying it was postponed until tomorrow. 

We went to Happy Hour in Alonzo's in the evening. This is one of our family's favorites: and such good value! The appetizer menu is good and all well drinks are half price.

Day 4: Monday 15th May
Again we were contacted to say that our morning cruise had been postponed until tomorrow. 

So instead we went for a walk. I passed Old Town Fitness. I had meant to find out where this was located, as my boyfriend who would be arriving later in the week had seen it on Instagram and wanted to train there.  

Despite our cruise being postponed due to bad weather, today was our first actual sunny morning! So  we started the morning by doing some laps of the MLK community pool and then we spent the whole day by our private pool.

 Our house had a bit of an infestation of iguanas...

For dinner Lydia and I went to Blue Macaw for Happy Hour:

Blue Heaven Happy Hour menu

Ahi Tuna Tatare


This was my first time going to Blue Macaw, and it was one of my favourite happy hours. The wings were tasty and the portion size was huge!

We walked to Mallory Square again and Lydia bought a cigar for her cat - That contained catnip! We also walked to the US Ingham boat but it was closed, it only opens on weekends. Usually when its opened it's $5 entry but you get one drink included and can watch the sunset from the boat.

Instead we just headed home and had an early night.

One of my favourite Key West buildings

Day 5: Tuesday 16th May
Again we were contacted again by Barefoot Billies, this time to tell us that due to lack of numbers our cruise was completely cancelled. 

We were disappointed but never mind. 

On my way to the community pool for my morning swim I picked up a bike at Tropical Rent a Car. The cost was $12 for 24 hours (you could also take one for $9 if you return it before 5pm) and then $9 for each extra day which we thought was quite reasonable. Lydia rented a bike too and we set off on our cycle to Stock Island. 

We stopped to have lunch at Taco Grilla - a food truck which i had found on Instagram and wanted to try.

We then went for a bit of a random cycle just checking out Stock Island. We had never been before (except just on the highway going to and from Key West) so it was interesting to see how the locals lived there. It seemed pretty run-down, there were no proper houses, only trailer parks. The good thing is there was no evidence of Hurricane Irma at all. I know the lower keys weren't his as hard as the middle keys but was still interested whether there would be any signs of damage.

We stopped off a Hogfish bar and restaurant then. This is a place that is always mentioned on Tripadvisor, saying its the best place to eat, you guessed it, hogfish! Since I don't eat fish I had a margarita instead and we shared a slice of  Key Lime pie. It was to visit see this kind of place, where there are a lot less tourists and much more locals.


When we got home our Mam wanted to go to the Waterfront playhouse to see a musical.

We walked down Duval towards it. It was quite wet, but I got myself a frozen margarita so I was quite content!

However, we hadn't even gotten there when the rain started to pour. and when I say pour, I mean POUR! There was the loudest thunder I've ever heard and lightening which I've only ever heard before in horror movies. The rain was coming down so hard the roads started to flood. We had taken shelter in a convenience store at the top of Duval, just accross form CVS. Mam and I also had lost Lydia for a while!!! Luckily we found her :)

I think I took this accidentally?! But I like it :)

We didn't know what to do: Wait here, try and walk home, call a taxi and hope it didn't take too long to come? when all of a sudden the Duval Loop bus turned and came down Duval street towards us! We flagged it down (probably we looked like crazy people shouting and waving!) and the driver let us on - which was really lucky as the bus doesn't normally serve Duval street, it normally goes down Whitehead. But since most of the streets were closed due to flooding here it was. So the driver brought us all the way back to South Street - Where there was a lot less flooding and the rain was starting to subside.

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