It´s been a week since I arrive back from my short trip, a really awaited one, as I was in New York for while without a routine and I reckon that I was a little bit blue. It was not only the desire of breaking with the city but also the aim of warm temperatures, apparently last months were the coldest in years.
The beginning of the trip was unbeatable, I was travelling with my mum but hidden in my sleeve it was a huge surprise, my sister, who we didn´t meet since November had arranged a last minute flight and was going to join us a couple of hours after our arrival.
Those who know me know that I really love to surprise my beloved ones, and that was an excellent opportunity to keep the tradition. As my sister flight was due to arrive three hours after ours, It was not possible under any excuse to stay at the airport until her arrival. The invention was to rent a car at the city, just next to our accommodation, but eventually I realize that I was mistaken and we had to pick it up back at the airport, just at the same gate my sister arrived, what a coincidence hahaha.
Even though, by the time we arrived back at the airport, my sister was not yet at the terminal, so in need of wasting more time I convinced my mother to have dinner at the airport before going for the car, not to mention that it was 7pm and we never have dinner before 9pm… but hunger is hunger, hahaha.
Everything was plain sail, once we finished my mother left for a second and that precise moment my sister appeared so what my mother first saw was myself hugging someone that she didn´t recognize at first, my sister. Great moment.
Anecdotes apart, my first impression of Miami excellent, people we met was quite helpful, friendly and talkative, there was no hint of the ‘Big Apple’ rush. Traffic was not the best, however, it was not very noisy, people seemed to be more patient.
Also the Skyline at night caught my attention, I heard beforehand that opposite to the other big cities, Miami lacked a symbol, an image of the city, however, for me the skyline in whole was beautiful. Every building was allocated were they belong, there were not huge shapes in the middle of nothing, or strong colors. The shape of the city was organized and the colors soft and elegant, nothing was quirky or randomly built.
We woke up… at our pace, the day was windy but sunny, and thanks to the blinds of the windows, inside was dark enough as to sleep tightly.
Around 12pm we arrive to one of the shopping areas of Miami Beach, Lincoln Road. It is an only pedestrians street, full of shops, stores, pubs, coffee shops, restaurants, you can find everything there. Apart from the stores, the street have small gardens, beautiful art deco buildings, palm trees, gardens, a couple of fountains, it is a pleasure to just wander around for a while.
After having a delicious Ice Cream at ‘The Frieze’, we took the car and head to South Miami Beach. To be honest, it was not the proper beach weather, as it was windy and a little bit cloudy, however, when you visit one of the most popular beaches of the USA, you have to swim, and so we did.
Beach is beautiful, white sand, a little rough, reckon, clear water facilities on the beach to amuse, and thanks to the weather mostly empty. When walking around afterwards we realize about the Lifeguard Posts, far from being the ‘Baywatch’ ones, the stereotype… Every single Post was decorated differently, with incredible and funny designs, what I think is a great idea.
I liked how lively the beach is, as just before sunset there were groups of people going for perform activities, or just get-together and chat.
We took the car and prepare for the longest excursion map out, we head to Key West, the Southernmost point of the USA, a ride of nearly 300 kms from Miami Beach. Ride was not boring at all as there were many spots to stop and admire the ocean, the small Cays on the way. The last 100 kms are over the water and the cays, which is impressive. The biggest is one of the bridges who stand for over 10km over the Ocean. The view from one of the sides is astonishing, that vast road with nothing down but water and posts.
We arrived to Key West at 2pm, just on time to discover a little bit the cay. The Island have a huge contrast between sides. There is a part enclosed to visitors as it is a Resort style place, whereas the other side is kind of a bohemian place, with lots of stores, backpackers and pubs.
After the not to miss picture at the spot accepted as the Southernmost point of the USA and where there is only 90 mile to Cuba… we head to one of the beaches we have just passed through to delight our senses with the sunset. While my mum and sis’ spent the evening talking and taking a nap, I tried to be a professional photographer doing all sort of weird pictures trying to catch the essence of the moment and fragility of the nature… the result was half an hour erasing pictures from my cellphone…
Day for one of the top rated attractions of Miami, The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
After paying the entrance, we got straight into the house leaving the gardens for the end, and… you know… I got a bit disappointed… Design of the house, decoration of the rooms, the placement, the bay, may be exceptional if you consider what’s around, or the architecture in USA, but for someone that comes from Europe… it is just an attempt to recreate the European art.
Starting by poor maintenance, it was quite dusty, furniture was allocated for the visitors in many rooms, not recreating the way they were back at their times… It was terribly cold, promise, if you go to visit, bring a jacket however the weather is outside.
Anyway, the boat as a wave breaker, and at some point, the gardens were nice.
From there we went for lunch to a place in the Downtown, ‘Pincho Factory’. A place with a different hamburger, instead of the bread bun commonly used, they have a burger with a plantain as a bun… just a smashed banana… We decided to give it a try.
The banana doesn’t have a strong sweet flavor, just the perfect point of sweetness to fit the burger. It was a very good one, If you made it to Miami and are bored of the typical burger, try this one.
To end the day, we went to Biscaine Cay, which is actually a National Park, only accessible by road. The cost of the entrance is 8$ per car, or 2$ for bicycle and motorbike.
Such a pity that the day was cloudy as we couldn’t appreciate properly the area, but it is a great place were to spend a picnic day, with bbq, restrooms, bay walkaway, fishing areas, fields. There is a beautiful beach, with nothing but water at the horizon. To point out about the beach is the lighthouse, it is supposed that it is a haunted one, and the arrange night tours to encounter its mysteries.
Oh, beware when you enter the restrooms, some raccoons tend to enter in and it is quite shocking to find out that you are not alone, hahaha.
As the day was forecasted sunny we decided to go to the Everglades National Park, a reserve of the biosphere for its wildlife and nature richness. Vast fields of vegetation over the water, at some points you don’t even see the water. A wide range of wildlife, Pelicans, alligators, crocodiles, manatees, quite impressive, however, being winter season, they were mostly hibernating. Furthermore, the installations were not at their best as the hurricane a couple of months ago damaged heavily some of them.
I strongly recommend the visit, as in different conditions, you can easily spend the whole day over there, it is beautiful to admire nature ‘untouched’, at his own. There are different tours guided by the rangers of the park. There are also wind boats to discover the rivers and mangrove.
Not to be missed is the sunset, the colors over the nature are beautiful, and during spring or summer you can watch the birds coming back to their nests, a delight for the sight.
By the end of the day we decided to visit Ocean Drive, the main street of Miami Beach, sort of the image of the city. And it is not by chance, the whole street it’s a sample of the things Miami Beach are best known for. Art Deco buildings, beautifully colored with vintage light decoration. A variety of fancy cars, from old ones with an excellent level of conservations, to modern top cars, Ferrari, McLaren… And to finish, the most fancy clubs in Miami, those exclusive where just the well off can access.
Just an advice, beware of pickpockets, apparently there are some in the area mixed between tourists and locals, we can tell…
Bayside Park, it is a park with lots of stores, the best place to buy some souvenirs, and many other stores and restaurants. There is also a stand next to the harbor were different bands perform all over the day and you can just sit and enjoy, or dare to dance at the rhythm of salsa.
The views from here of the CBD are incredible, best place to take some good shos of the city.
For lunch time, different choices, but to point out, if you like movies and more precisely Forrest Gump, here you can find out one of the restaurants of the Bubba Gump Company. I was lucky to try it when in Tokyo with a huge fan, and recommend the experience, from merchandising to movie been played while eating. Also the menu has resemblances with the movie, a great experience.
Our next stop was Little Havana, the part of the city with bigger Cuban resemblance. To be honest I haven’t been yet in Cuba, but the street captivated me. From the decoration of the buildings to the people, everything is so festive and relaxed. Many restaurants have live music, and in some other places you can find people playing on the street, playing what? Salsa, of course.
Where there was people playing, there was a group of people listening and some even dare to dance with them, so great. The majority of the restaurants are Cuban Style, Venezuelan, Mexican, a great sample of food from those places, you feel adventurous, you won’t be disappointed.
Time to finish, many things done in a short time, and what can be better than relax on a cruise while they show you the fancy islands of Miami, those only accessible for owners, who are people like, Sylvester Stallone, David Beckham, Will Smith, Ricky Martin… Not bad, aye… It can be better, from here is where you can better admire the night skyline of the city, worth the trip.
Our last full day as Monday Mum and me were flying and my sis’ sadly was leaving us at night.
We decided to have a break day, just to enjoy together more than rushing around pressurized by the time. So it was shopping day and we end up at the beach. Day was bad so we didn’t have a swim, but it was a great way to relax before leaving to drop my sister off at the airport.
In short, our stay was very nice and fun, I liked so much the city, so lively, full of color, with friendly and warm people, a pretty much relaxed life. I was surprised by the fact that it is further more than just beach, you have plenty of things to do at the city or around. I´d love to visit it again and discover new things and enjoy better weather to have the best of it.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the post and find it useful. Do not hesitate to share your impressions or advices of the city. Even, if you want some further info, email me and I’ll try to help you.
Kisses for ladies, hugs for gentlemen.