Hello, and Happy Belated Valentine’s Day. I hope you all were able to be with or talk to someone you love yesterday.
My husband and I took a last minute trip to the Florida Keys as part of our anniversary/Valentine’s Day celebration. Our anniversary was in January but we kept pushing the trip back and finally, we made plans and went for it a few days ago. I had always wanted to go to Key West and tour the Hemingway House. So glad I got to do that! But before we got there, we meandered throughout the Keys, the top down on our little Mini-Cooper and the sunshine on our faces. The water was so blue and sparkling, it almost hurt to look at it. And the palms trees! Everywhere. Our first stop was in Marathon where we stayed at a lovely resort.
I think I’ve found my happy place! We sat in the comfy chairs by a little Tiki bar and I had a mojito and enjoyed the sunshine. I didn’t take any work with me and purposely left my laptop at home. This was the first trip in many years where our travels weren’t connected to a conference or reader event. I read a lot and we walked the beach and took a dip in the heated pool. Very refreshing. We saw iguanas, cats, and lots of birds. (We also so alligators on the way home through the Everglades.)
Next, we headed toward Key West and had just gone over a bridge with lovely mangrove islands on each side when we got the sad news that a friend back in Louisiana had passed away. It was tough to look at all that beauty and know we’d never see him again but our surroundings did bring us peace. We made it into Key West and found our hotel, a quaint older place but very comfortable and tropical.
This is my husband on the Seven Mile Bridge at sunset. What a lovely spot.
I have always loved conflicted cities. New Orleans, St. Augustine, Las Vegas. And now, Key West. There is such beauty and gracious about a place where everyone is friendly and laid-back and yet you sense an undercurrent of angst and agony floating just beneath the surface, like the sea life and seaweed floating underneath that shimmering water. We stayed near the Southern Most part of the island and walked the whole of Duval Street a couple of times. We watched sunsets and sunrises, me with my coffee in hand and my husband with his camera. Here are some more pictures:
When we finally made it to the Hemingway House, I was so excited but also kind of quiet since I wanted to soak it all in. Like the rebel I am, I didn’t want to follow along with the guided tour. I wanted to sit and look and take in the feeling of knowing Hemingway had been right here. We loved the cats and I enjoyed the lush gardens and seeing his office.
Of course, we had to have Key Lime Pie, several times in several different restaurants.
So there you have it. A quick overview of a wonderful, sunny trip with lots of fun moments and some sad and prayerful moments. But then, this city was so like we felt–conflicted. We’d lost a dear friend but we were on a grand adventure. Knowing our friend, he would have lifted his glass and told us to carry on. We will miss him but we’ll always remember being in such a beautiful spot, thus proving that God in his heaven truly created a wonderful world here and an even better one in eternity.