Our first stop on the way to Antarctica was Miami. We stayed three nights to help split up the flights south. We rented a new Buick Enclave for a couple of days and woke up early on our first morning for a long road trip from Miami through Key Largo and all the way south to Key West. We had clear skies and warm weather and were surprised by the ridiculously long bridges that connect all of the tiny islands. The old decommissioned bridges that ran parallel to the highway were lined with all sorts of birds waiting, just like a number of people, for easy fishing out of the tropical waters below. It is a scenic drive and a great road trip. We had lunch near the southern most point of the USA at an awesome little place called Banana Café. I had a delicious savoury crepe with sautéed apples, warm chevre and caramelized pecans as we ate outside on the rooftop patio. We enjoyed the town’s laid back feel and warm climate. After some exploring and sharing a shaved ice on the beaches we returned to Miami. It was about six hours of driving for the round trip. It was long, but I’m glad we did it.
The following day we ventured into downtown Miami before heading over to South Beach. We had brunch at a popular café along Ocean Drive, right across from the park that leads to the enormous beaches. There were swimsuit models across the street offering plenty of eye candy while doing a photo shoot. It was actually chilly that day and we weren’t dressed warm enough, but it was nothing a shopping excursion on Collins Drive couldn’t fix. Even with the cold wind there were still a few brave topless sunbathers on the beach. That evening we went back to Coral Gables for dinner along the Miracle Mile. The previous night we had found a fantastic place but it was packed and we couldn’t get in. It was worth returning for the tender BBQ pork ribs and the key lime pie.