Aug 13, 2012





A Key West DISmeet


Even though we had had a rather long day the day before we were up pretty early. We contemplated getting ready and heading to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, but there were a lot of yummy things left from grocery shopping and since we wanted to take as little as possible with us, we decided to just indulge in the leftover treats. So, after having had a shower, we enjoyed some coffee on the balcony and then had some hearty breakfast in the room.

Around 9am we transported all our stuff down to the car and checked out of the hotel. We didn’t leave immediately but took a walk around the hotel and its grounds. It was beautiful and funny to watch the diving lessons in the pool. At around 10am we finally got in the car and after filling up the tank we started our drive towards Key West. I was on the lookout for Marker 88, a restaurant we wanted to try on the way back from Key West. We both love the drive over the many bridges to Key West and stopped ever so often to walk down to the beach or to walk up onto one of the sidewalks along the bridges. We took a lot of photos and then we decided that since we had our convertible, why not open it up and use it the way it was supposed to be.

It took quite some time to get to Key West and shortly before we arrived we received a text from our friend Joh and her family if we could meet earlier than we had originally planned. We texted her back that we were still a little way away and after a few texts back and forth we all decided to keep things the way they were.

So, when we finally arrived at Key West we decided to make a lunch stop at Denny’s before heading to check in. There was ample parking in front of the restaurant, so we closed the car and headed inside the restaurant. It looked funny as there were just a few people our age and the rest of the guests seemed to be “older”. But we were both pretty hungry, so we stayed. We were led to a booth near, with a view of the pool of the Holiday Inn this restaurant was a part of and soon our order was being taken. While I was sticking to my trusted Diet Coke, Tom wanted to try something different the Blackberry Orange Twist, Blackberry and Orange mixed with Sprite. Our drinks arrived very quickly and we were both happy to sit and enjoy them.

It didn’t take long at all and our entrees arrived. Tom had ordered the Midwest Meat and Potato Sandwich, which was a special from their “Tour America” menu. It was Grilled Prime Rib and Wavy cut French Fries, smothered in brown gravy, topped with Swiss and American cheeses and Mayo. It was served in a Cheddar bun with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy. I had opted for something a little lighter, the Avocado Chicken Caesar salad, grilled seasoned chicken breast, diced Avocado, crisp bacon crumbles and shredded Parmesan cheese on top of fresh romaine lettuce tossed with Caesar dressing and served with dinner bread.

We both enjoyed our lunch and once we were done we headed back to the car and finally made our way into Key West. A little later we finally arrived at the Southernmost at the Beach Hotel, parked our car and headed inside to check in. We were the only guests checking in at that time and were greeted in a very friendly way. Everything had been prepared beforehand, we were handed our room keys and the map, a voucher for the Southernmost Beach Café and off we went. We had the same type of room we had had the last time we had stayed there, it was just one building over. We headed upstairs with only hand luggage and took a look at the room.

It was as beautiful and peaceful as we had remembered it. So we went back to the car to pick up the rest of our luggage, put it in the room, sat out on the balcony for a while and relaxed, before we hurried back to our car to drive to a grocery store, to stock up on drinks and snacks. It took us about an hour to do our shopping and when we returned we had only little time left until we had to head back out to meet Joh and her family.

We freshened up, and changed and this is when we noted that even though we both had used sun protection, Tom had a gotten sunburned on his arms and legs. Finally ready to head out again, we picked up our gifts for Joh and made our way back to the car. It is only a short drive across the island and we were lucky enough to find a parking spot right across the restaurant we wanted to meet at. We were a little early, so we fed the meter and then strolled the area, before we decided to wait for them in front of the restaurant. It was fun to people watch and then we saw one of the trolleys rolling by and there was someone waving. They were here.

We hugged and it felt like we had known them all for a long time and then we learned about the incident that had happened earlier that day and had been the reason for the texts we had received earlier. While visiting the Hemingway House during the morning, Daniel had wandered off on his own to explore the grounds and had managed to slip and fall into Hemingway’s pond. He had been soaked and they had all considered going back to their hotel at Duck Key, but thanks to the blazing hot day, he had dried off again fast! So after learning about that we all headed inside Turtle Kraal for dinner. We were seated quickly and learned about the Turtle race that was about to be started and received our “support” tickets.

We all ordered our drinks and we shared a Bucket of bones, a sampling of their spare ribs. While they were tasty there were just enough to go around. Once we had finished them our mains came out. Tom ordered the BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich, which came with seasoned fries while I had the BBQ Pork Sandwich. They were both nice, but not what we had had three years ago. All of us were surprised that the sandwiches had come out only room temperature. I think I might have enjoyed it even more if the meat had actually been hot. While we were still munching our sandwiches, the turtle race was on and Daniel and Gary had winning tickets.

Having a winning ticket means that you go up to a treasure chest, choose a key and if it opens the lock, that days win was 400$. Daniel was happy and already planning on how to spend his win when he got in line, but unfortunately he didn’t win and neither did Gary. We sat and chatted, or tried to, as whenever we had a conversation going the announcer would be louder than anyone else.

After about 2 hours it was time to say goodbye, so I thanked Joh again for my present, a packet of my favourite tea from Fortnum's  in London, and some nice guy agreed to take a photo of all of us.Then there were the final hugs and goodbyes and we headed over to our car.We discussed stopping somewhere close to Duval Street, but then decided that we would drive to Publix to do some shopping for snacks and drinks instead before heading back to our hotel. It was still nice outside, so we grabbed some drinks and sat out on the balcony for a while. When we finally returned inside we watched an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hotel Hell” before deciding that it was time to go to bed.