The Everglades, Key West and Miami in February

If you are longing for a little sunshine in the winter, Florida is close and warm. Miami has a kind of Metropolitan skyline miami skylineplus some pretty nice beaches (too cold to swim).

early in the morning beachYou can eat well in Little Havana, especially ice cream (Rory had mango ice cream and I had Abuela Maria with cream cheese, guava and Marie cookies)little havana zuccero-- look at wonderful Art Deco buildings like the old Biltmoreand take a silly picture with a large chicken.But the real joy of Florida is the Everglades, thousands of acres of fresh water sea grass (look for the white bird), saw grass with egretsalt lagoons,pelicanand brackish wetlands, with many many animals. We parked in the Shark Valley lot that recommends tarps on your car to protect it from black vultures who for some reason like to tear apart the rubber trim on your car and then we proceeded out in to the wild.tarpThis is the only place in the world where the range of the salt water American crocodile and the fresh water alligator overlap. Here is Esmeralda, who travels south to mate and comes back north to hang out–kind of a snowbird.crocHer counterpart alligator, I call him Hank, likes to nap on tourist walkways and digest his last meal very slowly, over a week or so.alligator 3The tram and boat rides, plus the bike and walking paths go right by the animals who are not the least concerned, such as the great blue heron,blue heronthe anhinga spreading his wings among the mangrove tree roots,  anhinga 2and the giant egret. egretI especially wanted to see manatees and though they are pretty shy, they like to hang around the piers in Flamingo Park.manatees 3manatees 2Even our nearby hotel sported wildlife.ducksWe spent a couple of days in Key West, which is very beautiful–an archipelago of little islands where the sea is on both sides of you.

key west viewWe ate a lot of fish at fish shacks, fish shackpiers pier food key westand real restaurants where they serve conch.conchWe also experimented with key lime pie wherever we could.key lime pieAll in all, it was a pretty nice trip and I wouldn’t have missed the Everglades for anything. I will always remember Hank and Esmeralda.





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