If you are longing for a little sunshine in the winter, Florida is close and warm. Miami has a kind of Metropolitan skyline plus some pretty nice beaches (too cold to swim).
You 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) 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), salt lagoons,and 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.This 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.Her counterpart alligator, I call him Hank, likes to nap on tourist walkways and digest his last meal very slowly, over a week or so.The 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,the anhinga spreading his wings among the mangrove tree roots, and the giant egret. I especially wanted to see manatees and though they are pretty shy, they like to hang around the piers in Flamingo Park.Even our nearby hotel sported wildlife.We 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.
We ate a lot of fish at fish shacks, piers and real restaurants where they serve conch.We also experimented with key lime pie wherever we could.All 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.