day five & six
Day Five - We stopped for brunch at the best brunch place in the world, then headed into Key West to secure a hotel room at the Key Lodge & do the evening tourist thing in the party zone.
We stopped for brunch at MM 20, at a little spot called Mangrove Mama's. We were shown to a table outdoors and were greeted by a lovely garden atmosphere and bright sunshine. For our listening pleasure, a "rastaman" attended with steel drums.
M opted for the stone crab claws and eggs, I went for the eggs benedict with prime rib. Add hash browns, tons of black coffee, and mimosas and you've got the best brunch ever!
Riding to Key West from Mangrove Mama's was an adventure, with lots of abandoned cars and trucks near the side of the road to admire. We were anxious to get into town and get a hotel for the night, if we found a vacancy.
The streets in Key West are teeming with cars and people. This was by far the most commercial aspect of the Keys that we experienced. After camping and roadtripping for day, we were definitely anxious for civilization, a shower, a bed with sheets, a pool and a night of partying downtown.
Traffic in downtown Key West was heavy but surprisingly relaxed and smooth. Waving palm trees lines the streets and the bright sunshine smiled on us as we headed into town.
The Key West Lodge Hotel were our digs for the night. We checked in around 100pm - after our wonderful brunch at Mangrove Mama's and tour of the downtown area that morning, we needed to hit the bed. And hit it we did, in decisive fashion (t minus 10 minutes)! Stepping out of our door into the courtyard pool area, we dove in for a quick swim before readying for dinner.
The hotel was right at the edge of the downtown area near the beach and party central, a great spot. Nearby we had several fresh juice bars and across the street we bought M a new necklace and a very special pipe. A few more blocks down the street found a fully stocked shop with everything we needed - we helped ourselves to a few crucial items before heading back to Chicago on Monday.
Day Six - After driving at top speed for four hours, we arrived at the Miami airport at 5pm for a 5pm flight and missed our plane (Laura thought it left at 530pm, it left at 500pm - whoops!!). So we got on a nonstop and arrived earlier than expected in Chicago.
Our last night in the Keys included dinner in Key West. This was the first time that we talked about getting married - Michael asked "when are we going to talk about it?" and I replied by screaming and putting my hands over my mouth. :-) The rest, as they say, is history.
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