Florida road trip – Day 12 (Key West to Miami)

We just couldn’t help ourselves. It had to be done. On our penultimate day before the day of the return flight, while driving from Key West to Miami, we couldn’t stop ourselves from going back to our favourite part of this highly enjoyable road trip. No, we didn’t go back up to Universal Studios or the Kennedy Space Center. We loved Naples, but I think we loved Key West even more. We certainly didn’t want to go back to the motel from hell at Sarasota in the pouring rain! No, the best part for us – and not by far, it has to be said – was the Everglades. There was one thing we had omitted that we were told was a “must”, so we had to go back and to try it – an airboat ride through the swamps at an alligator sanctuary.

Now this is where things didn’t quite meet our expectations. As we were about to embark our vessel with about 20 other eager explorers, we were told to put on ear muffs. Why? Well, the sound of the boat’s motor would be deafening. For me, from hereon in, the writing was on the wall. Stealth (one of the most important attributes of the wildlife observer) was clearly not on the agenda. As we cut through the swamp, announcing our arrival in high volume well in advance, all the wonderful creatures that we had hoped to see took cover, never to be seen. We saw a couple of small alligators, the top of a turtle and an iguana in a tree at the beginning and end of the trip when our boat was travelling slowly, but that was all. Not even a dragon fly. Even the mosquitos were probably scared away.

But this wasn’t a problem. There were other things to enjoy on the sanctuary, and we then continued our trip to Miami. I’ve always wanted to stay, or even live, in a high rise apartment in a US city, overlooking (and looking up to) the high-rise buildings. I used to love the idea of Frasier Crane’s accommodation at Seattle in the well-known sitcom, Frasier. We had booked just that for the final two nights of our journey, overlooking the city of Miami and with a sea view. When we arrived, we found that the place we had booked at Lyx Miami Suites was spectacular beyond anything we could have hoped for. So I’m sitting here on the balcony writing this blog with a glass of wine, overlooking the lit-up night skyline of Miami surrounded by electric storms. After a close encounter with a lightning bolt in the Everglades a few days ago (a terrifying 20 metres or so away), I feel a little safer in the city with the protection of the skyscrapers. Our balcony faces eastwards towards the sea. I plan to be up at 6am tomorrow to watch the sunrise.

If you’d like to know more about our story or read our book, I’M NEVER ILL (A journey through brain surgery and beyond…), please visit our website:

http://www.markdpritchard.co.uk

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