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Key West Florida – The Southern most place in the United States

Monday February 1, 2016 – Key West Florida

Our ship – Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam arrived at the location of the Southern most point in the United States, Key West Florida, the first port of call on our 2016 Caribbean Vacation!  All that mattered was that our Cruise had officially begun!  Our plans for this day consisted of renting bicycles – and not much else.  We knew that bikes were a great way to get around on the island… and that we wanted to be able to escape Tourism Street USA….  at least for a while.  Yes we had been here before….

We selected this cruise because of our favorite Cruise Ship entertainer Greg Gallello who would be playing in the Piano Bar EVERY Night!  We set it up to be a Fan Club Cruise and anyone that booked in our Group Rates would save at least $200 per person and would also receive the Greg Gallello Fan Club promos!  Promos included onboard spending money, 2 bottles of wine in your stateroom, a Fan Club T and Music.  Greg is the Best Piano Bar Entertainer out there!  See for yourself – watch the video at the bottom of the post!  Since we had just started the Fan Club this year our Group was small to start with and then Peggy and Dave had to cancel…..  We would not have picked Key West as a destination – but Greg’s ship was going there as were we!  Rob, Suzee, Will and I set out to enjoy a beautiful day in the hot sun!

We had not reserved bicycles because last time we rented bikes there they had not been very good bikes, so we decided that we would wing it, so we could at least see the bikes first.  We had not even planned or found a location that we were headed to – so just headed into “Disney Land” (as Will called it) looking for a bike rental shop.

Will thought it was cool that chickens seemed to run wild!

After poking around a bit – we decided to ask for directions to a place.  They pointed us up Duval Street, on the left at the intersection with Caroline St.  The shop we found was just off the corner behind a building that was kitty corner from an open air bar called “The Bull”..  Sunshine Scooters is a little stand on the sidewalk and the bikes were all out on display.

Right away we could see that they were nice bikes and they had four of them!  The best part is that they were only $12 for four hours!  We didn’t even have to think about it, we rented them and took off!

I had this idea that we should head strait for the ocean!  After all we were on a small island and so far had not seen the beautiful sea…  The bike rental shop gave us a map and right away I could see that it was feasible to ride the perimeter of whole island!  There was a seaside road the whole way!  Seems beautiful right?  We headed strait up Duval Street, casually looking for that “Southern most Point” marker that we remembered….  We spotted it off to the right and decided it was a must do photo opp!  But there was no way we were waiting in that line….  and the lighting was better for a picture on the back side anyway!

Ok – we can hold hands… they won’t care about that 🙂

Rob had not yet settled in to his “Vacation” – there were four of us so compromise was definitely required…  I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity for exercise, not just tool around on bikes.  So I made the executive decision that we would ride the perimeter of the island.  I was in possession of the map and could clearly see that it was possible… so I lead the way. I don’t think Rob thought I knew what I was doing… But I was confident that we would do a counter clockwise loop from the southern most point marker.

There seemed to be a Bike/Pedestrian path through an area with waterfront condos (notice I didn’t say beachfront, we didn’t see a beach) we felt more comfortable riding on the path whenever possible, but in many places it was muddy.  I thought I had taken a video of our ride, but I was unable to find it when putting together this post.  Every now and then Rob would ask “are you sure we don’t want to turn around?”….

The weather was hot and sunny so we quickly learned that it was best to keep moving.  The edge of the water was anything but beach….  We did see a Blue Herron so stopped to visit him….  He was quite willing to be photographed!  This section of waterfront was stinky…  so we moved on!

As we made the curve to the left across the short dimension of the island the water became very shallow and you could see fish and garbage in it easily… but turning was a good thing…  and then it wasn’t long before we curved left again heading back toward the ship….  Everyone was happy to feel like we were past half way!  I could see that Suzee was pretty sweaty so I suggested that we stop to re-apply sunscreen and it was a good thing we did or she would have been CRISP after day 1 of our Caribbean trip.

As we rode the length of the top of the island we were disappointed to find Home Depot and TJ Max…  like what did we expect we were still in the United States.  We rode up and over the Palm Avenue Causeway and then had to pause to wait because Will had fallen behind…  later he reported that he had ridden his bike into a vehicle… omg – glad no one was hurt and nothing was damaged!

Soon we had returned to Tourism Town and we didn’t want a Cheeseburger in Paradise at all….  we were thirsty and had to wander through the shops to get back to the ship…  and OMG – we found Adult Capri Sun’s!!

Wine Pouches! Make my day!

We wove our way through the shopping area trying to find where we had come from…  we were just about back to the pier when we looked up to find some stone faces looking back at us from atop the piers at the Key West Museum of Art and History.  Each was different!  We always stop to enjoy the architect

After enjoying these Rob noticed a public orgy, and decided to join the fun!

We paused one last time before getting back on the ship to check our business email – I handed off a client to an associate travel agent – in hopes that she could help them as we would be gone all week and it really is not easy to conduct booking activity on the ship because the internet that we rely on there is really slow… and costly.  We always serve our Architecture clients while on board because we can talk to them on the phone or just send a quick reply to an email….  Searching for the perfect vacation for someone really needs better internet than we have on a ship.  But if you ever need us – don’t hesitate to try, we have friends that can help you if we can’t.

It’s always a good feeling to get back on board after a hot day in port.  You can belly up to a bar in the shade or cool off in the pool, or even take a nap in your room or on a pool deck…  We always hang out on the deck and watch Sail Away….  See what it’s like watch the video!  The huge ship has to navigate away from the dock and head out to sea!

Then shower and get ready for dinner.  After Dinner >>> Piano Bar!

The Greg Gallello Fan Club Cruise was awesome, and the man himself had invited a friend to spend the week on board! Greg and Morgan had met about a year ago when she was visiting her sister who was a Dancer on board the ship! They must have met on the Eurodam – as that’s where Greg was last year (in 2015)… we were there too, but not on the same voyage as Morgan… surely we would have met! This is exactly why we began the Fan Club Cruises, because what if all of Greg’s biggest Fans were all on the SAME voyage? How much fun would that be??? There would be so much love in that room…. Greg and Morgan ran through “When the Stars go Blue” one night after hours – practicing for her guest performance later in the week….. Beautiful Girl with a lovely voice!

Stay tuned for more Guest Vocalists – there was a new one almost every day during the Fan Club Cruise!  Join the Fan Club to be sure to be notified of the 2017 Group Cruise!  CLICK HERE

Rob and Lynn Belles are seasoned travelers and Cruises Inc. Travel Agents

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