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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Key West

Key West
Hot, hot, hot!

We left early in the morning and drove from Marathon Key down to Key West, a distance of 48 miles.  On this trip, we used WAZE which is great for traveling distances.  It probably took an hour and half to get there and there are beautiful views along the whole ride.  We parked just outside of St. Mary's Church of the Sea where it was free parking.  We found a visitor's center and obtained a map.  We headed to Mile 0 and took a photo there, then headed towards the Cuban Mile Marker - the obligatory Key West photo.  From there we toured Ernest Hemingway's House, author of "Old Man and the Sea", "Farewell to Arms" and many more.  He had an interesting life - 4 wives, one of which lived with him here at Key West.  She built a pool that was considered a huge luxury at the time and it cost almost as much as the house.  When Hemingway returned, he gave her a penny and said, "You might as well take my last cent."  She had it paved into the deck that surrounds the pool.  In Hemingway's lifetime, he had a cat named Snowball with 6 toes.  There are currently 54 cats that live on the premises and they are all over the house, the grounds and the gift shops.  Sure enough, many of the cats that we saw had 6 toes.  There is even a cat cemetery.  Hemingway wrote almost half of his writings here at Key West.  He had a great writing studio above the storage house out back.  In his time, he had a catwalk that led from the bedroom to the studio.  After Hemingway's house, we rode the Old City Trolley around town which gave us a great overview of the city and the driver told of the history/buildings/etc.  We walked into the Florida Keys Discovery Center and the Reef Relief center.  Both are free and dedicated to preserving the sealife and habitats around the keys.  It was so hot for us walking around that we decided not to stay much longer in Key West.  We headed towards our car and walked inside St. Mary Star of the Sea.  It's a beautiful church, yellow walls, stained glass windows, Mother Mary looking out the front window, and through the open windows we could hear the birds outside.  Outside is a grotto that was built by a nun.  She said that as long as the grotto stood, Key West would not be destroyed by a hurricane.  Key West has not had a major hurricane or major storm since it was built.  We also walked into the Key West cemetery.  The trolley driver told us of two interesting headstones.  A hypochondriac had this put on her headstone, "I told you I was sick."  Another was a headstone placed by a man's wife.  The man had a history of sleeping around so when he died, his headstone read "I know where you're sleeping tonight."  He got so many visitors and notoriety that the wife had it removed and supposedly threw it into the sea.  We drove back to Marathon and went to Dockside restaurant to celebrate Scotty's birthday with a seafood dinner and drinks and ended with a sunset view near Curry Hammock State Park.

Chickens really are all over the city.

Loved this view - a Habitat for Humanity house on the left, and possibly
an old church on the right.

Apparently the owner of this truck has won many awards in the Key West parades.

The motto of Key West, that we're all equals.

Hemingway's house.

Hemingway brought home a urinal from Sloppy Joes, when the bar was renovating as he thought
it would be perfect for his cats.  His wife was horrified and added tiles to it, and the large
Spanish urn as a water fountain.

Hemingway's studio.  If I were a writer, I'd love a studio like this!

This fat cat was quite comfortable on a high shelf in the gift shop.

Posing nicely for my photo.

St. Mary Star of the Sea

Markers for the nuns that have died from this church.

Key West Cemetery (it was way too hot to walk all over the grounds here).

a Pine Key deer


A goldfish???

We saw an alligator!

Birthday drinks for Scotty! :)

Can you see the head poking out?

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