marți, 26 aprilie 2011

The Seven Miles Bridge @The Dragon


As you know me, or imagine about me, I can't be a former governor and actor fan. But too much HBO made me seeing some of his movies. And made me aware of one of America's icon constructions: The Seven Miles Bridge linking two of the many many islands leading from Miami to Key West. So, gain, when planning for South Florida trip this was one of my points to visit. I actually intended to reach Key West .

So day #2 in Florida meant a trip to the keys. I was well placed again, with my motel at the last cross road in Homestead before hitting the long line to Key Largo, the first one of the keys on South Dixie Highway. Planning was bad though on a higher scale as Klaus, my colleague joining from Austria a day before, was way up north in Miami Beach. So I started the day by going the opposite direction and adding some 120 km to the days mileage. It turned to be a 600 km driving day anyway.

Before hitting the road we took a detour in central Miami Beach for a Sunday food fair which turned to be a big fuss with no food except a 3 USD fresh lemonade glass. So it was about 10:30 when we laid on the road to hit for the keys. Key West was already very very far away. 

But it was Sunday anyway, the sun was up, clear sky and no evaluation on hitting a certain point was at horizon :) So, we decided to stop in Key Largo, the first and the biggest of the Keys and check John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It was a revelation.

We went canoeing !!!! I never experience this, but Klaus suggested it and he was sooo right. I had a great time. Of course it would have been better if I was not proud enough on my skin pigment and courageously leave my sun protection cream in the car. Imagine a canoeing trip at 33 C on clear sky in a metal canoe. The sun literally burned everything visible under my T shirt and short. I had to buy baby protection ointment later on a suffer for 2 days before calming down. But pictures taken were great and I don't regret it. And yes, if you don't have it, invest in a polarizing filter for your lens.

After 2 hours canoe we were craving for a bath in the ocean and we did this for 30 min cutting our feets in the rocks as we did not have any slippers. But the place was peaceful and calm

It was already afternoon and we had no clear plan. We kept driving, key after key. There are 4500 islands in Florida archipelago, most of them name keys after Spanish cayo - small island. Key Largo is the biggest and, west to Key West, all are linked by bridges. Key Largo is luxurious, with very nice houses, restaurants and resorts. We noticed, after 4 or 5 keys that everything became poor. Low quality constructions (if any), few people around, deserted. then we realize that the pretty ocean & sky colors that we see around can rapidly and often became dark grey when hurricanes strike. It was a place not avoided by God's fury.

We stop then and there as I was spotting a good place to shoot the ocean and take advantage of the lowering light. It was already late when we hit the seven miles bridge between Knight's Key and Little Duck Key. It is definitely impressive but not really photogenic. But the sensation of having ocean back, front and sides is overwhelming. Photographically, I was more impressed on the remaining of the Overseas railroad which operated to Key West between 1912 an 1935. Now is deserted (hope they will find the money to refurbish it) and reminds me of a scene from I, Robot (I know, I have seen too many movies).

Eventually we decided to go back and I guessed no further than 50 km away of Key West. We hit the bridge again and Klaus spotted a restaurant right at its end. We took out and we found this place

which turned to be a rather nice place with steak size sushi and cold drinks (not that I would be afraid of not finding cold drinks in America: they served us Coke on the rocks in Grand Canyon at minus 20 in December). And we finished the daytime period on the terrace watching the sun going under the bridge.

The rest is just the history of my life, having to drive safely back, stomach full, deadly tired. I ended the day at 2:00 AM in the morning, reaching the hotel after driving the last 30 minutes when I had to literally slap my face to not fall asleep while still in motion. 

That was it for today. There is still one more day to tell you about and, if you are still interested, don't miss it tomorrow because the most amazing pictures are still to come.

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