|We leave Key Largo to pass though the rest of the keys to Key West. Our first stop is Islamorada MM 77.5 where we visit Robbie's marina. It's a conglomeration of little huts comprising a restaurant, shops, kayak rentals, boat trips and feeding the massive tarpon at the dock. We organise a kayak and plan to kayak through some of the mangroves. The hippy laid back man behind the counter that has the 'best tan ever' sets us up with a kayak and a map and off we paddle. All the mangroves look the same and we are petrified we are going to get lost so we stick to the shortest route on the map and only paddle for an hour. We have decided we are much better with a guide on these sorts of things so we look forward to the kayaking we have planned in the Everglades.
We head on to Marathon which is the next developed key to Key West. Again, it has the main highway passing through and unless you get off that road you don't see anything but shops, gas stations and the like. Lonely planet recommended having a Lobster Reuben (a lobster and cheese toasted sandwich with chips, of course) at Key Fisheries so we stop there right at the waters edge to 'share' one between us. We are getting wise to the portion sizes.
After Marathon we travel over the Seven Mile bridge which is 7 miles long surprise, surprise!! It is lovely travelling over the turquoise water but next to this bridge is the previous bridge which is rotting and falling down. Not a good look! Further along we cross many other keys with glimpses of the water but I would not class the drive along the Florida Keys as a 'pretty' drive. The views of water and nice marinas and houses are few and far between. It seems to get nice views and feel 'at one' with nature you need to get off the highway and visit a national park - they are truly spectacular.
To our surprise, we travel over Ramrod Key which is the home of one of one of our fellow travellers, a quite eccentric man named Peter who was on our China trip. Peter got the nickname Ramrod Pete because we had 3 Peters on that tour and we needed to differentiate between them. Ramrod only ate McDonalds in China and brought homemade sandwiches to last the first week. As I said, quite eccentric.
We arrive in Key West and leave the car at the Hotel to go walking to get a feel for the town. The houses are those beautiful wooden two storey houses with shutters and a porch, so it's a pretty place. The centre of town has nice shops and lots of bars and restaurants which front onto the marina/wharf area. Its attractive and a pleasant place to stroll. There are lots of artists in Key West and the town shows off their works in many galleries and there are lots of statues in the parks and squares around the city.
Tonight we eat at Seven Fishes restaurant which is just around the corner, I had chicken, banana and caramelised walnuts with vegetables. Yum. Phil had the tuna.