Days 1 and 2: Miami and South Beach

View from hotel room balcony. Note: you can click on any picture to see it larger! You may have to click and then click on it again.

First: I want to thank all my guests last week for filling in while I was off on vacation. I hope you had a great time reading their posts! Now on to the great stuff!

I woke up at 5 am on Saturday (Dec 11). It’s a new thing my body has decided to do since the time change. We were already mostly packed but there were the odds and ends that had to be done before we took off for the week.

Our tradition is to go to IHOP for breakfast before heading off to the airport. We left around 10:30 am. There was a bit of a wait but we still had plenty of time to kill before catching our 2 pm plane. Breakfast was great and I stuffed myself silly.

After breakfast we moseyed to the airport. After much debate on how to get there, we finally decided to just drive and parking in remote parking. Turns out, it was the same cost as taking a shuttle or a cab. I ended up having to check The Dress because it was too fat to be a carry-on. I sweated about it the entire time we were on the plane (about a 2 1/2 hour flight).

In this picture to the left, this is another view from the hotel room balcony. You can see the cruise ships in the distance.

We landed in Miami around dinnertime. Miami International reminded me much of DFW International. They had the same stark look about them. Heading for the baggage claim area was a big adventure. As we were walking through the airport, I was busy texting (of course) and didn’t realize I had stepped onto a moving sidewalk. I, naturally, lost my balance and nearly bought it. Luckily, the Man was standing right behind me and was able to stabilize me. 🙂 It seemed like a mile walk to get to the claim area.

We stood there for an hour waiting for the thing to start. They were having technical difficulties it seemed. FINALLY we got our bags – and I was relieved to see The Dress had arrived unscathed. After that, it was into a cab to the hotel where we could decompress some. We made our way downstairs after resting up for a bit for some dinner. Primo’s was an Italian place and I had this yummy chicken pesto flatbread pizza.

Since I got up early that morning, I crashed fairly early…

…and woke up early the next morning. Man was not amused. However, we got a jump start on the day. We were headed to South Beach to see what it was all about. According to the concierge, we could catch the #2 bus to South Beach, get off and walk about a block and there we would be. The bus station was only a short walk from the hotel and it only cost $2.00 each. Better than a $12 cab ride we thought. When we got to the bus station, it turns out there were several #2 buses and we ended up on one that didn’t exactly take us where we wanted to go. Luckily we had a walking map and Man knew where to get off before it was too late. The downside of that was, it wasn’t in the best part of town and we had to walk about 11 blocks before getting where we really wanted to be.

However, we did make it to South Beach finally. It’s a cool place, actually, and it was a lovely warm day. We walked all up and down Ocean Drive and saw all the historic places. We even stopped at a sidewalk cafe for some Cuban food, which wasn’t all that great (sadly). We made a stop at the beach, too. I’m not normally a beach person but I can see why people love the place and want to live there. The water was chilly (no swimming for us) but I did stick my toes in it. 🙂

We managed to find a Starbucks near Miami Beach and headed in for some much-needed rest and refreshment. We hung out there and rested our feet for a while, then caught a cab back to the hotel. Once we got back and offloaded our souvenirs, we decided to head back out to downtown. I had it in my head I wanted to see the Challenger Memorial marked on our map in downtown Miami. We discovered they had a monorail system and it was free.

So, being brilliant as we are, we decided to give it a try. A local told us how to get where we wanted to by switching trains. However, the people on the train were, ah, interesting and colorful. One approached us and asked for money. Most of them were vagrants riding the trains back and forth looking for handouts.

We got off the train and headed downtown in search of this mysterious memorial. We had a difficult time finding it and walked all over downtown until we finally discovered it. It was, shall we say, underwhelming. I was disappointed to see it didn’t have any sort of marker other than the names of the astronauts killed. No plaque to tell what it symbolizes or anything. Not even the year it happened.

By then, we were a bit delirious from walking not to mention exhausted. Rather than catch another train back to the hotel (and since we were losing daylight), we snagged a cab and headed back to the hotel for the night. Oh, and I’d taken my pedometer with me on the trip. For Sunday (Dec 12), I walked 15,000 steps. That equates to about 7 miles. No wonder we were exhausted!

But it was a really good day. 🙂

Tomorrow: Day 3 and leaving the Port of Miami!

On South Beach

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.