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Anyone who’s been to Key West knows how easy it is to fall in love with this Floridian city. While I was working on the ship, there was only one instance where Key West was actually part of the itinerary, but we ended up docking there twice more due to inclement weather (unfortunately, one of the days I didn’t get to get off the ship, and my heart hurt a little bit). One of my favorite things about the city is how close everything is. All the shopping, restaurants, landmarks, etc. that you’d want to go to are just a short walk or bike ride away. Plus, everyone I spoke to on the island city was so nice (with the exception of one man, but I’ll go into that story later).
If your ship docks early, your day obviously needs to start with breakfast. Y’all, when I tell you I had the best omelet of my life in Key West, I’m not even exaggerating. Both times that I visited Key West, I had breakfast at a restaurant called Two Friends Patio Restaurant, and they did not disappoint. I’m one of those people that likes to order daily specials if they sound delicious, and how could I possibly resist a crab omelet? I mean, come on. The potatoes were also scrumptious, and I couldn’t resist ordering a mimosa. My only complaint would be that they didn’t have any morning drink specials, but that also makes me sound like an alkie, so I take it back.
If you’re looking to get a henna tattoo, there are so many little stands set up around the city. I personally refused to dish out the money because it sounded overpriced to me, but if it’s something you’re into and something you’re willing to pay for, then go for it. My friend, Koko, got one, and the guy that did it was super friendly.
Shopping is aplenty in Key West. If you’re a bargain hunter like me, you can easily spend hours perusing all of the $5 shops spread throughout the city, and this is where my story of the one rude person comes in. While shopping with Koko, we had each just bought a few things from a $5 shop, and when we walked out of that particular one, there was another shop right next door, so we stepped in. The first thing Koko said was “I wonder why this one isn’t as busy.” This should have been a sign of things to come.
We ran into our friend, Sharene, and both of them were looking for bathing suits. There was a wall with bathing suits that had a sign that said “$5 each.” I thought this was kind of redundant because it’s a $5 store, but again, this should have been a sign of things to come. Koko only needed a top, and she found one she liked. Sharene found a top she liked, and she couldn’t find the matching bottom. We asked one guy about this, and he said that there was a stand that had 2 for $5 bathing suits, but if they bought the pieces they had in their hands, they would be $5 each. Okay. Easy peasy.
Another guy comes up to us, and he says the same thing. Sharene said she couldn’t find the matching bottom to her bathing suit. The guy “matched” it with a bottom saying that it went together when anyone looking at it could easily tell that they didn’t match. I asked if Koko could just get the top since she didn’t need the bottoms, and the guy literally lost it. He started yelling at me and telling Koko and Sharene that they shouldn’t hang out with such negative people. He kept calling me “Princess.” I sat there confused because all I did was ask a simple question, and he looked at me like I was the biggest idiot on the planet and then started going off on me. All three of us just walked out of the store, and he followed us into the street still saying rude things. Y’all. I was shaking. I was so mad because I didn’t do anything. I would understand if I had gotten an attitude with him, but I literally did nothing. It was so crazy. I wish I could tell y’all which store it was so I could recommend to never go there, but unfortunately, I left in a bit of a hurry.
Anyway…back to shopping. If you’re looking to shop in more familiar stores, there’s also Lilly Pulitzer, Life is Good, Gap, Banana Republic, etc. as well as several local stores that sell souvenirs, clothing, jewelry and so much more.
As far as visiting the local landmarks go, there are two recommendations I have for doing this. The first is to go on the Key West Old Town Trolley Tour. I didn’t personally do this, but if I had planned it out right and had more time, I would have. I’ve also had many friends recommend it. It’ll take you to all of the major places that you’d want to see on a visit to Key West, and you can do it at your own pace. It’s reasonably priced at around $30.
My second suggestion would be to rent a bike. If you enjoy riding bikes, then you would love riding a bike in Key West. I’m not sure what the normal price is, but for crew members, renting a bike was just $10 for the whole day. It was such a sweet way to see the city, and I could stop whenever and wherever I wanted. I visited the Key West Lighthouse (after a slight panic attack because I thought I lost my crew ID) and I went to the southernmost point in the U.S. aka Mile 0. I sat by the beach for a little bit and reflected on how much I love my life. I often do that when I visit the beach.
There are so many other things I wish I could have done while I was there. There are lots of museums and beautiful areas to explore. I’m glad I got to see a lot of the city on my bike, but if I ever find myself there again, I’ll definitely plan out my time better and do more adventuring.
Lastly, if you went to Key West and didn’t eat key lime pie, did you even go to Key West? The answer is no.
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Have you ever visited Mile 0?