On the way home from Key West, Day Five

Well, I wish I had a picture of the donuts David bought us this morning: raspberry cream, cinnamon, bourbon-bacon, blackberry, peach – hand made at an artisan bakery nearby.  I believe David posted them somewhere (Facebook? Instagram?).  We packed up our things, took our last pictures and said goodbye to our third-story balcony and set out for home.

A new experience for some of us for lunch – I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it’s across from The Moorings in Islamarada.  No, not the Fish Company, but next door.  We loved our salads.  Then, just for fun, we drove into The Moorings for a look around.

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Dining on the sand, Upper Keys

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Just before we moved inside – yes, too hot outside, even in the shade.

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Good salads!

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Key West, Day Four

Sunday morning church for David and the Dentons, after which we walked to the White Tarpin bar for lunch on the wharf. Wandering and relaxing out of the heat in the afternoon (chatting, playing computer games, reading, looking for dinner restaurants and napping, variously).  We had an excellent dinner at The Commodore, yellow tail in a cream sauce, salmon with hollandaise, prime rib, shrimp scampi, all rich with butter and cream – oh my. Our table overlooked the marina – a fine way to top off our trip. Nancy, Bonell and David stopped on the way home for ice cream.

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You can belly up to this bar at BO’s Fish Market from right on the sidewalk.

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Key West church (not the church they went to)

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Nancy took this picture of David on the way home from church.

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Lunch at the White Tarpin Spirits bar

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Lots of abandoned bikes become works of art here.

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This rooster is getting to know us. He lives in a parking lot behind BO’s Fish Market.

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Look in the attic window.

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Dinner at the Commodore

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Dinner at the Commodore

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At the Commodore

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At the Commodore

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On the wharf after dinner

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David’s picture of St. Paul’s at night. This is the church they attended this morning.

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Key West, Day Three

Serious lounging again in the morning, then we walked to Alonzo’s for lunch (excellent, by the way, and very good service). We figured out the recipe for granny smith coleslaw: a small bag of coleslaw mix, chopped granny smith apples sprinkled with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown, and some celery seed dressing – yummy!) We each went our separate ways after lunch, which included rum-tasting at a distillery for some, naps for others. Whoa, was it hot though. Thank God for a/c and the pool.  Manga Manga for dinner, then David, Joyce and I walked a few blocks for more frozen custard. Okay, we’ll resume dieting later.

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Dog o’ the band, hot afternoon in Key West

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Key West house (or church?)

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Key West is shifting from bicycles to mopeds. Park your bicycle for too long and it becomes decoration – as so many things in Key West.

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Pretty porch pots

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Just after lunch at Alonzo’s

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Stepping out, Joyce wears her new T.

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Key West Rum Distillery Signage

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Key West, Day Two, July 17

We lounge on our third-story porch with coffee and banana bread in the (relative) cool of the morning, waiting for Nancy and Bonell to arrive.  David swims with his friends while the rest of us wander Duval Street and stop for lunch at Caroline’s Cafe.  Oh, it’s hot, but we walk along the waterfront boardwalk making note of even more places to eat (we have our priorities straight), briefly consider renting bikes (probably not such a good idea for some of us), do some shopping to cool off from time to time, stop for a frozen custard – oh the best! – and revive in the cool air of our Key West home. Then the hovering clouds let loose and rain – hard!

After the rain, well, it might just be time to eat again. Dinner is conch chowder, and okay, a bucket or two of rib bones and a plate of nachos, at Turtle Kraal on the Caroline Street wharf where we are promised turtle races at 7.  So at 8, since there are no turtles (we are actually told they are “stuck in traffic”) we leave – Joyce and I to watch the sunset from the wharf and Bonell, Nancy and David to Mallory Square hoping for cats doing tricks and other excitement.  Joyce and I find excitement of a different kind, the two silly English gentlemen who very kindly returned my purse – yes I did leave my purse on a pier bench – and then attempted to stick like glue for about two minutes (we are old and made of Teflon – you don’t fool with us). However they are my heroes for returning my purse complete with money, credit cards and EVERYTHING! I took their picture, but Joyce forbids me to post it. Joyce can be stern.

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Lunch at Caroline’s Cafe

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Oh well, you know, Key West

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Our Key West home

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Sunset from the Caroline Street Wharf

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The Western Union – or was that FedEx?

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Lazy morning on our porch. Joyce (with David’s knees)

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Conch chowder at Turtle Kraal

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Walking home

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After the rain

After the rain

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Key West skies over the waterfront

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Turtle race track, waiting in vain for turtles.

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A trip to Key West, Day One, July 16

We stop at No Name Pub on Big Pine Key, a favorite of Bonell’s, for lunch, and eat fish under all the money hung from the walls and ceiling. Nancy and Bonell have a dollar bill hanging there in honor of their two mothers and their 50th anniversary. We eat so much we can’t have dinner later!  After we arrive at Island City House, we walk to the grocer and pick up cheeses, sausages and other snacks, which more than make up for any canceled dinner plans.  Sunset from the 4th floor roof!

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We arrive home.

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David and Robin, No Name Pub

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Bonell and Joyce, No Name Pub

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The last day: A day trip to three Greek islands

On board our day-cruise ship

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Hydra

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Poros

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Egina

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Windy Monemvasia and back to Athens

Tuesday we woke to bright sun in Monemvasia and a strong wind – so strong it blew the breakfast off of some of our plates (those that were seated outside).  The shops were open, and we shopped!  We took pictures!  We stood against the wind, as did the cats, the mules, and the other people.

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When we were satiated, we got back on the bus for the long trek back to Athens.  We stayed at the same hotel we had booked on the first night – but dinner was at a restaurant that still has a license to break plates.  It was a fun show.

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Everyone’s favorite day: Aeropolis, Gythios, and . . .

We leave Sparta with a special goodbye to the warrior king Leonidas, and head for parts unknown. We are told to separate out only what we can carry from our luggage: something to sleep in, a change of clothes, toothbrush and any medications, and to bring umbrellas or rain jackets.  Oh my!

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The Spartans still revere Leonidas, the warrior king (there was an administrative king too, but no statue).

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Mountains over Spartan rooftops

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Goodbye, Sparta!

We decide to scrap another museum tour and instead we stop at Aeropolis, where Eva knows a good bakery. She tells us this part of Greece, and particularly this town, was inhabited by pirates, and the people here tend to be somewhat secretive and keep to themselves.  However they seem friendly enough to us. And what a wonderful town! Completely undiscovered by tourists of any kind, and yes, the bakery was wonderful. We ate cheese pies while walking around, inspecting flowers, stone buildings, picturesque doorways, local gathering spots, and local produce.  I bought an excellent orange, so big it lasted me well into the morning.

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After the delightful Aeropolis stop, we climbed back in the bus and headed farther south, getting great views of the ocean on our way . . . where? We pull up to an unprepossessing entrance of some kind – to a CAVE? Which we are to explore in BOATS? Some of us were reluctant – we never would have done this on our own, for sure – but we all climbed in the waiting boats, ducked our heads, and made it through.  What fun!

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Can this be topped?  Yes it can.  For lunch, we arrive at Gythios, where we had the best meal of our entire trip – crusty bread drizzled with olive oil, fresh tomatoes and onions, taramasalata (divine!) fried fresh sardines, grilled smelt, deep fried baby squid and calamari – oh my!  After lunch we watch a thunderstorm over the water.

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Hard to believe, but the best is yet to come.  Where are we spending the night, that we have to bring only what we can carry?  That evening, our bus arrives at the ocean, then crosses a bridge onto an island, then stops.  It can go no farther. We are at Monemvasia, an old, old town being restored, with a monastery, also being restored, a whole passel of Greek orthodox churches, and some inns.  We must carry our bags, since the streets are way too narrow for vehicles of any kind.  Even the donkeys which carry supplies up through the town must go single file.  It is raining, which only adds to the atmosphere of mystery and strangeness.  We climb up through the narrow streets to our inn and are assigned our rooms, which were lovely!  Spacious (ours has two bedrooms and a large bath with windows that overlooks the ocean and a small patio).  We love this town!  As soon as we unpack and dry off a little, we head down for dinner.

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