Back in the USA. Florida (12 – 20 February)

We flew back to the US from South America for two main reasons. First of all, we had promised our friends, relatives, that we would visit them during our trip. Second, we found significantly cheaper tickets to New Zealand from the US.

Florida was a vacation for us. We were able to rest from traveling and hiking. We stayed at Kaija’s cousin Maidu place at Bocca Raton, which is about an hour away from Miami. The first few days we just slept off and rested. In addition, we did the laundry and cooked some of our favorite meals. Liisa (Maidu’s wife) bake us bread and she had even bought the Estonian sprat to add to the bread. In Florida, we also received the shipment that Jaanus’ mother had sent us from Estonia. So we had Estonian sweets and other good stuff.

During this week, we did not plan large sights and excursions for ourselves. At Liisa’s recommendation, we went to Marco Island, located on the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches there were supposed to be particularly beautiful and soft sand. The sea is also much quieter than on the Atlantic. The ride was long and quite boring, 2.5 hours across the peninsula of Florida, but the beach was indeed very beautiful.

The next days we also enjoyed Bocca Raton Beach. We drove there with bicycles and observed the surrounding super villas. This was an exciting entertainment itself already. The so-called ‘home beach’ was also super beautiful and the weather allowed us to enjoy it properly.

We also took a trip to Miami over the weekend. We went for a walk to the famous Miami South Beach to experience all this wealth and fame. We walked by the famous Versace house, where tourists literally fought to get the pictures. We also stared at the luxury cars passing along the streets. Earlier, Kaija has been to Miami several times and has a tradition of visiting the Cleveland lounge. So we also stopped there to drink a few cocktails and have a small snack. As usual, the party in Cleveland was in full swing already at noon and go-go girls where all over the stage and clothes were painted on a naked model (body painting). South Beach seems to have a party mode 24/7.

We also walked to the beach. South Beach is quite similar to our beach in Pärnu. There is a wide strip of sandy beach, but the sand is a bit dirty which is common to the beaches in the big city. The beach was full of rainbow-colored flags and sunshades. As usually in Miami, every few minutes the planes flew through the beach dragging the floating advertisement behind. For us, the beach itself was not a major attraction, and in Florida, the most beautiful places for sunbathing are surely a bit more away from the crowded city center.

In the evening we headed to Miami’s famous Wynwood quarter. I think this place can be compared to our Tallinn loomelinnak (creativity center). Wynwood is an old industrial area with a so-called street art center. Of course, the graffiti and the wall paintings that can be found there are a different level. Because of this, this area is full of tourists who pose and take selfies together with the wall paintings. Of course, we could not miss this fun and we also took the pictures from at least ten different angles.

in Florida, we also took one day to make some shopping. It is probably known to everyone that in the US, clothing, and electronics are much cheaper than Estonia. So we asked Liisa to drop ourselves at Sawgrass Mills (one of the largest shopping centers in the USA) and spent a whole day there. By the evening we were quite tired but the effort paid off because we got the things that Liisa and Mait were ready to transport to Estonia for us. We also got rid of some clothes in that suitcase, which we thought we wouldn’t need any more since we will probably no longer visit the cold areas during our trip

The rest of the time spent in Flordia was spent talking with friends and … very much to just eating. We probably gained both quite a few kilos over the time in the US. We alternately prepared our own meals, and over the weekend, Mait grilled a larger variety of meat, including tuna, shrimp, beef, etc. One day we tried to cook the famous Sloppy Joe in order to have a true American spirit. Together with Liisa and Mait and their friends, we also visited one of the all you can eat buffet seafood restaurants. For $ 26 you can eat as much and whatever seafood you like, including oysters and crabs, sushi, and ending with lobster, seafood pasta and so on. Such buffet restaurants are quite common in the US. Of course, we could not hold ourselves back and pretty much ate too much food. But, well, what to do if you have all the best seafood in front of you and you just need to try all of those at once. There was already 30 different types of sushis…

In summary, we were very pleased with our vacation in Florida, and this is undoubtedly the place where we will go back again and again! Here’s a big thank you to Liisa and Mait and Lara for their hospitality, because we really felt like home.

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