Key West part of 1,700 islands of the Florida keys located amidst Atlantic Ocean & Gulf of Mexico, is the southernmost island. We were staying at 'La Conch' on the Duval Street and it was perfect sunny day to explore this island! It was mid-Novemember and coming from Raleigh, where the average temperatures were 8-10 degrees Celsius, and here to have such wonderful sunshine, was a amazing in itself.
We walked around the street and found many boutique stores of talented artists with their paintings/ handicrafts/photographs on sale. Places like Key West islands, I think inspires people to become painters, photographers perhaps even writers.
The streets were also lined up with Spanish architecture influenced large houses. These were converted into bars and lounges with festive music playing night and day, which spread through little island streets. It added to the island setting as we were shaking our heads in rhythm as we walked by.
We then went to the southernmost point of the island which is also the southernmost point of Continental USA. We took touristy photos next to the iconic point (there is a long line for a photo at this point!) There is this feeling of accomplishment every time you reach a place described as 'the most', be it peaks, depths or points. That was the feeling I had.
The island is 90 miles away from Cuba, I found a store with this sign board - 'closet shop to Cuba & JFK Slept here', making it so unique! One of the many ways to lure tourists
We then went looking for a store with famous 'Key Lime pie'. The store not only had pie, but more than a dozen variety of eatables with Key Lime - pickles, oils, savories, chips and so many more. Key lime is an island speciality. I could barely eat the pie, I think, it is an acquired taste.
We walked around one stretch of island covering the south beach, market place and then found this dream like setting for lunch, overlooking the prefect blue sea. I couldn't have asked for more beautiful setting.
After a lazy long lunch we decided to explore some more of the island. We went to market center - Mallory Square, which is a tiny little market place with criss-crossing streets. It was fun just to wander around these streets, walk into ten different stores, haggle on prices and shop.
Later in the evening we went on a Sunset Cruise, which is one of the must do things on the island. The cruise liner had a glass bottom and as we went deep into sea we could see underwater life – fishes/ fossils/ flora. Without scuba diving or snorkeling just sitting on your cruise to be able to see underwater life so close was a one-of-kind experience.
As we were returning to island, the sun was setting and we had some amazing views of the ocean & sky turning pink. I almost felt like floating away with the sunset.
When we reached the island, at the Mallory square the sunset celebrations began - dance, stunts, live performances! With the sun set, the whole island transformed into a carnival. We enjoyed the shows and did some more shopping at the stalls, then headed back for dinner on Duval Street. But before calling it a day I picked a souvenir which reads as 'it's 5'O Clock somewhere' always reminding me of the happy sunset feeling.