Yesterday we were walking in the heat of +30 in Miami and watching the city from the metro mover, a little train going really high. Today we were looking at the sunrise over the snow-covered mountains of Pyrenees while landing in Barcelona. It means that we are back! Back from our USA road trip. Which will be The Epic Road Trip of my life. But that I will realize much later.
I have missed my home and my “normal” life. My bed, my fridge and my kettle. I have missed this blog! I have heard that some of you have missed me too (salut, Vero and Snow!) – oh, that is so touching! I have missed you too!
I was away for three weeks and I thought I’d throw an occasional post here (so I never warned there would be such a long silence). I was dreaming once of traveling and blogging along the way. But now really I don’t know how people do it. Because after a day of exploring – of driving, searching and finding, asking and learning – my mind was exploding inside my head (does exploring equal exploding?😆). And to create a blog post was the last idea I would pick up. So much energy went to process all the inputs, that I has nothing left to make an output. How do those travel bloggers do it?
What I appreciated during this time is Instagram (yes, I am back on it. After a year of a break from it I am back). Especially its function of Stories (sharing photos and videos just for 24 hours). I would share them in the evening, creating a visual diary of my day – without much strife for perfection. And while I have bags to unpack and million of photos to go through on my camera – I would share here some images from Instagram. If you follow me there, you’ve seen them all (if you want to follow, you’ll find me by @marina.exploring). Images and words. Because with all the respect for the visual bit, I really love words!
In these three weeks we went from freezing through the snow storm in Philadelphia to swimming in the ocean on the Miami Beach. From the big city vibes and feeling like in the movies of New York and the capital glory of Washington to the village life of Key West, with roosters on the street and the tourists lining up to take a photo with the Southernmost Point, just 90 miles away from Cuba.
We took trains between the Northern cities, hop on hop off buses, tourist boats and flew in from Washington to Atlanta. We drove across the whole Florida, starting in Georgia, crossing Florida all the way down south on its Scenic highway along many islands and bridges, Florida Keys. And we went from shore to shore, from Orlando, busy and bustling, to a peaceful resort near Naples to enter the natural park of Everglades. And then back to Miami. We have learnt to think in miles (thanks, GPS) and almost – in feet, gallons and Fahrenheit.
We ate hot dogs on gas stations, bagels with cream cheese for breakfast in diners of NYC (and paying an extra of 4$ for lettuce and tomato on it at our first breakfast in Miami Beach. Thank you, Ocean Drive). There were lots of good pasta in Little Italy in New York and on Española Way in Miami Beach (mm, and that Aperol Spritz), burgers and Cuban sandwiches, great seafood in Little Havana in Miami (and dancing salsa afterwards), Mexican fajitas in Washington… And I even had a proper Thanksgiving dinner, turkey and all, in the least proper atmosphere of tropical Key West. And my man wondered why there was chicken in his seafood mix in Naples, Florida, to which the waiter answered that it was a gator medallion, not chicken. “This is gator – alligator. Now you can go back and say that you have eaten the gator, but it didn’t eat you!” Oh, and that lady was the most amazing and friendly waitress in the whole trip. And she made us try the Key Lime Pie, which I will always be grateful to her for.
Oh, and have we seen alligators? Guess what, we did! We took an air boat in the Everglades Natural Park, sliding in the tunnels of trees – and there it was, one 4-meter long alligator swimming curiously around another tourist boat. And then the agency had their own boardwalk and an alligator park. We did two, just to make sure 🙂 Everglades is one of the biggest natural parks, so we had to do two stops at least.
We have also seen lots of squirrels, totally unafraid, almost picking from our hand (if there were something to pick), in all the city parks from NYC to Savannah. Lots of different birds in Everglades, eagles flying over highways all the way down south. Iguanas, chickens and roosters walking on the streets of Key West.
We have heard sirens and that traffic communication of NYC, crickets on the quiet night in Savannah, the peacefulness of village life in Marina Resort Naples and Key West – and the open disco blazing in our windows in Miami Beach where we came full of hopes to relax after two weeks of exploring. And it went on every night, until 4am. If we only knew that our hotel would sit in the noisiest part of Ocean Drive! Also we have heard a police car speaker saying to our tourist bus: “Welcome to Miami”. With that cool Southern accent. Omg, even the cops are cool here! (And how could I sleep after when this song by Will Smith was always on my mind?😆)
And the people, people are always the best! Their weirdness, their looks, their accents. I love that American accent, especially its Southern roll, especially when a black waitress at the breakfast buffet in a hotel proposed friendly to my man she’d get him a coffee – and he understood exactly nothing. And shoot back with “Cappuccino”. Which is now our family meme. In “Pink Panther” there was a “I would like to buy an hamburger” – we have this: “coffee? Rrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrr coffee” – “Cappuccino!”
I loved those people, the most of them. They were friendly, polite and it’s so easy to start talking to an American. After so many years in Norway I felt like an ice princess, never greeting in the elevator, no eye contact with strangers. It took some time to melt and talk.
There is so much to this country. And so much in my head and heart and memory. And so much of jet lag in my body still that I will make myself stop here before I write a million words more. Later I would like to sort out my photos and my thoughts and to tell more about the places on this trip. So far I would just love to thank you for your attention if you stayed with me for the length of this text :))
Wishing you a great week and a wonderful December, folks!
And may you walk in beauty!