Our flight was a 5am so normally I would be cranky, I'm not a morning person, but the thought of being in sunny Florida for a week made it all better. We arrived nice and early - no delays so our vacation was off to a great start.
The cousins were reunited that afternoon and we started planning the next day's activities.
The next day we headed out to Juno Beach Pier - this is one of our favorite beaches. What we didn't expect was for the ocean to be so rough. The boys all loved it - rough waves, jumping right into them is their favorite thing to do but me & my daughter - not so much.
My daughter tried to go in but a wave knocked her on her butt & she got scared but when her father came out to help her in she was ok and went in. They actually said the biggest problem is getting in, once they were in it was ok. I wasn't even going to try.
Sitting out wasn't great either. It was a very windy day so we were getting sand blown on us constantly - so we didn't stay too long! I was happy to get some sun and breathe in the ocean air, but was also very happy to leave.
Back home the kids took up a short game of baseball and then the rain started....LOL
It was a short rainfall, typical Florida weather.
We went out to dinner that night with the entire family which is always a great time!
The next day was very low key - hung out at home and then got ready to go to dinner at my sister's boyfriend's house. He is Greek, so we had a wonderful Greek meal along with a fun night with family.
So Monday is here and everyone is back to work so we planned on driving down to Key West and spend one night. We didn't want to rush down and back so spending the night was the best option.
Before we started driving, I downloaded this app - Miami to Key West GyPsy Guide - which turned out to be great for the drive down. I had it on the entire drive, and it would give us historical information on several places on the way down. This helped make the drive feel shorter than what it actually was.
On our way down there are many places to stop but what I was mostly interested in was stopping at the best beach, which was Bahia Honda. It really was very nice. There are patches of seagrass that we avoided stepping on but swam over and tried to take pictures of the fish. The water was amazing - no waves, the temperature was perfect and it was so relaxing. Just what we needed after being in the car for so long.
Isn't this view just beautiful?
After our quick dip, we kept driving and didn't stop until we reached our hotel. We booked a room at 24 North Hotel Key West. It was our first time here, but the hotel looked clean from the pictures so we took a chance. So happy we did. We didn't plan on spending much time at the hotel, so it was perfect! Our room had 2 double beds, the bathroom had a nice shower and everything was clean. Our room was facing the ocean, so our view was very nice! We checked in, dropped off all of our bags & jumped on the complimentary shuttle to Mallory Square. We were starving so on our way to Mallory Square I was looking up places to eat. I found a Cuban restaurant right in the area that I know we would all agree on, so when we got off the shuttle it was a short walk there.
El Meson de Pepe...we chose to sit outside since it really was a beautiful night. Everything looked very nice, the music was great - everything was very Cuban! We felt right at home.
My only concern were the chickens (I think) perched on the branches above us! Didn't really want any droppings while we were eating, but happy to report - nothing came down!
Our appetizers were croquettes and plantain chips - delish!
We also ordered fried calamari - my daughter loved them. Me, not so much. They were too big for my liking.
Dinner was just as good...I had a tamale with chips, hubby and both kids had steak with rice & beans.
After dinner we walked around for a bit and did some shopping.
The next morning the kids wanted to sleep in, but I wanted to visit one of the attractions on my list early to beat the crowds. So hubby & I took off and drove to the Southernmost point to take some pics. All my fellow Cubans stop here, Cuba is 90 miles away from here and although some people have said you can see the island from here, you cannot. All you see is the open ocean.
I did notice that chickens and roosters roam the streets freely, it was really funny. I don't think I've ever seen so many roosters and chickens in one place.
After several pictures, we went back to the hotel to wake up the kids and eat breakfast.
This boat is out by the pool at the resort & I was very interested in its history.
This boat was actually used by 23 Cubans who took it to sea to navigate through the Florida Straits to make it to the United States.
Breakfast arrived and we ate poolside...another beautiful morning.
After breakfast, hubby and baby girl took a dip in the pool. I thought about it but decided to go back to the room to pack up.
Once packed, we checked out and drove back towards Mallory Square. We parked several blocks away from Mallory Square because another attraction on my list was Ernest Hemingway's house & museum. The boys wanted nothing to do with this so they waited outside while baby girl & I went in to take the tour. You have a choice to either take a guided tour or explore the grounds on your own. I wanted to hear about the history of Hemingway's life here, so we took the guided tour.
One of our favorite things to see were the many cats all over the place and searching for the ones who had 6 toes. This was their home now.
Out of all the stories I heard during this tour, my favorite was the story behind this penny! Whether the story is true or not, it is very entertaining. I highly suggest taking the guided tour to hear this story & many more.
The best cat condo I've ever seen.....
Another popular landmark is the end of US 1, Mile marker 0. We didn't stop so I had to take a picture as we drove by.
Back to Mallory Square for more walking, shopping & ice cream!
We headed back to West Palm Beach and had plans to drive to Miami Beach the next day to go eat at Larios. A higher power had other plans!
When hubby got out of bed Wednesday morning, he was in pain. His stomach was hurting and it was a pain he had never felt before. We waited a little while but the pain wasn't going away so we found a nearby Urgent Care and went there. He was examined and it was discovered that he had a hernia, so they gave him an MRI, and ran blood tests. They sent us home but recommended we call a surgeon.
We waited for the test results and didn't get word until later that day. They couldn't give us the test results over the phone but they stated that it wasn't an emergency and to go back in the morning to go over the results. So we did that.
The next morning he was still in pain. We were at the Urgent Care as soon as they opened and they told us we had to go to the emergency room, this couldn't wait for us to be back in Jersey.
We went directly to Wellington Hospital, he was checked in right away and they started running more blood work. It was determined that he had an incarcerated hernia with possible strangulated bowel. His surgery was scheduled for 2pm. Luckily, my parents had taken the day off because we were supposed to go out but now they were taking care of baby girl. My dad brought me some food and waited with me while hubby was in surgery. The surgery took a little over an hour.
When he was out of surgery the surgeon came out to explain what was done. He also explained that we had to change our flight because he would be in the hospital through Sunday and then needed a follow up 5 days after to remove the stitches. So looks like we'll be in Florida for an additional week.
Hubby was moved into a room, which was nice for it being a hospital. So the next day since we were supposed to go out on a boat and we couldn't, my sister and her husband took all of the kids with them - except for my son who chose not to go. They had a great time!
Saturday I took a break and went to the mall with my mom, sister, niece and daughter. It was a very nice and much needed girls day!
The girls tried this Dragon Breath - it was so cool....LOL
my son being lazy.....
hubby is looking a lot better :)
me on the other hand, felt like crap & was exhausted. I was in desperate need of a good, full night of sleep!
Finally, on Sunday at 8pm hubby was discharged. We had pushed our flight to Friday, 4/20, so we had a few more days to enjoy, while taking it easy because hubby still had to recover.
Monday, we took a ride back to Miami. Hubby & my son went to see a friend while me & baby girl went to the beach. It was amazing and so relaxing.
We didn't stay long, but it was worth it. Afterwards, we went to my grandparents house for dinner and to say our goodbye's since we wouldn't be back to Miami.
Tuesday we went to Guanabana for lunch. We love everything about this place-the food, the atmosphere, the service - everything!
After Guanabana, we went to the mall for a little while & grabbed ice cream on the way out.
Wednesday was our last opportunity to get some beach time so that is exactly what we did! I went in for a little bit and then layed out to get some sun. The kids stayed in the water the entire time & my poor hubby had no choice but to sit there. He had stitches so no swimming allowed.
Thursday was spent at the doctors to remove hubby's stitches. It was terrible - don't get me wrong, the surgeon was excellent but this was his day off so we had to see his partner. We had an appointment & still had to wait 2 hours to be seen.
He was finally seen, stitches removed and we were good to go.
Back home to do laundry, pack and get ready to head back to Jersey the next morning.
I don't think we will ever forget this vacation! I wish things wouldn't have happened the way they did, but on the bright side we got an extra week vacation!
Have you ever encountered medical emergencies during vacation?
I never really thought about them until now!