Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lovely Lauderdale and a-Mazing Miami

Our group was treated to a bus tour of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and a boat tour through some of the canals. We learned the history of the area, and saw lots of sights. One could see, from the lovely art deco buildings in the city, that this has always been a popular area for vacations. And, as we were there during "spring break",  we could see that it is still a popular area for vacations. The streets were alive with people, mostly college-aged kids. The streets were crammed with cars. It took us over an hour to travel 6.8 miles one evening! The streets will be even more crowded as all of the tall condos under construction (we saw cranes on at least a dozen buildings) are completed and filled with residents. As pretty as it all is, I wouldn't want to live here!

In the morning we stopped at Vizcaya, the estate of James Deering (International Harvester). The home was decadent, having been designed around wall coverings, ceilings, tile, carvings and furnishings purchased in Europe on Deering's travels, in the late 1800's.

 The massive home was built around a central open courtyard, with porches and balconies overlooking Biscayne Bay and beautiful English gardens.

In the evening, we boarded the Jungle Queen and were treated to a narrated trip to their 'private island'. We passed mansions of the rich and famous, along with some older, smaller homes, that might only sell for a million or two. Our double-decker open boat, carrying close to 400 people was dwarfed by many of the yachts we passed.

Sadly, this photo is out of focus, but I had to include it. Three folks were evidently heading to a party down the canal. This gal had a bottle of vodka or gin, another gal looked like she had a 6 pack of beer and a fellow was with them in a kayak carrying some bags of chips. What a way to travel!

I've visited the area. I don't need to go back.... unless the stop is just a waypoint on a cruise going to some other delightful destination!

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