Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Hot in Miami

A few weeks ago there was an instagram post with pictures from the USA and then a USA Beauty Haul of some of the goodies that were picked up but I haven't actually posted about some of the wonderful things that we got to do when we were in the great big US of A.

First stop for us was the city of Miami. I'm not going to lie, the reason we went is because we are both obsessed with the television series Dexter and thought that Miami looked like a cool place to visit. 

Warning this is picture heavy.

We arrived in Miami on a Saturday evening. After queuing for what seemed like hours getting through immigration we picked up our convertible treat, popped the roof down and pulled out of the car park...where it was absolutely chucking it down. We looked like such idiots having to stop and pull over to put the roof back up. After a hairy drive to our hotel in the dark and rain, driving on the wrong side of the road we made it. The rain continued but the next day the sun was shining. 

We started the day with a little trip to the beach...I mean come on it was South Beach!!!! Amazing beach and those gorgeous art deco hotels and pastel colours.

Oh yeah I was a total geek and carried around my East Coast Lonely Planet like a comfort blanket along with the Trip Advisor city guide app. They both had a couple of walks that would take you around the sights of South Beach so I thought (lesson learnt) that it would be a good idea.

I just loved these gates. I mean they have Flamingos on.

Our little walk took us to the arts center and its little park outside. It is a weird inside out building but it was quite cool to look at. We happened by chance across the Lincoln Mall. To me an American mall is a massive out of town building but this was so not that and so cool and different. First of all it was all outside. So a bit like a really big (clean and well manicured) high street. As it was a Sunday there was a market on, and lots of restaurants serving brunch. 

In Lincoln mall were these 2 buildings that I had to take photos of. The first is the first church in Miami and it was just so cute and I loved how it looked. The second is an old style movie theatre which I felt just totally epitomised the architecture and art deco style that Miami is famous for.

The next little find was Espanola Way which wasn't much to behold on a sleepy Sunday morning but...

...we headed back that night and it had transformed into a little Spanish style piazza. A lively street with restaurants and pastel ice cream parlors  and magical lighting. It was buzzing in the evening and we had our alfresco dinner at a Cuban style restuarant yum yum.

The walk wasn't such a great idea because let me tell you it was HOT HOT HOT which made it almost impossible to enjoy. So we headed back to the hotel and grabbed our car to go cruising around South Beach including Ocean Drive which we were unable to stop on so there are no photos :-(

Such a massive fan girl - on my itinerary (and trust me there was an itinerary) was a trip to DASH. Lots of skinny and expensive clothes in here but picked up a few souvenirs for my equally obsessed sister.

A couple of food highlights. The first was an amazing mojito from the Cuban restaurant. For obvious reasons it wasn't Cuban but the restuarant had over 40 types of rum and so I had to get the waiter to talk me through a few options. I choose well and thoroughly enjoyed this.  The second is the husbands hot dog. I should have put his arm next to it so you could see the size of it. My lunch was Calamari which turned up on a huge platter and on further inspection was a pound of the battered rings! I just thought this was so American - large hot dog, wrapped in ham covered in warm cheese *food memories*.

Organising a trip like this is difficult and I was really struggling to work out where to stay. I randomly tweeted Ruth from A Model Recommends because I had seen a few posts of hers from Miami and so wanted to see if she had any recommendations. She did have a few and I went for Townhouse. This is just on the corner of 20th Street and Collins Avenue so in the middle of all the action in South Beach. Its a paired back, relaxed boutique hotel that has no art deco elements about it at all. It is white, white, white with highlights of red all over it and so cute that you get a Townhouse beach ball on your bed.

A cool roof terrace was our respite on the afternoon after our little tour around South Beach and if you craned your neck over the balcony and looked right you could just see the ocean.

Our second day in Miami really was a highlight and I was able to tick off one of the 3 things I had on my 'must do' list for our trip and that was swimming with dolphins.  We headed to downtown Miami to the Seaquarium where we had booked ourselves on the Dolphin Odyssey

In small groups we were invited into the pool to meet the dolphin pod that we would be interacting with. There are 3 different pods at the seaquarium and they take it in turns to work and play. The instructors are really entertaining and informative about the animals you are sharing the water with and know who each of the dolphins are and their individual personality traits. 

We got to do a few tricks and feed the dolphins and watch them from underneath the water. They were real posers and we were able to have a photo together cuddling the dolphin. A couple of times we had to get out of the water because they were misbehaving a little. The finale was the dorsel fin pull to the other side of the tank. It is just amazing to see how powerful but graceful these animals are.

The last photo is the peacock at the seaquarium who put on a full display for us and just looked stunning in the fading Miami sunshine.

We ended the day driving to Orlando.

Have you been to Miami and if so what did you get up to?

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