February 6 – 20
I awoke the next morning with my back having returned to spasm mode, which meant we weren’t going to do a lot of walking. We decided to take a combined bus and boat tour with the Miami Double Decker tour outfit. Deciding to forgo navigating and parking the Highlander, we took a Lyft into downtown planning to eat breakfast at a highly rated restaurant.
When we arrived there was a long wait, one that would have made it difficult to make the departure time for our tour so we walked a few blocks towards the meeting point for the bus and found South Beach Munchies Café, a small local operation directly across the street from the Double Decker office. We took a look at the varied menu items and settled for the Eggs Perico (scrambled eggs with peppers and tomatoes) with Cuban Toast and a beef empanada.
Not a large venue, it was crowded with no seating available inside, so we grabbed a table outside and with the streets busy with pedestrians, watched the show pass us by. The food was good, nothing outstanding (the eggs could have used a bit more zip) but for the price, we were entirely satisfied.
The time for our tour arrived and we crossed the street to check in and then boarded the bus, ascending to the top deck for the better view it provided.
Our tour guide was a hoot, providing the commentary in English and Spanish, enlivening his delivery with various sound effects (a memorable one foreshadowed any announcement) and generally providing us with a good introduction to the sights of Miami.
One hitch was that because of a large festival occurring near the waterfront, we would not get to visit the Ocean Drive South Beach Historic and Art Deco districts.
But missing those areas didn’t seem to diminish from the tour much, as we did hit Miami Beach, Downtown, the Financial District, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, & Little Havana, for a brief stop at a cigar shop where we got a mild sales pitch.
Back on the bus, we returned to Bayside Market Place for $5 mojitos and a bowl of Lobster Bisque to split and with an hour to kill before joining the boat tour, walked around the marketplace.
My back was in poor shape so after a cursory walk about, we stopped in at the Mojito Club for a couple more of those refreshing beverages.
Not a cheap date at $14 a pop, I can’t say they were much better than the cheaper ones we’d had earlier. Finishing up, we joined our group, walked down to the dock, and climbed on board for the harbor cruise.
We snagged seats on the top deck with an unimpeded view and spent the next 90-minutes doing a nicely narrated and comprehensive tour of the Miami waterfront and its extensive harbor, the tour guide pointing out the homes of various celebrities, including Star Island (Sean Combs, Gloria Estefan, Don Johnson, Rosie O’Donnell, and Shaquille O’Neal), La Gorce (Jennifer Lopez, Dwayne Wade, Ricky Martin, and Cher), and Fisher Island (Andre Agassi, Jim Carrey and Oprah Winfrey), known for having the highest per capita income in the entire country
We were treated to spectacular views of the Miami skyline as well as the gritty workings of the Miami Docks, passing by container ships loaded with cargo, including special racks containing dozens of new cars.
We finished the cruise and I limped to a nearby corner to wait for our Lyft back to the Airbnb.
It would be a quiet evening for us, watching some rock and roll documentaries on Amazon Prime while Joanna slipped out to pick us up dinner at Dogma Grill, a hot dog joint not far away. The chili cheese dog she brought back for me hit the spot, while her New Orleans Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy made her smile.
Realizing that my back wasn’t going to get better anytime soon, we decided to cut the trip short after the next day, our last in Miami and head straight home to seek better medical treatment. This meant cancelling our stops in Orlando, along the Sun Coast Trail, in St. Augustine and at Fernandina Beach, that portion of the trip when we’d planned to spend considerable time on the bikes and tourist activities like the Kennedy Space Center.
For that last day we would opt for a sedentary day out at the Everglades National Park, about an hour outside of Miami. Normally a visit where’d we do some hiking, a tram ride there would be the best alternative, hopefully partially redeeming a trip that had begun with such promise and for the very first time in our traveling experience, end short of its intended length. Sometimes travel doesn’t bring all that you had hoped for and each setback provides an opportunity to learn from it and put that knowledge into practice. And that is what we told ourselves as we turned out the lights and prepared for the next day’s adventure.
Miami Double Decker: https://miamidoubledecker.com/
South Beach Munchies Café: http://sobemunchiescafe.com/index.php/component/users/?view=login&Itemid=102
Bayside Market Place: https://www.baysidemarketplace.com/
Dogma Grill: http://www.dogmagrill.com/
Everglades National Park: https://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm