Our time is drawing to an end for this trip to Key West so we wanted to get back to Old Town one more time.
We parked in the same parking lot as the last time we were here and it was even less crowded than before. I didn’t take notice of this sign before.
Trust me, Hemingway has done EVERYTHING here. he’s eaten in more restaurants, slept in more hotels, visited more stores, even the new ones!
Back in the 1890’s Key West was the cigar making capital of the world. There were 200 cigar rolling factories and more than 2000 cigar rollers. Combined they made more than one million cigars a year. A skilled cigar roller could roll 300 cigars a day – or – 90,000 a year. Until the turn of the 20th century Key West was the wealthiest city in Florida, all due to cigar making. Even today, you are just as likely to see a cigar shop as you are a T-shirt shop. Some cigar rollers are set up in booths and you can watch them roll.
We’re going to spend more time on the most famous street in Key West.
We decided to get lunch out of the way first. Today’s choice was Sloppy Joe’s. Yep, you guessed it, Hemmingway’s been here.
Standing on the corner waiting to cross we were accosted, (yes, accosted!) by a guy with a bird.
Next thing I know I’ve got a parrot on my shoulder and he’s taken my camera from me.
And the parrot owner kept on snapping away.
Then we both got into the picture.
The parrot owner takes back his bird, looks at Bob and says, “Ten and ten, twenty dollars.” Well, Bob had already started reaching into his pocket because we knew we were going to give him something but we were thinking more along the lines of ten dollars. Well, the folded bills took out had a twenty on top and the parrot owner picked up on that right away. We walked away and I said to Bob, “What just happened to us?” As it turns out Bob didn’t have anything less than a twenty anyway.
So we made it into the Sloppy Joe’s and sat down to listen to the music and eat lunch. Fish and chips for Bob and steamed shrimp for me.
Sloppy Joe’s is a Key West tradition. it’s been in business since 1937 and Hemmingway really did hang out here. Really.
After checking out the shops on Duval Street and stopping in at a few more bars along the way, it was really hot today, we finished up at world famous Mallory Square.
There’s lot of shops…
A few museums….
The ships dock here…..
And lots of street performers give their shows here. You may see anything from a young fellow balancing himself precariously on one hand…
….to someone juggling fire while on a very tall unicycle.
And you’ll even see a guitar player wearing swim flippers.
It wasn’t the best one I’ve seen because a bank of clouds settled just above the horizon this day.
Its quite the party atmosphere with drinks being served, a steel drum being played…
and then of course the sunset.
I have so many more pictures and things to write of about Key West. Too much for two posts so I’ll revisit this in the week’s ahead. When I have not much going on I’ll share more then.