We left very early from Miami, a name which in the Tequesta language of its original inhabitants means “Place of Many Waters.” My friend, her daughter and I were headed to Key West. The trip was surprisingly fast thanks to the wonderfully maintained freeways.

We made our first stop at Islamorada to have lunch at Wahoo’s, a typical wood-framed restaurant anchored on the coast, where dozens of pelicans were having a quiet nap on the yachts moored there.

After enjoying a tasty and reasonably priced seafood lunch of oysters and fish, we continued on toward our destination.

The landscape of blue waters on either side of the bridges, interspersed with tiny emerald green islands, brought back memories of those famous paintings by the Cuban artist Tomás Sánchez in which water plays a key role.

We shed some tears in the car while choruses and clapping to the music of Rapture and the song “Bridges” by Ricardo Arjona (see above). We arrived at the impressive Seven Mile Bridge, along whose sides old structures built of iron and wood miraculously still stood. Through them the old railroad connecting southern Florida with Key West had once passed.

So, intoxicated by our own joy we finally arrived, charged with lots of energy, at Key West.

After enjoying the air, its old buildings, today almost all its museums, parks and beautiful and luxurious hotels, we headed down Duval Street, the main artery of the city.

We made a quick tour of the main tourist sites and cultural attractions: the Club San Carlos, in whose premises still breathe imprint Marti, Ernest Hemingway’s house where the descendants of his six-toed cats still live. In Margaritaville, where we tasted their famous cocktail listening to Jimmy Buffet music, art galleries, souvenir shops, until we stopped to drink a delicious coffee at Croissants de France, a family pastry shop from 18…

Afterward we took the typical photo at the place that marks 90 miles to Cuba, while we fantasized about future bridges that could shorten once and for all this distance that cruelly separates our two shores.

We returned to retrieve our car, parked in front of the beautiful and eclectic mansion of the López Ramos family, the “southernmost house” (the house furthest south in the USA), as it is known, to say goodbye to this wonderful place.

23 February 2014

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