I just recently came back from Florida. I wanted to stay longer than a week but I have to come back to Chicago. I couldn’t go to Daytona Beach and Orlando as I wanted but at least I get away a bit from the cold of Chicago by spending some days in Jacksonville, Miami and Saint Augustine.
Miami was really awesome the weather was warmer there than in Jacksonville where it was in the cold 50s – 60s something kinda unusual. I just spent 2 days here mainly at South Beach. I wanted to stay on New Year s Eve but the prices were really so expensive for me and the nice places in South Beach that I could afford they were all booked for that day. Even at the hostel I stayed the prices for that night that was not even available were almost 4 times more than what I paid for 2 days earlier. Anyway, I think I did the right choice as I drove down there, I think it was going to be a nightmare with a car at New Year’s Eve. There was so much traffic and the huge parking garage close to the hostel I stayed was almost full when I got there. I didn’t need a car to get around SoBe, so I just left it at the parking garage until I went back to Jacksonville. It just cost $20 a day, not to bad.
Before going to SoBe, I went to take a walk at Little Havana and grab something to eat as I didn’t eat anything in the 5hrs that it takes to get to Miami from Jacksonville. It was a really nice neighborhood, I liked walking there. It seamed to me like walking in the 26th street or the 18th but with Cubans instead of Mexicans. It surprised me to bump into many tourists with their cameras taking a stroll in the 8th street. I didn’t think it was that popular. I later went to see one of the recent murals of one of my favorite artist el Mac along with the amazing text of Retna. I love his style! I also bump into one of his pieces on a gallery at Lincoln Road along with many other inspiring artworks.
After that, I just went ahead to SoBe to check in our hostel (Deco Walk). The lobby of the hostel was really nice,as well as many of the buildings in the Art Deco District, which have the largest collection of art deco architecture in the world. Many of them are lined at Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. Overall the hostel was great as it is located like a block away from the beach and at center of SoBe. Something really funny happened when the hostel employee was showing us the room. As we entered we and the employee started to smell like weed and then caught to our two roommates from Canada rolling some joints. They were really surprised. I don’t do that stuff but I didn’t mind that at all. Oh, well, they were really nice guys…
There was a lot of movement at SoBe and it was not like in downtown Miami which it seemed to me pretty dead when I drove around there in the afternoon. As I didn’t go to SoBe to party (I’m not that kind of person) I just mainly spent the night walking around and checking out some shops. Some of the places that I really enjoyed were the Espanola Way a short street with Spanish-style architecture and funky shops and restaurants but the best street was Lincoln Road a pedestrian mall closed to traffic of about 10 blocks. It is so long that almost gets you through both ends of south beach. As it is lined with great shops, sidewalk cafes, bars, restaurants and galleries, you’ll never get boring in that street. We walk down to the end on one side and then back on the other one and later again. 🙂 It is a very nice place to just sit down with a drink and just people watch for hours. Man, it was crowded even when we left past midnight….