This is the concluding part of our long Florida series. To be at “Miami” or not to be …. well !
We have to stay in Miami for two reasons – one for return flight and other for its proximity to Everglades. So in short we spend one and half day at Miami. Thankfully enough, weather was cool in Miami and we did enjoyed partially though , just strolling through the streets, stopped at some curio shops, and sampled foods at the cafe.
A city for fashionistas, expensive, unapproachable, over hyped, repulsive, sketchy and I can add few more negative adjectives, but I cannot blame the city as a whole. Every city has its own characteristic, its culture and this one however fails to inspire me. Those who are raving about its “food”, tell me where it is ??? A triple dollar figure just for rice and beans ???
Bayside market place would be the perfect place if you do not have any other options, we spend their half day almost. It is not that big, after strolling for half an hour, I bought a little souvenir from one of the shop. Plus this place has lots of good restaurants and cafes. Most of the boat tours also started from here. The one that we took was quiet good, it takes us around the harbour, the guide was quiet informative and funny. If you want to photograph Miami’s skyline, this will give you ample opportunity for photography.
Miami is also known as city of cruises, you will passed through many big ocean liner and cruise ships all waiting to be hauled for some destinations in Caribbean sea or some islands on Atlantic. The Bayside marina has many beautiful yacht docked in rows, for hosting parties, wedding as well as divorce and some also transformed into art galleries.
The boat tour will cruise you through the celebrity islands (it could be boring, if it drags for more than an hour) their luxurious mansions (no architectural wonders) which exude glamour and eccentricity. We spotted ex-residences of Elizabeth Taylor, Sylvester Stallone, Al Copano etc. and finished with the dinner at the Bayside Market place.
From Bayside view – starting from top left is the city tower at Biscayne boulevards and nearby Cuban Bongos restaurant – the one with pineapple roof – Vizcaya museum and the villa’s monumental east facade on bottom right of the picture – celebrity mansions on bottom left of the picture.
Since we didn’t have any particular plan, so we decided to take the big bus tour (good if you do not want to drive in this eccentric city and save some fuel) to just have a glimpse of the city. It has two loops, one beach loop and the other city loop. The city loop was more interesting as it will trail you through the arteries of the city, with a glimpse of Miami’s history, the city life, the people, streets, the diverse culture and finally culminating in south Beach with posh theaters, resto bars, iconic art deco buildings that immediately say “Miami”.
There are at least a dozen of such colorful lifeguard towers all along the south beach and these beautiful and colorful faux lifeguard towers are built by the artist, Miami is known for, once you are on the beach , you can not miss it !
We just hopped once on this tour to visit Vizcaya museum – an extravagant opulence Italian villa built in 1914, the winter residence of J.Deering and conceived as subtropical interpretation of eighteenth century Italian villa, its location at Biscayne sea is its added advantage and completed with the beautiful European gardens. We spent 2-3 hours there, till our feet aches and being an antique lover, I enjoys such tour.
Coral Gables is known for self-styled tropical themed beautiful houses and historic hotel Biltmore, and this part of the city has lots of plush restaurants, boutiques and is also known as housewares heaven ! I read the last two-word !
One part of Miami belongs to Cuban immigrants of 1960’s, Little Havana has many Cuban restos, colorful stores, art galleries or you can catch up with them on a Domino table. Sample a Cuban coffee and a sandwich and move forward to art deco tower theatre.
Arguably Miami is the unofficial capital of Latin America and if you want to sample few latin American cuisine, this is the right place, Argentinian steaks, Brazilian, Venezuelan, Colombian cuisine, Peruvian, Nicaraguan and many more.
Versailles was on of our choice to sample Cuban cuisines, after reading lots of good reviews about it, but could not get the table ! You need to reserve the table almost a day in advance ! Indians can look forward to Bombay Durbar and its reviews are good too. However, after failing to get a table at Versailles, we hopped to Bubba Gump and yes no regrets whatsoever.
As the sun sets in the horizon and painted the evening sky of Miami in brilliant red strokes of color, we headed back to the hotel and on the way we sampled few Venezuelan cuisine at El Arepazo – Arepas (corn pancakes filled with three cheese and shredded chicken, corn empanadas (best one) and a delicious tres leches cake. well, we love to end everything on a sweet note