The original name of the island was "Cayo Hueso" which literally means "bone key". It is said that the island was littered with the bones from an Indian battlefield or burial ground. The name was eventually anglicized to "Key West" from the Spanish pronunciation of Cayo Hueso
As soon as we landed in the Key West Airport I knew we were in for more new and unique experiences! The "Conch Republic" is the other official name of Key West, as it's citizens hold dual citizenship by act of Congress, after they succeeded from the union as a "micro nation"in 1982 as part of a protest against a Federal blockade of US Route 1. The whole interesting story can be read here.
During the 17th Century, Spain sent many a treasure-filled ship from Havana through the Straits of Florida, near present-day Key West. Unfortunately, many of these caravels and galleons never reached their destinations as pirates made the waters off Key West their preferred hunting grounds. There is still appears to be a bit of the pirate influence here!
Of course one of the first things we had to try on the island was a slice of Key Lime pie! We went to Kermit's Key Lime Pie Shop in Old Town for a slice --- it was delicious! Watch Kermit make a pie on this YOUTUBE video!
Below is Sloppy Joe's. The real Sloppy Joe was Joe Russell, friend of author Ernest Hemingway when he lived in Key West, and whom he based the protagonist of his book "To Have and Have Not."
See a web cam of Sloppy Joe's and enjoy some of the wonderful singers/songwriters/musicians that are always live on stage there!
Here is a view of the bar inside the Hog's Breath Saloon.
In addition to live music they have a raw bar and grill, and we dined on some delicious conch chowder and conch fritters when we visited.
One unusual sight that we saw were chickens roaming the street -- everywhere! The story about them is that they are descendants from fighting roosters that Cuban residents once used in sport. There are reportedly over 3,000 on the island! The locals seem to have either a love or hate relationship with them, but to city people such as we are, they were an attraction we enjoyed watching!
Route One begins and ends in Key West, and seems fitting for a city that is a dichotomy itself --bohemian and laid back, cosmopolitan and trendy. A little island that has it all!
My husband was on Key West along with some co-workers and corporate clients for the first couple of days, and they went on a fishing expedition. My husband caught a large prize fish called the Wahoo in the Atlantic Ocean! The flesh of the wahoo is delicate and white and regarded as very good in quality, and it is sought after by all fishermen in this region.
The ship mates cleaned the fish, along with the Mahi Mahi and mackerel that the others caught....
...and we brought it all over to this restaurant on the dock.....
Next post I'll show some of the varied,pretty houses and famous residences on the island, and a sunset celebration!