I can’t believe I am already here typing out my vacation journal. My mind is still on island time and my legs still have not found the land (woo! wobbly!). We went on a fantastic trip down the Caribbean on a cruise. Before I talk about this cruise, which I will in my next post, let me start with how we started off this trip.
We spent ten days away-three days in sunny Florida and seven days on the cruise island hopping in the Eastern Caribbean. We decided to head down to Fort Lauderdale, where the cruise port is, to spend a few days in the sun and sand. We had been to Fort Lauderdale three years ago, where we spent one full day before going on our first cruise. We really enjoyed it, but one day was not enough to experience the Fort Lauderdale vibe. This time we thought that a couple of days would be best before hitting the big ship. We were right!
Fort Lauderdale is a beautiful place. There is so much going on down the main boulevard, yet you can be in the utter peace of the ocean just by turning away from the street. We enjoyed a lot of beach and pool time, and ate a LOT! haha This vacation I gave zero cares about restricting myself on this trip and gave 100% cares to relaxing!
We enjoyed ourselves in Ft. Lauderdale a tremendous amount, is what I am sayin’!
Departing home: We booked late evening flights for after work on Wednesday night, August 14, this way we could jump on our vacation as quickly as we could. Also, we flew out of a new to all of us airport. Instead of flying out of Boston we flew out of Worcester! The drive was decent, though longer than it would’ve been to Boston. Checking in was a breeze, and our flight went seamlessly.
We landed in Fort Lauderdale at just over 3 hours.
We were booked at The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, which is a beautiful and clean hotel. And huge!! When we checked in we got offered a cool deal to upgrade to a corner view of the pool/ocean front, which we had ocean view but canal side, so we couldn’t pass that offer up. We got to our room to find a cool view outside, or we thought it was cool. We couldn’t really see what was out there because it was so dark outside. hah!! Always the optimists.
Day 1: We got to the hotel pretty late the night before, around 11PM. Which means when we got in the view was pitch black, and we had to wait to really see what a gem of a view was waiting for us. This is the video I took when I woke up before even seeing what the view was like.
I was super happy when I opened those curtains! We had a spectacular view, and it burned a perma-smile across my face.
We grabbed coffee and sandwiches (or for me, beef jerky hehe) at the Starbucks inside the hotel. The funny thing is this was the same Starbucks we went to three years ago and the girls remembered. They were ecstatic walking in to realize they had been there before. (They take after me with how simple things bring them joy)
Right after breakfast we headed over to the pool to grab towels then head across to the beach. At the beach you can grab a set of lounge chairs and an umbrella. Which the chairs come with your stay at the hotel, but the umbrella or extra chairs were a charge, about $25 for an umbrella and $18 a chair.
What a beautiful beach!
We hit Fort Lauderdale beach for about four hours, and we basically swam that whole time. The water was so warm, it was like wavy bath water. And it was uber salty! We got to see some reservation points along the sands where the sea turtles had laid their eggs. It was kind of neat to think there were eggs buried in the sand near us that were laid recently. Once the kids got tired of the ocean, we hit the pool for a few hours. The pool was still under the hot sun, so we all enjoyed a few more hours of swimming and sun bathing.
It was a perfect Summer holiday already!
We got all dolled up to hit a recommended restaurant, El Vez. This place was DOPE!! And for me to say that in the accent I just did, means it was cool as hell. It was all decked out in Mexican art, from folk art to modern art, paying homage to the culture and artists of Mexico. I loved this place. We got seated out front on the patio, which was great for people watching and to view the ocean across the way. We made it in time for the happy hour, so we grabbed drinks and ordered food. My gosh, I have never seen so many dishes ordered AND consumed! But it was all so good, and fresh. The salsa was perfect, and the guacamole made my day. We got carnitas tacos, chicken tacos, nachos, fish tostadas, chicken quesadillas, and one of our kids got a burger. CRAZY AMOUNT OF FOOD!
Bonus, they had frozen blood orange margaritas, folks! Which means I had a very, very, verehhh good time. haha
We walked the boulevard for a couple of hours after dinner; we had to walk off all those chips! The street was thumpin’! We ended up shopping around for souvenirs for the girls, well for our oldest daughter who is all of a sudden a surfer girl. SMH. So after an hour deciding on a t-shirt, we decided to hit Ben and Jerry’s for some ice cream. I don’t know where my family puts it all. I didn’t have an ice cream, I was still full off margaritas!
We had a great first full day in Fort Lauderdale!
We started off this day a little later than the day before, but we all woke up starving! We heard that the restaurant we went to the night before had the best breakfast on the street. Since we all enjoyed dinner, we ran right over. IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
The whole vibe during the morning is different. So quiet, as not many people are walking around yet. We got seated out on the front patio again, different side, and enjoyed a huge breakfast that kept us full all day. Our kids split a brioche French toast, my husband got eggs Benedict, and I the avocado toast w egg whites. Everything was delicious, but I think I won on the best breakfast because it was just so good! haha
Right after breakfast we hit the pool. We decided that we would reverse our day, start at the pool and then go to the beach. The pool area was PACKED! We were lucky to find 4 lounge chairs and an umbrella right in the area where the shade starts. We hopped right into the pool to swim, and sunbathe with a tropical drink…well, my husband and I got to do this, the kids had virgin pina coladas! We hung out in the pool till we were exhausted, then hung out on the loungers for a while reading and snacking.
Time flew pretty fast at the pool because before we knew it we had about an hour to play at the beach before getting ready for dinner! Crazy how fast it flew. The beach was a bit choppy this afternoon, compared to the day before. I only swam for ten minutes, then left my family playing to go catch up on turning my skin a toasty shade of ivory. Which actually, if you look at my below picture in the orange top I look brown!!
After baking in the sun for a little bit, we ran back to the pool to drop off my husband and our youngest to finish swimming. She is a big fish, she love love lOOOves to swim. Our oldest now is starting to show signs of maturing from childhood into young adulthood, so she ran up to shower and change. She is growing too fast! They both are! As I type this, we are on our second day of school, and they are both in middle school this year. Blows my mind that they are so grown up.
Also, makes me sad. 😦 A side note; I cried this Summer on the first day I dropped them off together at camp. They haven’t been in school together in a while, and never in the same camp program. This year, they were together. They walked to the councilor desk together, signed in together, and walked in the door together. So cute in their shorts and carrying their backpacks. I smiled, but. It rushed over me as I watched them walking down the path, how this school year they will be middle schoolers, together, and soon they will need me less. 😦 I know, our relationships will evolve all the time, and I have always looked forward to them becoming independent but still need me. Oh, idk why this is making me sad right now. I just wish this phase could last longer. I am their Wonder Woman, that is what they call me. I am who they think is the most beautiful Mother, who is strong, knows a lot and is capable of everything..but one day they will see I am only human.
Ok no tears. Let me get back to this day.
We got ready for dinner, and headed out to walk the canal side of the city. What beautiful views. Fort Lauderdale is really beautiful, like I said before. The sun started to set across the canal, and it made for the coolest colors. The orange and yellow mixing together looked like a giant fire in the sky. We walked down this dead end, which led to what seemed like a neighborhood marina. We hung out there for a while watching the sun set. It was dreamy.
Soon as the sun started to disappear, our girls started on their rants of how hungry they were feeling. Which my husband started to rant about too. Sooo, we took off for dinner. And no, we didn’t go to the El Vez again! haha THouGH I thought about it. We went to Casablanca Cafe, where we went on our first trip to Ft Lauderdale and met our good friends from Australia for dinner. We had to go for nostalgia, and because the food was pretty great! haha The restaurant is situated on the boulevard across from the ocean. The view is beautiful, and the set up looks like a Marrakesh building. So pretty. We got seated outside on the front porch, and I sent a picture to my friends saying cheers from there. Then they called to video chat a minute. It wasn’t the same experience without them!! The food was great. The girls split the rosemary chicken pasta, my husband got a spinach salad with salmon and I got the Mediterranean shish kabobs. Which again, I think I won. So good!
After we ate, we took a good walk back up the boulevard to shop around more. We didn’t think we’d walk as much as we had, so we took a free shuttle back to the hotel. Which was a pimped out golf cart! My oldest daughter and I had a blast in the back seat singing and laughing. It was a great way to end a beautiful day.
Next up day 3 of our vacation/Cruise Day 1