map-of-west-coast-cities-regions-on-outline-maps-and-links-directions-florida-city-googleFor a long time, I have identified the word "key" (Key West, Florida Keys) with the English word 'key", but after coming to Florida, I learned that this word has nothing to do with a 'key.' It is the abbreviation of the Spanish word "Cayo",  which means “small island”. To get it right it is a group of small islets stretching from the continental part of southern Florida – the Bay of Biscay and the end of Dry Tortugas  some 108 km away. From the well-known Key  West (Key West island, which comes from the Spanish language – Cayo Hueso – the island of Bones). The island archipelago consists of about  1700  larger and smaller islands, which occupy about 356 sq kilometer area (data from Wikipedia). The island's joins 42 bridges and the US-1 highway, atsisiųstistarting in Key West, extends 3813km. The part of the road connecting the islands is called the  Highway of the Ocean. I passed a short sections on this highway going to St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Siesta Key, Naples and a beautiful bridge across a Gulf of Tampa Bay. Thanks to friends who traveled me to the remarkable coastline of Florida's Caribbean Bay I saw Florida's beauty and diversity.I started my trip in one of the most famous islands in Keys, Key West. Key  West – this is a city that was set up as a shelter for the victims of the Caribbean reef rescue, later becoming a place of colonist escaping from the War of Independence. For a long time, Key West was the most significant and busiest town in the whole of Florida, because it was close to the Bahamas and Cuba and provided a trade route up to New Orleans.  Also, people such as E. Hemingway, J.  Buffet, T. Williams, running away from the cities noise, have found refuge here.

IMG_6058H.S.  Truman's House-Museum, where he usually spent the winter time. 

_DSC0455 E. Hemingway's house, as a wedding gift, was bestowed by a rich uncle, his second wife, Paulina. In this house, E. Hemingway lived in 1931-1940. Here he wrote his famous novels "Farewell to Arms", "For Whom the Bell Tolls," a series of short stories. Because of his goodwill, constant humor, simplicity, and most importantly for deep,  not superficial   interest in humanity he soon became familliar and  loved the local population.   The problematic and meaninglessness of life the people of Key West in the days of the Great Depression and at the dawn of the Cuban Revolution he described in the novel " To Have and Have Not." Now the Home- Museum of E. Hemingway is visited by tourists and is home for the six- or seven-toed polydactyl cats descended from E. Hemingway's original pet "Snowball."_DSC0520




_DSC0531  Although now the islands are not as remote as before, Key  West has retained the place as "edge of the world" because of its characteristic white wooden house with beautifully carved balconies, antique bars, _DSC0538narrow streets._DSC0529 The main Duval street (named after the first governor of the island) goes across the island from the Atlantic to the Caribbean Gulf.  Here you can feel the spirit of real American life as it has always here has been. From the very morning, till late night there are many bars, pubs with various music.

_DSC0481At sunset,visitors and local artists gather  on the docks at Mallory square to celebrate the end to another tropical day. Musicians,juggers, mimes and the ocasional fire-eater entertain you while local food vendors keep you fed.


The daily celebration has IMG_6011become one of Key West's greatest traditions. 

_DSC0457 The lighthouse, built in 1847, is perfectly visible from all parts of the town. The beacon was heightened several times, works now its light spreading several kilometers to the Caribbean IMG_6090 (Edited)Bay.

IMG_6052 (Edited) Key West is the southernmost point on the American continent, marked by a sign similar to a sea buoy. There is a Museum of 1280px-FortzacharytaylorArt, a historical site – the Zachary Tailor Fort, built in 1845-1866 as American naval base during the American Civil War. The oldest aquarium in Florida, built in 1932-34. At that time, it was the first and most significant aquarium in America.  In a short time (on the island I was only 1.5 day), it was difficult to walk around and see everything. It was sad to leave this incredible island where E. Hemingway's legend is still alive. The prototypes of his novel's (conch peoples) you can meet on the streets even today. IMG_61030b _DSC0556












Late in the evening, a flight to Tampa, the largest city in Florida on the Caribbean Gulf, where a family of Lithuanian friends was waiting, ready to show off the other beauties of the Caribbean Bay of Florida.

IMG_6177 (Edited)We started  from   St. Petersburg. It is the second largest city in Florida, founded in 1888. Since it has about 361 days of sunshine, the city is also called the "City of the Sun" or nicknamed St. Pete. 

IMG_6156 (Edited) IMG_6170  In the center of the city is the Botanical Garden, named Sunken Garden.  Garden is placed  on the bottom of a drained lake so is called Sunken Garden. In 1903, the four-acre property purchased by George Turner, Sr., a plumber, who was an avid gardener.  He drained a shallow lake, which had filled an ancient sinkhole and dropped 15 feet below street level to provide fertile soil to grow fruits and exotic plants from all over the world.

_DSC0591There are small ponds with flamingos in them.  The spectacular, small downtown, ocean views between homes and white sandy beaches, the palm trees looked like a brightly painted picture. I didn't find _DSC0637another comparison of St. Pete.





_DSC0671_DSC0656_DSC0661_DSC0685To find the Venetian palace in Sarasota also was a surprise.  Sarasota city is  a group of islands: Lido Key, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, and others. In 1925, circus impresario John Ringling decided to build an art museum, both as a legacy meant to outlast his business interests and as a memorial to his wife Mable and himself.  By sharing the arts of Europe with the people of Florida, Ringling sought to educate and encourage curiosity for the full world.   The Renaissance-style palace is now called simply Ringling. They feature 21 art galleries, garden,  antique sculptures. The entire complex consists of the historic Ca'd'Zan Manor, the terrace overlooking the ocean, the Art Library, two circus museums, and the historic Asolo Theater. The Ringling architecture of Italy has influenced and the downtoun  of _DSC0650Sarasota – many old downtown houses resemble Italian style, even the Sarasota symbol is a copy of Michelangelo's David sculpture._DSC0676

 _DSC0653_DSC0569      Mr. J.  Ringling well-known from seven brothers, five of whom were traveling circus

artists and created the circus as it is today.





 Crossing the Tampa Bay Bridge, another cozy  place on the island of Mark-Naples. The city of Naples founded during late 1880. Naples caught on when promoters described the bay as "surpassing the bay in Naples, Italy."  Naples is a paradise for fishers, lovers of underwater swimming.okeanas 400

_DSC0586_DSC0596Florida- translating from Spanish – the "Land of flowers." This name gave the Spaniard  Juan Ponce de Leon in  1513m. It is a real Land of Flowers, beautiful with its weather, vegetation, waters, people. People. They are not the same as those described in the books of E. Hemingway. "Because we are hopeless, he said. – We don't have anything to lose. We have already been fully exhausted. However, we can't do anything about it, because we're so beating that our only solace is drink and the only pride is that we can endure everything. But not all of them. Some may give back "( E. Hemingway" Have and Don't Have ").Today   the people of the islands are mixed, white, Cuban, Mexican. Many emigrants from all corners of the world. Moreover, where are they not?

IMG_6178I would like this to be not my last trip to this beautiful  Flower Land. Who knows? To fantasize is not forbidden yet.


L. Sarakauskiene: info@sarakauskiene.lt




IMG_6141 (Edited)

in the Sunken Gardens

IMG_6169Next- the pictures:
IMG_6324 (Edited)

sculpture for the end of war


in the distant- another island


on the beach