Merry Christmas everyone!!
We had a late start, swapped presents (I got a gorgeous leather princess bag from Emma and a Tinkerbell necklace from Tara!) and thought hardly anything would be open but we were sitting in the courtyard having breakfast at the conch train doing a tour went past, so we got ready and headed out towards Duval St and Mallory Square to see what was on. Turns out almost everything was open!
We did a Conch Train tour through Old Key West. It was very interesting to see all the old buildings and hear the history of the area - it was once the richest place in all of the USA as so many ships ran aground each year and the people there would salvage people and cargo and they would be entitled to 50% of the sales of the cargo. One year alone there was over 500 ships that needed salvaging! They then got into the cigar and seasponge business but without a link to the mainland, they suffered big time and the Federal government wouldn't listen and offered no help, even though something like 25% of the population was unemployed. So they seceded from the Union, became the Conch Republic and the very next day applied for foreign aid from the US government!
Emma and Brianna went into the treasure museum so Tara and I wandered through the statue garden and down through Mallory Square to the dock where a huge cruise ship was pulling out. We also did some shopping before meeting back up with Emma and Brianna and going to Hog's Breath for dinner (and cocktails!). We headed back to Mallory Square as they have a sunset celebration every night with buskers and market stalls. Once the sun set, we wandered along Duval St (which has over 100 bars along it...and it's not a very long street!) and stopped for a couple of cocktails at Sloppy Joe's which is where Ernest Hemingway used to drink.
We then headed back towards Mallory Square for our ghosts and gravestones tour. It was quite interesting but not very scary... We went to visit Robert the paranormal doll - not sure about paranormal but definitely creepy looking! We then headed back to the guesthouse as we have an early morning tomorrow as we are going to visit the Dry Tortugas!