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What comes to mind when I say Miami? Sun, sea and maybe the GTA Miami Vice game? Me too. Well, last January, I was lucky enough to go to Miami to see what it was really like – and it was by far the trip of a lifetime.
Since being little, I’ve always wanted to go to America and especially Miami. We went thanks to a cruise setting sail from Miami, so although me and my boyfriend were only stopping for a couple of days, we wanted to see as much as possible.
Since there wasn’t a direct flight, we had to take a nine hour flight from Manchester to Orlando, then half an hour flight to Fort Lauderdale, and then a long taxi to our hotel in Miami. Even though I was very tired, it was a great way to experience a little more American culture – and where I tried my first bag of Cheetos! It was a long, but a great start to an even greater trip.
After 24 hours travelling, we finally arrived at The Marriott, Miami. The hotel was beautiful and spacious, but it was time to get some proper rest.
DAY ONE: THE DOLPHIN MALL, MIAMI
Full of energy, we headed down to breakfast. It was delicious – there was bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, fruit, juice, but it was the tipping system that I remember most. I had never been told about the percentage of tips for the staff, so my first ever restaurant type experience was more of a mathematic minefield than a taste sensation. My advice if you ever go to America the first time is to always remember a calculator.
As neither of us had ever been to Miami, we only really knew of one place to visit… Miami Beach. But that was planned for tomorrow, so we needed to fill day one with something, I really wanted to experience an American shopping mall, and the closest one was called The Dolphin Mall – so we got in an Uber and headed straight there.
Everything in Miami had a dolphin theme – from statues to the soccer team! We arrived at the massive complexion filled with restaurants and shops, not to mention the 28-degree heat beaming down on us. You wouldn’t of thought it was winter!
After strolling the shops – from Forever 21 to small independent hispanic clothing stores – it was time to eat. And where better than America’s famous The Cheesecake Factory? I’ve heard so many of my friends who have been to the states talk about this, so I had to try it.
I ordered the pesto pasta, which is to date the best pesto pasta dish I have ever had. We then shared the strawberry and cream cheesecake, also the best cheesecake I have every had – the perfect ratio of filling to biscuit base… YUM. It seriously needs to come to the UK!
After a busy time exploring, the day was already done. And we needed a good nights sleep as tomorrow we were visiting Miami’s most famous attraction.
DAY TWO: MIAMI BEACH
I don’t think I’d ever been so excited than riding in the Uber across the big Miami motorway travelling to Miami Beach. We told the nice driver it was our first time here, and so she gave us a little tour of where all the good places were. In the car we passed the Kardashian Miami store, so many restaurants, as well as mustangs parked on every corner. I really felt like I was in a movie!
The nice lady dropped us of at South Beach, and that’s when I felt really lucky to be here. There were bright yellow taxis whizzing by, palm trees touching the sky, and people rollerblading from side to side. And the beach itself? It was massive! And the grains of sand were really soft so I could take my sandals off – although it was very warm.
After hours of walking round trying to see every car, every shop and every bodybuilder, we stopped by a TGI Fridays for a big American meal. We both had burgers and fries outside as we enjoyed the sun. I’m sure we were slightly sun burnt at this point! But there were still time for some more pictures on the beach:
Although we stayed there all day, I could have stayed there forever. But it’s not cheap. If you call Miami home, I guess you could say you have made it, in the most material sense. Miami is so colourful in the centre, with the blue skies and yellow taxis. But unfortunately, two minutes down the road you’re faced with lines of homeless people, which was so sad to see. That’s when the colour drains and Miami turns to black and white.
This place is beautiful, and everything you expect it to be and more. I was so lucky to visit, and I couldn’t recommend it enough.