|Cunard Queen Victoria's Exotic Voyage 2018
Discovering South America Part 13
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After completing US Immigration formalities the shuttle bus conveniently dropped us at the Galleria Mall on Sunrise Boulevard. On our previous visit we noticed Fort Lauderdale offers two cheap tourist trolley services which operates on a system of Wave 'n' Ride. Tickets are $1 per trip or $3 for an all-day bracelet pass. It is very good value although the trolley service operates only every 45 minutes. The Beach Link trolley runs every day whereas the Las Olas Link Trolley is only Friday to Monday. The terminus of the Beach Link trolley is at the Galleria Mall but there was nothing in sight and it was a pleasant walk along Sunrise Boulevard to the A1A junction and south along the beach. The Las Olas Link trolley has its terminus at the beach at Vistamar Street and the two trolleys then go together along the coast to the turning for Las Olas Boulevard.
The trolley ride to the end of Las Olas Boulevard gave the chance to see the Museums, parks and shops and restaurants. The area has many interesting places to visit. The trolley turned outside the Museum of Discovery and Science and then stopped outside the Esplanade Park and the Riverwalk. There was a long row of yellow school buses outside the Museum of Discovery and Science and shortly afterwards groups of children in uniform poured into the Esplanade Park with their packed lunches. The weather was good so we did not need to hide in that museum. The Riverwalk path is along the north side of the river and passes several military memorials and a number of lifting road and rail bridges which are raised at fixed times each day. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts/Florida Grand Opera building is at the side of the path and the manicured gardens are also the home to birds and insects. We spent time watching a bittern eating its insect lunch. There are seriously expensive ocean cruisers and yachts moored along the riverbank, and posters reminding boaters of etiquette for the local manatees which are large endangered aquatic mammals growing to 9-10 ft and weighing up to 1200 lb. The brick paving was interesting because the bricks had been donated by named individuals.
As well as the two trolley services there is also a free water trolley which connects Esplanade Park with Riverfront Plaza, Huizengo Plaza and Laura Ward Plaza. The trolley is intended to make it easier for people to cross the river but most trips we saw were roundtrips. You board over the bow. We were the only passengers on our 25 minute roundtrip from Esplanade Park and enjoyed seeing the boats and buildings from the water and passing under the bridges. The Water Trolley can get under the bridges easily, except for the rail bridge which is usually lifted (there are few trains) but was down on our return.
Walking back leisurely the first place to look at was the River House, a historic building now used for special parties. The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society had preserved a group of houses, with a replica 1899 School House, the King-Cromartie House, the Philemon Bryon House, the Museum of History at the New River Inn and the River House. While the houses could be visited with guided tours they were only open in the afternoon. The riverfront continued past the lifting rail bridge, the pink lifting bridge at Andrews Avenue and the green lifting bridge at SE 3rd Avenue. The next Museum was the Museum of Art near Huizengo Plaza which was being set up for an event for the weekend. Finally the riverfront walk reached the Historic Stranahan House Museum. The berth for the Carrie-B tourist paddle boat was just outside. Built in 1901 Stranahan House is the oldest home in Broward County. It was the home of Frank Stranahan, the father of Fort Lauderdale, and his wife Ivy Cromartie Stranahan, the area's first school teacher. The historic structure has also served as a trading post, post office, bank, boarding house, community centre and restaurant. The first guided tour was at 1.00pm and to occupy the time there is The Cheesecake Factory on the corner of the road. Unfortunately our lunch there took too long and we missed the 1.00 deadline, and the next tour was too late to rely on getting back to the ship by trolley.
After a stroll along Las Olas Boulevard, looking for a trolley, one appeared travelling in the wrong direction. It was best to catch it and then be certain of being onboard later. This was a good decision because the traffic was diverted away from Huizengo Plaza and the trolley took an alternative route so we would never have found it if we had gone back to the terminus. The transfer from the Las Olas Trolley to the southbound Sun Trolley was at Seabreeze Boulevard, near boat moorings and pelicans. The Sun Trolley went over the liftbridge by the Queen Victoria and continued to its terminus on Andrews Avenue. Once we saw the red funnel we got off. The bridge is raised every half hour so we watched it lift at 16.30, looking down on the impressive office buildings with fountains.
This second visit to Port Canaveral did not require any special US immigration inspection so it was possible to get the early shuttle bus to Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Beach has a lot of shops and eating places. There is even a Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures. The area is much busier on a Saturday and the beach was crowded with hundreds of people doing their morning exercises. - we are not sure if it occurs every weekend or because there was a Beach'N Board's Fest which was being advertised by an aircraft towing a banner. There were also a few more fishermen. The Cocoa Beach Pier was open but the Rikki Tiki Tavern at the end does not open until 11.00 so there was time to walk further along the beach. It was much quieter, partly because there was a breeze and partly because the Saturday picnic groups had not yet arrived. On the pier, the pelican was patiently waiting for its snack from the fishermen.
The Pier Beer at the Rikki Tiki Tavern was good but it was too breezy to stay for more than one glass and the Pelican's Bar and Grill was a better place for our lunch. It is also on the pier but it is a proper restaurant and our table had an excellent view down the beach. Pete was isistent that we tried Gator Tails so our two mains to share were the Southern Fried Gator served with fries, mango habanero sauce and ranch dressing (in the little bucket) and the Bait Pail which had fried gator, fried fish, fried shrimp, fried oysters, fries and three sauces (in the large basket). There was far too much batter and frying, but it was a special meal which we just managed to finish and was excellent. By now the beach had become much more busy although the wind had come up and people were sheltering with their dogs and families in a type of beach shelter we had nor seen before. Returning slowly along the beach the Beach'N Board's Fest was in full swing with competitions on the water and in the raised pool in the parking. It was all sponsered by Ron Jon Surf Shop where the shuttle bus was parked. We walked round the site and watched some of the kite surfing races and ordinary surfing competitions.
|Copyright © Peter and Pauline Curtis
Content revised: 28th March, 2018