The Key to the Keys
Wednesday, 02.02., The Keys

"Hundreds of tiny islands, about 45 of which are populated, are strung from northeast to southwest and are connected by US Highway 1. Also called the Overseas Highway, this road is built on the foundation of the FEC Railway. In many areas of the key, it's the only road," I read a historic bit of information out of our guidebook.
"And why did they call it key?"
"I have no clue. But look at this bridge!"
"That must have been the former railway."
"It looks like a Magritte painting," I said, and reached for the digicam to turn the scene into a photo.

Half an hour later, we crossed the Nile. It was followed by Duck Key. Then came Grassy Key, Boot Key and - Pigeon Key.
"Pigeon? All I can see here are - Pelicans."
And how amazing they were. Sitting on another one of those abandoned railway bridges, ignoring the passing traffic, as this was their private resort, and us who had discarded the pigeons.
"This bridge is endless. I wonder how long it is," I said.
"Seven miles," he answered.
I stared at him.
"That at least is the name of it: Seven miles bridge."
Watching the pelicans, I had missed the sign. Just like I had missed the part of True Lies with the race across the bridges.
"You really can't remember Arnie driving down these bridges?", Ronnie teased.
I shook my head.
"The scene is endless."
"Just like this bridge."
And it was. Endless. With a little island in the middle. And an elevation that made you feel like driving straight into the sky, higher and higher, in ever changing shades of blue.

Later, on the way back, we found the answer that always had been there. Somewhere between Sugarloaf Key and Summerland Key I browsed the paged of the guidebook again.
"In 1513, Juan Ponce de León first sailed around the Keys - 'key' is the Anglicized version of the Spanish cayo, or cay," it said, joyfully skipping the answer to the next question what cayo exactly means.
"Island," we decided, and traversed the Nile again.

Map: Florida, with our routes

next: Meridian Crossing

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
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