We had been anticipating our cruise on Carnival’s Breeze for months. Finally, it was the day. The bags were in the car. The cats’ bowls were spilling over with food. With all of the items checked off of our packing lists, we began our journey. The first destination? West Palm Beach, Florida. Infamous for my passenger-side sleeping, I couldn’t bear to close my eyes for even a second. I was brimming with anticipation and didn’t want to miss a thing. I love everything about traveling! Our first stop was the gas station. While Ashton filled Granny with gas, I purchased healthy snacks for the road. In hind-sight, I should have purchased more snacks. Little did I know that my husband, the traveling maniac, wouldn’t stop for food until we reached out destination. What is it with men and driving? Before we knew it, we’d already reached South of the Border. One state down, several more to go. The sun was shining. It was the most perfect day for traveling. #LifeIsGood
Although we had hoped it make it into Florida one tank of gas, it didn’t happen. We stopped just before hitting the Florida line to fill up. We are a family of gas-guzzler cars, so Granny’s gas mileage was a pleasant surprise. Maybe I’ll keep her for a while. At least, until the right convertible pops up at an auction….hint, hint.
As tradition requires, we stopped for freshly squeezed orange juice as soon as we crossed the Florida border. Believe me, it was a quick stop! I had to sip my juice in the car so that I could adequately savor it. I can’t complain. At least it was a chance to stretch the legs. By then, I had already found every possible different way to sit in the seat to avoid parts falling asleep. Legs up, legs down, legs crossed…..my fitbit didn’t get a workout that day.
Before dinner, we arrived at our West Palm Beach hotel. One thing that I always love about Hilton’s Embassy Suites is that it is always predictable. They are all pretty much standard in service and quality. We hauled our fifty-thousand pieces of luggage up to our room. Of course, as Hilton Honors members, we always ask for an upgrade. And, an upgrade we received! We nearly fell out when we opened the door to find a corner suite. It was larger than our first house! I had booked a standard king room weeks before, using the advanced purchase rate. We’ve found that it’s better to book directly through the hotel. When doing this, if there is any problem, the hotel is more likely to be helpful. ( This will be proven to be true later…)
I love that the Embassy offers a manager’s reception every evening. That’s two hours of drinks and snacks! They also include a made-to-order breakfast. The Embassy is always a lot of bang for the buck! We made a toast to safe travels and lots of adventures to come.
We met the nicest couple while we sipped our drinks at the bar. They were vacationing in Florida from Ireland. We shared dinner with them and had the best time sharing sharing stories. Phyllis and Gabe had the greatest Irish accents ever! I was green with envy. Pun intended. *wink*
When we woke the next morning, we could see the downtown area from our window. Our hotel was just off the interstate which didn’t prove to be a great first impression of the area. In fact, it’s not somewhere I’d venture out at night. Imagine our surprise as we wandered into the most gorgeous neighborhoods I’d ever seen as we neared the downtown area. We were completely speechless at the beauty of the homes we saw. Each home was surrounded by huge lush rectangular hedges; some with arched walkways. If you were a landscaper, there’d be no shortage of work there! West Palm seemed to have an old Hollywood glamour. Although over-the-top, it wasn’t glitzy or gaudy. It was completely regal. If I were a millionaire, West Palm Beach would be my choice of residency.
We stopped by the beach. At five dollars an hour to park, I’m glad we didn’t have our hearts set on spending the day on the sand.
We wanted to enjoy the West Palm surroundings, so we found a beachy outside bar and grill. We parked our car in a less expensive parking garage. Noting the names of streets in our memory, we made our way down the palm-lined streets. Ashton was finally starting to relax a little. If you ever have the chance, visit E.R. Bradley’s Bar and Saloon. It didn’t disappoint!
We stopped to ogle the yachts. I can’t even imagine what that type of life would be like….
Hot and tired from walking, we walked back towards the car garage. The first mistake we made was when we decided to take a different route than the one we took to the restaurant. The second mistake was leaving the ticket with the address of the garage in the car. The third mistake was assuming that we could remember the names of the streets where the garage was located. I can’t even find my car at the grocery store; much less in a parking garge in a strange town. The hunt was on as we frantically walked the streets of downtown West Palm. If some of our luggage weren’t still in the car, I’m sure Ashton would have abandoned the Mercedes and rented a car for the rest of the trip. Even more than me, he was freaking out. We did eventually find the garage after several melt-downs and blisters on the feet. We very much needed a happy hour after that. Never before had such a relaxing day turned stressful so quickly.
Here’s what I learned on this leg of the trip….
1. Once men start driving, they don’t stop. Take lots of snacks, but don’t drink a lot. Do encourage the driver to drink lots of coffee. That will guarantee, at least, a few stops to stretch the legs.
2. Don’t wear a jumpsuit while traveling. And, again, don’t drink a lot. Less drinks mean less bathroom breaks. I really didn’t feel good about stripping in a public restroom with cracks in the doors. Just sayin…..
3. When parking, take a picture of the street names. If there is a parking ticket, take it with you!
4. Hilton hotels rarely disappoint (especially free drinks!) All Embassy hotels have a daily Manager’s Reception and a free breakfast. Online, book the advanced purchase rate. It’s usually the cheapest option.
5. Always ask for an upgrade. What do you have to lose?
Stay tuned for The Breeze- Miami!