Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Chuck wished to try the local buses and go downtown for dinner. This "spontaneous" method has smiled upon us many times. As we crossed the street, we asked a group of people about bus schedules and destinations. It turned out they were tourists themselves, from Istanbul. After our amazing trip to Turkey a couple of years ago, we had many things to discuss. They recommended the Bayside Market Place as the "most beautiful thing they had ever seen", so why not?
The bus was painfully slow on the way there, and painfully rare on the way back. The fare is $1.25, which is reasonable by any standard. What we always find is advantageous on public transportation is that you can glimpse all of those nooks and crannies you wish to revisit. Lincoln Road was jumping, and so it went down on the list.
We arrived at the Bayside Market and immediately, my thoughts were of the Baltimore Harbor and New York's South Street Seaport. The welcoming sounds of a live salsa band had us skipping like kids; the port of Miami was right there and a huge guitar pierced the sky from the rooftop of the Hard Rock Cafe.
We took photos of our newly found friends and set out to explore. The air was balmy, but tolerable. Don't ever forget that the weather in Miami can be merciless, and the combination of heat and humidity can drive more than your hair crazy. So stay hydrated and avoid the mid-afternoon sun.
This is for everyone: families bring their kids to eat, listen to music, even ride a carousel. There must be 1,000 shops there and when you can't handle the weather, sneak into one that's air-conditioned. Aside from the well-known brand names, there are several charming local boutiques offering everything from tropical themed jewelry, to Asian decorative objects and accessories, tops, tops, and more tops. At the entrance are several vending cards with either cold smoothies or cotton candy for the kids. (or the big kids like us).
Upstairs is the food court, and you can eat quite well relatively cheaply. I immediately decided to go for the fried fish (see picture) whereas Chuck ran for Chinese. He regretted that decision. After this light supper, we went outside onto one of the viewing decks and Chuck indulged in his picture taking frenzy. The sun was setting but there was absolutely no breeze. The band was still playing downstairs and you could hear people clapping along, enjoying themselves.
Should you come here by car, there seems to be ample parking (hourly rates). From here, you can also partake in different cruise offerings: one that I had taken years ago navigated through the homes of the rich and famous. Rates vary. Hotels and guide books will come in handy to help with choices. It's a great spot for walking, enjoying Cuban food and music, and being in fresh air when it's not stifling hot.