After an early start and a breakfast of jam sandwiches we headed for Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The drive wasn’t bad and the parking garage was both completely empty and cheaper than we expected, score! We started our day with a gentle stroll down Las Olas Boulevard, which is the main shopping area, popping into a few (somewhat overpriced) shops. After a while the shops tailed off and we were walking past various small peninsulas and waterways with huge yachts moored in them. Eventually we came to the huge drawbridge which took us over the river towards the beach. We sat on the beach for a while, and then wandered along some of the beachfront shops. Deciding to go in search of the Riverfront (which the USA book informed us was worth seeing) we were stopped by the bridge operator, who recommended the Water Taxis to us and gave us a leaflet. We stopped on a bench by the water to look over the leaflet and decided that although slightly expensive at $20 each it would allow us to see more of Fort Lauderdale. The Water Taxi was waiting as we arrived at stop number 4 and we sat back and enjoyed the commentary from the Captain and the First Mate as we travelled through the waterways.

Waterways and yachts

These are lined with huge yachts moored outside even bigger mansions belonging to the rich and famous, some of whom were identified by the commentary. At one of the stops we saw the largest cruise ship in the world, taller than the Hilton hotel that it was next to. We got off at stop 9 for lunch in the Cheesecake Factory and to put more money on the car to continue our adventures. There was a bit of a wait for a table in the Cheesecake Factory but it was so worth it. Having gone in planning just to have cheesecake, we eventually decided to share two appetisers and finish up with cheesecake. The food was amazing, avocado and chilli egg rolls and quesadillas with dips, followed by a slice of raspberry and lemon cheesecake for me and red velvet for Lizzie. Liz couldn’t quite finish hers so we had it boxed up for later. After quickly returning to the car park to pay for more parking we caught the Water Taxi again and got off at the Riverwalk, where we wandered for a while before catching one back in the other direction. These second two taxis were nowhere near as good as the first as they did not throw in any sort of commentary, which was a little disappointing. Before we knew it 5 o’clock had come around and we got off at the next stop hoping to get a taxi back in the opposite direction. Alas! A look at the schedule told us that the next one would not be there until half past, and with parking running out at twenty to, we were just going to have to rush. So we power walked and walked and walked and walked. We hadn’t quite realised how far it was… about 30 blocks, several miles at least. We arrived at the car hot, tired and thirsty, but although we were 20 minutes late, thankfully there was no ticket. Having caught our breath we began the drive back to the campsite. Thankfully, our noisy neighbours from the night before were gone and we roasted vegetables in the campfire and finished off Lizzie’s cheesecake. The rest of the evening was spent with each of us taking a turn on the laptop before bed.

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