It was the the 24th of December, as we said goodbye to Savannah and Forrest Gump (you can read everything about it here), as we hit the road and were about spending Christmas Eve in Florida! That last glimmer of Christmas feeling, that was still hidden inside of me, vanished by the time, we reached Fernandina Beach, a city on Amelia Island, which is one of the southernmost of the Sea Islands. We still had some time until we could check in at our hotel, so we decided, to check out the beach, which was super close to our hotel. It was a little chilly that morning and actually the coldest day during our road trip. It has been a strange but nice feeling, sitting by the beach on December 24th. I was thinking of my family and that they might decorate their Christmas tree while I am sitting by the beach in Florida. So I texted my dad and sent him a picture of how my day of Christmas Eve looked like and he said, that he is very happy for me being able experiencing all of this. So here we were, watching some little birds running threw the water, listening to the sound of the ocean and enjoying this incredible weather. We’re such lucky bastards!
After checking in, we were about discovering Fernandina Beach and surroundings (most of all, we were also looking for a liquor store to get something to drink for the night. I know, it sounds very desperate and you might think, we are alcoholics, but we are really not!). It was impossible to find a liquor store, which was incredibly incredible! But yeah, nothing! Zero (okay, this does sound desperate now…)! So we were just driving around, without knowing where to go, which turned out to be the greatest idea, because we ended up in this cute holiday center, which you could call “The Center Parks of Amelia Island”! Not that I have ever been to Center Parks, but if I am trying to think of a name for this adorable place, I am thinking about Center Parks right away. I am still not sure about what it really was, if we even were allowed to be there, or what the name of this place was, but I know, that it was just beautiful. There have been so many houses, which turned out to be shops, restaurants and a little animal farm. This tiny farm had a parrot, that was sitting on top of a branch in the middle of the room (it freaks me out a little, when I see birds not being in a cage, because I am always afraid, they’ll attack me), some snakes, a baby opossum and a cute little rabbit, which was trying to eat my backpack or maybe just wanted to sneak inside of it to come with us. This entire place spread so much inner peace, with all its trees and flowers, that I felt completely free from worry! It felt like being cut off from the outside world. We were looking for some booze and found a little piece of nature heaven (and a huge Christmas tree)!
Still being stunned, we got back in the car on our way back, exploring Fernandina Beach a little more. As we were strolling through this charming but sleepy little town, we were looking for a nice reastaurant to have dinner at, as we spotted Santa Claus on the other side of the street taking a break in front of the store. It was hard finding a restaurant. Nothing seemed to be good enough. We wanted to have something special for our Christmas Eve dinner in Florida, so we didn’t feel like having Mexican or Italian food (please forgive me, that I just wrote this, motherland of incredible food! I love you!). At some point, we gave up and decided to look for something again later on at the hotel. Now it was time to just enjoy spending time in Fernandina beach. We saw people going to church and the sun slowly setting by the harbor. What I felt that evening was pure happiness and peace.
Back at the hotel, we were figuring out where to have dinner. My friend found a piece of paper with some names of restaurants on our desk and was reading the menus to me. “What would you like to eat?”, he asked me. I always gave him the same answer and I know it always annoyed the shit out of him. “I don’t know. I don’t care.”. He looked at me, with this look on his face, that clearly expressed: “Seriously?!”. I knew, that I’d be on the safe side, because he is French! I mean, c’mon, they have it in their genes, when it comes to great food. I know, this sounds like the biggest clishé, but it’s true! No matter, what places he chose to have some food, it always has been good. He once even told me, that most of the time, when I chose a place, it has been crap. So if you get to hear that, you wave the white flag and let the Frenchman do it! And he always did a good job. And I know, it can be annoying, if there is a vegetarian (that one is me)! So he did that night again. After being turned down at one place, he called the best restaurant, I have ever been to in my entire life. And back then, I didn’t even know then! “I’m gonna call that place called “David’s Restaurant & Lounge”. It sounds good.”, he said and got a table for us. We didn’t have high expectations and we have been proofed better as soon as we got there! I loved the atmosphere, although I usually don’t like abtract decoration, art and mostly anything, that has something to do with abstracts, but I really loved how this place looked like, espeacially the grey stone walls. And thank God, I had to go to the bathroom, because this place was just amazing. “Oh my Gooooood! This bathroom makes you wanna go pee like a million times, only so that you can go back there!!!”, is what I told my friend, being a little tipsy, from that great French (of course!) wine we got. It was delicious! The staff there was incredibly curtouse and I loved our waiter. “He’s so cute, I wanna hug him!”, is what I told my friend. Man, that French wine really got me! Our food was amazingly good, so that both of us almost got unconscious and this time I am not exaggerating! After finishing our dessert and paying the check, we were sad about leaving, because we knew, that this delicious experience has been the first and last time. A big thank you to “David’s Restaurant & Lounge” for this wonderful dinner! No matter when you guys are down there, do yourselves a favor and go eat at “David’s Restaurant & Lounge” (get a table here)!!! You’ll experience how heaven tastes like!
This has been a perfect Christmas Eve! My friend got even more excited being able to finally open his presents now, while I was just laying on top of our bed. Happy, but drunk. This French wine just has been too good for a little German woman like me. So I fell asleep while Christmas was about to start. The very next morning it was time to leave Florida and hit the road back to Wahsington D.C.! “I’m gonna drive the entire way until home!”, is what I told my friend. “Don’t you think, it’s a little bit too much? Maybe we should stop in Raleigh, North Carolina?”, is what my friend suggested, but I didn’t want to spend another night in a hotel without a Christmas tree, while there was waiting a huge one for me with a fireplace right next to it back home. “Nah, I can do it! C’mon, I am German! I am tough”, is what I assured him laughing. He looked at me, with that kind of look on his face, that said: “Well, if you think so, okay.”. So we hit the road. 10 hours driving ahead of us. It was tough. Very tough. Especially the very last hour almost killed me. For the first time, I experienced, what it feels like driving and being super tired. I wasn’t driving fast. I was driving under the speed limit and thought I was having a race with all the other cars on the highway. My view changed from seing double to seing triple! It was like torture, but I knew, that I would get us home safe! And I made it. After reaching home, turning off the car and sitting on the couch, I suddenly felt, how tired I really was. Once you sit down, you start feeling it. “I never would have thought saying this, but…I am sick of driving.”, is what I told my friend. So it was time to turn on the Christmas lights, the fire place and a movie. And to fall asleep.