Wednesday, June 29, 2016

96 Hours in Florida: Day 4 & Video Diary

Our final day in Florida was definitely the most relaxing. We had about half a day to kill before we had to board a flight back home so we decided to take advantage of our hotel amenities and do a nice spa day. We didn't actually book any treatments; we just used the sauna, steam room, whirlpool, and private saltwater pool and tried to get as chilled out as possible before heading to an airport full of chaos and crying babies.
For whatever reason, we were lucky enough that the spa day was totally complimentary. Normally it's $30 per person but the spa attendant had us sign in and then told us that entry was free for us that morning. That really put us in a great mood.

I didn't bring any photography equipment with me into the spa for obvious reasons, but rest assured, it was awesome. Because we got there right when it opened, it was empty and we had the place to ourselves. The facilities were really nice and the spa attendant was so kind and helpful and sweet. We started off in the sauna to sweat out the toxins and then we rinsed off with a cool shower. Then, we headed into the steam room and placed warm lavender towels on our faces to open up our pores. Then, we rinsed off with another cool shower. Then, we went into the whirlpool to relax our muscles, which were just the slightest bit sore from snorkeling and kayaking. Then, we did the same routine once more, with a break in the middle to sit on the most comfortable padded lounge chairs with cool cucumber towels on our faces, and replacing one of the cool shower rinses with a dip in the saltwater pool. It was fabulous and our skin was totally revived and plumped and fresh afterwards.
Pho 79
We probably could have spent another hour in the spa but our stomachs were roaring in protest so we had to check out and grab lunch. There is a large Vietnamese population living in this area, which means delicious Vietnamese restaurants aplenty, which means we had to get some pho while we were in town.
The staff were super Vietnamese - everything on the menu was in Vietnamese with minor english translations and the waiter wrote on his little notepad in Vietnamese - and the clientele was full of old Vietnamese grannies and grampies, which basically guaranteed to us that the food would be delicious and authentic.
We decided to share egg rolls (which were spring rolls; they call their summer rolls spring rolls), a medium pho with rare flank, and bun bo hue. Everything was fantastic. The spring rolls were super crisp with delicious filling (made with a bunch of vegetables and glass noodles). The pho was incredibly flavorful; the broth was clean-tasting, fresh, and the noodles were chewy and perfect. The bun bo hue was actually spicy, which we both loved, and the noodles were tender. My only complaint would be that the meat in the bun bo hue wasn't quite as tender as we were used to and the pig feet didn't have much meat on the bones. But, the broth was so killer, I would have forgiven them if there wasn't any protein in the bowl.

I also really loved and appreciated the pile of culantro (yes I mean culantro and not cilantro; it's cilantro's leafier cousin), sprouts, limes, Thai basil, perilla leaves, sliced banana flowers, and jalapeno. We added a little, no, a lot of everything to each bowl and savored every bite and drop of broth.
545 Banh Mi Cafe
Even though we were stuffed to the brim with soup, we stopped by the neighboring shop to grab some banh mi to enjoy on the plane ride home. I also got a green tea smoothie, which was so sweet and creamy and delicious. I'm sure it was calorie-laden, but hey, carpe diem.
Even though the day was projected to be stormy and there was a potential for canceled flights, the sky was blue with fluffy white clouds so our flight left on time and in good spirits.
There was some turbulence here and there, but nothing a little classic banh mi couldn't fix. We went for the #1, which was "the works" with pate and headcheese and all of that good stuff. It was really good. I highly recommend 545 because the bread is perfect - light and crisp - and it's super affordable. I mean, it's $4.50 or less per sandwich, which beats Subway every day.
I watched the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice combined with some naps on my way home and soon we landed in foggy NJ. Honestly, as crummy as it always feels to be back from holiday, I enjoyed the normal amount of humidity in the air and being greeted by my loving furbaby at home.
Here's my pinned map with all the places we visited and stayed and some extra pins we didn't get to:


And here's my video diary:

xoxo.

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