On Sunday morning I touched down in a surprisingly sunny London which helped to mask the sadness of leaving the paradise that I had called home for the last 3 weeks. The 30-degree heat, blue skies, vibrancy and exotic nightlife will be sorely missed. It is, however, time to get back to work with the vineyard planting now only a week away and busy summer, jam-packed with shows, cider to sell, wine to drink and cocktails now to be made.
My last week in Miami was superb! If you recall in the last blog, I spoke of renting a Mustang as well as going to a Miami Heat basketball game, I can firmly report that both far exceeded my expectations. First, let’s talk about the basketball game. I went to the American Airlines Arena not really knowing what to expect as I had only ever been to one basketball game before in New York when I was very young. The Atmosphere was electric! If there is one thing I can say for Americans, It’s that at a sporting event, they certainly know how to put on a show, be it flamethrowers, cheerleaders, light shows, great music, it all makes for an unbelievable night of entertainment. Whilst I’m still a solid rugby fan I have to admit the entertainment factor at the basketball exceeded that of a premiership rugby game. On top of that, ‘The Heat’ won the game, making it into the playoffs so as you can Imagine it was a pretty big night all across the city!
Now how do you top such a great evening, easy, you rent a Mustang and take the 4-hour drive down to Key West. I really cannot begin to describe how good a day this was… For starters to get behind the wheel of a Mustang and put the hammer down is a feeling you can’t really compare, especially when you’re used to driving a big, heavy 4x4. Unfortunately, in America, the speed limits are so SLOW! The driving system is also a little rubbish, for starters they drive on the wrong side of the road… don’t hate me for saying that if anyone reading this is from a country that drives on the right. Everyone seems to just overtake and undertake, you get people who just sit at 50 in the fast lane which drives me nuts, so you find yourself weaving in and out to get some clear road to open up the power under the hood.
If anyone has ever driven to Key West, you’ll know that the road is absolutely stunning with scenery you only see in the movies. We put the roof down, whacked the tunes on and enjoyed the ride! (Yes I know… typical young lads, but hey we loved every minute of it) When we got onto the famous 7-mile bridge I was blessed with the open road with no-one around but me, the 2 other guys and the car. As you can imagine it was impossible to resist the temptations of opening her up, I got her up to 140 before backing off in fear of a police car suddenly appearing, you could tell that 140 barely even scratched the surface of what she could really do. One thing I’ve certainly learnt is to never let an Italian behind the wheel. They’re constantly on the horn and drive so close behind the other cars, it’s frightening. When we eventually got to Key West, It was so beautiful and what I liked the most was that it wasn’t as touristy as I expected it to be, in fact, it was quite the opposite, there were maybe 10 other people on the beach, it was so peaceful and serene and we could not have asked for a better day. It was, I have to say as close to perfection as I’ve seen in a while. I couldn’t help but sit back relax and fall into a much-needed sleep.
Unfortunately for me, this is where I became the typical English tourist as this time, I really did roast like a lobster, there wasn’t a single inch of me that wasn’t red-raw and stinging. My skin is still pealing today. Lesson learnt… don’t fall asleep on the beach for 5 hours!
The rest of the final week was then riddled with exams, I’m pleased to say that I passed all of them, including the all-important final bar exam which has granted me my bar certificate and the qualifications I need to be confident behind a decent bar. I can’t wait to set up our bar properly and start hosting evenings here!
So, now that the 3 weeks have come to a close I can give my final verdict. I honestly cannot recommend EBS (European Bartender School) and Miami enough! I had the most amazing time there and made a whole bunch of new friends, got to experience a new city and culture and learnt new skills in the process and not to mention, enjoyed some of the finest weather ever! It has also re-inspired my desire to travel America, a proper road trip… I cannot Wait!
I have made a video of my experience, so If any of you are thinking of doing the course, or planning a trip to Miami, give it a watch.
Until next time,