Korbin West – As I walked out of our hotel for our last full day, I realized this was our last opportunity to absorb some of the beauty of our trip. I have already experienced some of the most amazing views so far in the trip, such as the great palaces of Batista or the desolate slums that many Cubans suffer in every day. However, I quickly learned that Miami also has some amazing buildings and styles unlike anything else I’ve seen. Miami Beach was built with foundations of Art Deco and Modernistic architecture integrated into every shop, hotel, and restaurant.
One fine example of Miami’s architecture was the museum we visited, the Jewish Museum of Florida. Simply put, it was an awe-inspiring building. As I walked in, I was greeted by a spacious room, filled with the calming light from the stained glass and large, decadent chandeliers. On every wall hung Jewish artifacts that the museum has spent over a decade collecting and artifacts as old as over 250 years old. The museum was a classic example of the Art Deco style (a type of architecture dedicated to a luxurious and futuristic look), with an emphasis on symmetry, great columns, overarching ceiling, and ornate decorations. The building was so committed to its architectural style that it had to cut off half of the Jewish Star of David to retain its symmetry. As I walked out of the museum, it only became more apparent that the city was filled with pronounced architectural masterpieces.
While just looking for a place to eat, I came across a few more of Miami’s great pieces of design. The Colony Hotel with its large curved concrete foundations and use of neon lights give off a feel for the space age. The Bacardi Building, a uniquely, abstract structure, brightly decorated with countless colors. Even buildings like the Post Office or the Police Station come with their own sense of style and luxury. These futuristic looking offices separate from the pack, as just about every Post Office or Police Station I have seen has been dreary and dull. Their inclusion into Miami Beach’s unique style just further illustrates how in Miami, even the most ordinary can be extraordinary.
Lastly, one cannot speak of Miami Beach’s splendor without mention of its luxurious beaches. On Ocean Avenue, right across the streets from some of the wondrous buildings I mentioned above, was the ocean. Even in late-November, the sun, sand, and sea were as grand as ever. The sea was a deep blue-green, with its waves washing up and down the shore for miles. I could see the glimmer of cruise ships, enjoying the warmest winter breeze I have ever felt. For the first time in our adventure-packed trip, I was able to just lay down and let the beauty wash over me, literally.
Our trip has been filled to the brim with experiences I will never forget. Whether it be the music and dance from the Cuban towns, the feeling of the 1950’s in downtown Havana, or the breath-taking views everywhere I look, I will always be thankful for the time I took to just stop and soak up the beauty of our world.