Monday, May 26, 2014

St Augustine to ?

We have now left St Augustine and are headed North to a destination we have not yet decided upon. We had a lovely stay in St Augustine despite the temps in the 90s and high humidity.
The first day we spent exploring the cute little town. There were many lovely side streets -
Henry Flagler, who built the railway out to Key West features prominently in the town. The college is named after him and he built two very prestigious looking hotels across from each other. Neither are hotels today but you can take a tour of the Ponce de Leon Hotel. We took a peak at its grounds and the lobby. Both were impressive.

This is the ceiling in the lobby. I thought it was spectacular.
The other hotel Flagler built is now the Lightner Musuem. Gary was not aware that his friend, Barry was of such famous descent!!
These cute little 3 wheeler cars were available for rent. We saw several of them around the city. You could only fit two people in them and I think Gary
and I would have been a little squashed. We have 3 wheeler cars for invalids in England and they turn people heads if they had not seen one before. These little "guys" were also head turners. David and Katie rented one similar to these in Barcelona. They came with verbal directions and gave a narrative on places of interest. What a great idea.
We visited the Castillo de San Marcos the following day. This was the fort the Spaniards built to keep out the British. It didn't keep me out did it???

It had walls 17 feet thick made from Tabby (oysters shells burned until they became limestone). The fort had the usual cannon fire display -
Rats,  I missed the flame (again). I did like the design on a bronze cannon weighing 4800lbs. It could fire a cannonball 3.5 miles. I would love to have done a brass rubbing of it. I do not know if we do brass rubbings here. I have never seen anyone doing one.
 The men and boys were all dressed in different types of Spanish uniforms consistent with the period.
Man, they must have been hot because some of them had on 3 layers of clothing. I was sweating in my sleeveless T shirt.
On the way to the Colonial Quarter we passed the first wooden schoolhouse in St Augustine.

Located near the City Gates, The Old School House is a surviving expression of another time. Built over 200 years ago, while Florida was under the rule of Imperial Spain, it was constructed of red cedar and cypress and put together with wooden pegs and handmade nails.
The Colonial Quarter consisted of a guided tour showing you various old buildings and crafts. The young man giving the tour was both funny and knowledgeable. I think he may also have been a blacksmith too, as he was very informative when giving a blacksmith demonstration.
He also demonstrated how to use a musket.
The village had a man building a 56 foot galleon from scratch. I do not know how long he had been at it but he had a long way to go.

After the tour was finished we were free to tour on our own. I went into the print shop to see what the Colonists used to print their literature.
It was not quite the Gestetner my Mum used to use. This one's for you Mum. I love you and miss you!
One of the houses had an old hip bath in it. Crikey, I could not imagine bathing in this thing. Once in it I would be afraid I could not get myself out of it. They must have been a lot smaller in those days.
 The same house with the bath had this carpet in it. I just loved the colours and thought it would make an unusual photo. It turned out quite well I thought.
The site had a tower you could climb to get a view of the harbour and the city. Gary did not fancy all the steps so I climbed up by myself. I was glad Gary didn't make the effort as it was not really worth the view from the top. In fact, I only took two shots, one of the fort and one looking down.

On the way back to the boat we passed the two old ships in the above photos. Can you imagine being Columbus or Vasco de Gama manning these ships with no depth finder, GPS or compass and thinking the world was flat and you could fall off the edge? Or would you rather sail in a modern day boat with all the modern appliances and conveniences?

I thought these houses were interesting. I like the idea of having porches or patios.

Today is Memorial Day. I wanted everyone to remember the Men and Women who gave their lives for their country and for freedom. We owe so much to them.
I do not think the US is prepared for all the problems the Vets will bring with them when they have finished their tour of duties in Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever the soldier/sailor has been sent. I worked on a psych unit and have seen the problems mental illness can cause both the patient and the family. We need many more mental health clinics and workers to help these brave men and women when they return home. Otherwise murder, suicide, abuse and PTSD will cause misery for many, many people. Well, that is my soap box talk for today. So, if you are reading my Blog Mr Obama, get more help for the good folks who are defending our country and our freedom, please!!

Kingston Rover Loop Map

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