Dawn and I are compatible in all the important ways, but our natural body clocks run differently. I am an early to bed, early to rise sort, and Dawn’s natural bedtime is between 1:00 and 2:00 AM. So, it is unusual for her to be asleep before me. It’s happened maybe ten times in our six years of marriage. Last night was one of those nights.
Universal Studios, along with the eight miles of walking we did in 90 degree heat, did her in. When I hit “Publish” on the blog, I always ask her to proof it for me. She has a good eye. Last night, I published the blog, said, “It’s done, baby, will you take a look at it for me?” No answer. “Baby?” A soft snore. That’s what I blame for mixing up road/rode last night. Oh, yeah, I was a little tired, too. 🙂
Nonetheless, we woke up this morning full of energy. After eight days in Florida, we were ready to see some new license plates.
Before we left Florida, we made one more stop, and it was a good one – St. Augustine. As a tour guide pointed out, St. Augustine is the oldest city in America, some 40 years older than Jamestown, and they don’t intend to ever let Jamestown forget it.
St. Augustine was really a highlight for us. Mansions, a beautiful college, a wonderful old downtown shopping area, and the oldest fort in the continental United States. Here’s a shot of the college – Flagler College, founded by Henry Flagler. It’s tough to walk around St. Augustine, or much of Florida, without seeing Henry Flagler’s fingerprints.
I loved the Spanish architecture that was everywhere in St. Augustine. Here’s the United Methodist Church:
Henry Flagler, again, had a hand in this. He wanted the site where the Methodist church stood for a hotel, so he traded them this land and some other favors in return for it. Say what you will about Mr. Flagler (and much has been said,) but he got things done. Here’s one more shot of a church:
That’s the Cathedral Basilica de St. Augustine, originally built in the 1790s. Where I come from, our history just doesn’t go back into the eighteenth century. Heck, the fort we visited dated to the sixteenth century. Boggles my mind a bit.
So, about that fort. It is the Castillo de San Marcos. Originally built starting in 1672, but not finished for several decades. The harbor that it guards was so strategically well placed that it saw battles and sieges a number of times. It was built by the Spanish, while they were still a major world power, and they used it to defend St. Augustine. Because the walls were built out of coral rock, they defended against cannons nicely. The British once said that attacking the walls of the fort was like stabbing a piece of cheese with a knife. Damage, yes, but not devastating.
The fort was as close to impenetrable as any fort ever is. It was heavily armed with cannon, so it was nearly impossible for opposing forces to approach, place ladders, and gain entry that way. Built on typically wet, Florida soil, no one could tunnel underneath it. It was heavily fortified with cannons, so it was difficult for ships to sit in the harbor and shoot at will. Here’s some shots of the fort, which today still looks much like it did several hundred years ago.
That belltower looked right out into the bay. It was easy to stand beneath it and imagine being a watchman, looking out for enemy ships. I was kind of amused by this sign:
Personally, I would have assumed the alarm was a good signal to get to a safe place and hide, but to each his own. 🙂
Here’s what the dormitories looked like. Pretty spartan conditions.
As we were leaving the fort, we noticed the drawbridge was opening to let a sailboat go through. I’ve always been fascinated by drawbridges and the way they work, so I took a picture.
We knew we had to leave St. Augustine if we wanted to spend the night in Georgia, so we reluctantly went back to the Silver Bullet, got on Hwy. A1A, and headed north. Hey, does anyone besides me remember that Vanilla Ice gave a shout-out to A1A in Ice, Ice, Baby? I do, which shows you how my brain works.
Of course, it would have been faster to go north on the freeway, but I-95 doesn’t offer views like this:
After a nice drive, we made it to Savannah, Georgia for the night. Tomorrow, I have my sights set on South Carolina.
Cheers, and safe travels!