Day Thirty-One: Castillo de San Marcos, Goodbye Florida, Hello Georgia

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

img_1599

I loved the Spanish architecture that was everywhere in St. Augustine. Here’s the United Methodist Church:

img_1602

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:

img_1605

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 theย sixteenthย 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.

img_1615

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:

img_1616Personally, I would have assumed the alarm was a good signal to get to a safe place and hide, but to each his own. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s what the dormitories looked like. Pretty spartan conditions.

img_1611

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.

img_1624

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 inย 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:

img_1635After 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!

Shawn

 

19 comments

  1. When we travel and stay awhile in one state, we also get tired of the same license plates. As far as the wet Florida land, every afternoon when it rained, our yard couldn’t hold any more water. It was like a little lake for some time, finally soaking it in until the next day. I’m glad that is behind you. Now Georgia will be on your mind…lol.

    Like

  2. Lovely day. Been years since I was in Savannah; hate Myrtle Beach SC where there is a putt putt golf adventure roughly every block and a half, but taking the ferry to the Outer Banks of NC is fun. We have a picture of hubby with our two little girls standing beside our van on the ferry. It had a couple surfboards and bicycles on a roof rack. Good memories from about 18 years ago!

    Like

  3. Loved the history lesson on St. Augustine. Wow, those guys sleeping in the dormitories must have been awfully short! You’ve got a great eye for taking photos. In the last photo, the color of the ocean where it meets the sky is a stunningly beautiful sea-green/blue. Safe travels to you both!

    Like

  4. I knew you would love st augustine and I bet there was a lot you missed. Glad you had fun. Now I know nothing about Georgia so will live it thru you two. BTW I’m a dawn person 1-2am.
    Enjoy

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I considered going to college in St. Augustine but I knew the beach would be too tempting and I’d never make it to class. Glad you enjoyed your visit.
    Looking forward to reading your next stretch of traveling as you cover the east coast!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just a side note…after myrtle beach you can ride on Rt 17 a.k.a. The Dismal Swamp. At the Chesapeake bay, you can hop into the tunnel bay bridge which takes you up the peninsula of Virginia. Rt 13 is the main highway. But you can check out the wild ponies of Asateague (sp) Island or Chincoteague Island. Both are beautiful. Rt 1 in Delaware will take you to Lewes, first city of the first state of America! You can take a relaxing ride on the Cape May/Lewes ferry. Enjoy your trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have been to St. Augustine, and was mesmerized by the history of the town. I have an MA in history, so this was my kind of place. Savannah is a great place for history also. Many of the buildings are quite old and beautiful. When Sherman was marching to the sea and destroying everything in site during the Civil War, Savannah surrendered rather than suffer the fate of Atlanta and other towns. Just don’t mention the state of Ohio when you are there. Southerners hold a grudge a long time. That is a bit of a joke, but true to some extent. Savannah is a lovely place with much to see. Enjoy.

    Like

  8. Beautiful area! I would love to spend time there. My hubby is not a fan of Florida (never been there, mind you) but I enjoyed my trip to the orlando area years ago. Love the pictures, the architecture is stunning. Sate travels to you both!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s