Feb. 7-9, 2017: St. Augustine, FL

We interrupt this blog entry for an important announcement:  we have gone uptown with this blog so that we can put more pictures in the posts.  Since we are now paying for it, you may notice a change in the URL from sailkestrel.wordpress.com to sailkestrel.com.  Either one will bring you here.

Back to the blog entry . . .

We spent a lovely three days in St. Augustine.  The sunny, balmy, breezy weather really makes us feel like we are finally in Florida.

We took two days to be tourists.  We entered the old city gates and walked up and down St. George St., which is a pedestrian-only street bordered by tons of little shops and restaurants.

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City gates with St. George St. in the background.

We ate lunch at an amazing Cuban bakery, aptly named The Cuban Bakery.  The Captain is a Cuban sandwich afficianado, and he was in heaven.  Two walls were heavily graffiti’d with visitors’ names, so we added Kestrel.

We also visited the Castillo de San Marcos, a really neat fort built in the 1600s.  St. Augustine and its wooden fort kept getting burned down by various and sundry invaders, so they built one of coquina stone.  Coquina is a mix of shells and sand, and it is virtually impenetrable by non-explosive rounds like cannon balls.  It just absorbs the impact and doesn’t crack, so the walls never fell.  Kind of like a fort made of Nerf.

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It had many beautiful, original cannons on the upper walls.  They were heavily coated in verdigris, which made the relief carvings really stand out.  The craftsmanship that went into the cannons is beautiful to see; it was an odd juxtaposition to their purpose.  I’m not sure if it was a joke, but the National Park Service interpreter said that soldiers with teeth shot the muskets (because they had to tear open the powder packets with their teeth), and soldiers without teeth shot the cannons.  Even if it’s not true, I’m sticking with that theory.

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On the day we visited the fort, we had another awesome lunch, this time at Borrillo’s Pizza, a New York style pizza parlor.  The lunch special was two slices and a drink for $6, and I swear the two slices added up to half a pizza.  We were dying by the time we finished.

After the pizza, in an effort to ward off the food coma, we walked up to the spot where the first non-native people set up the mission that was eventually to become St. Augustine.  Unfortunately we couldn’t visit the exact spot due to storm damage from Hurricane Matthew, but we consoled ourselves with the fact that they had to walk inland, too, so we were close enough.

We leave tomorrow to head for one-night stops in Daytona Beach and Titusville on our way to Vero Beach.

 

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