Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 17, 2017

**Next post will be Friday, April 7th**

Castillo de San Marcos

The Castillo as seen from San Marco Avenue is an agelessly impressive sight. This is the western wall or terreplein, with bastions San Pablo and San Pedro.Notice the person resting against the tree at right (I really hope he/she was only sleeping). Part of the Cubo Line, a defensive wall once topped by sharp yucca plants designed to keep out the enemy, can be seen at left.

Fountain of Youth

If you’re into high-tech informational displays, you might not like the displays at the Fountain of Youth, which tend more toward the quaint and old-fashioned. If, however, you enjoy history in all shapes and forms, you’ll love them. I personally like things like this --- ship models, artifacts recovered from the site, etc. --- and much prefer the kitschy charm of old-school displays over modern, in-your-face technological advancements.

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, March 9, 2017

March 10, 2017

Flagler College

I’m not certain, but I believe this Moorish / medieval window is part of the Flagler College complex. St. Augustine’s various styles of architecture are not to be missed, and random bits of prettiness aren’t at all difficult to find. The hint of palm at lower right places this gem in a tropical locale.

St. Photios Greek Orthodox Shrine

Not Orthodox? Not religious? No problem, this is still a stunning place and a nice little hideaway on St. George Street. This beautiful altar is located within the shrine, one of many details that make it a wonderful place to spend some time in contemplation. I believe the gilded book is a Bible inscribed with various colorful images of saints. The altar has an ancient feel, with details which may call to mind the Crusader or Byzantine era. 

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March 03, 2017

Fort Matanzas

Somewhere between modern-day Matanzas Inlet and Marineland, two infamous massacres took place in September and October 1565. The 250 or so men (numbers vary) who were slaughtered here were French Protestants whose religion and country of origin made them “undesirables” in the eyes of Spanish settlers. Though the exact place is not known, the Fort Matanzas nature trail offers an outlook over the Matanzas River where some believe the massacre may have taken place. Whether or not that's true, this is a scene right out of “old Florida”, with no modern encroachments whatsoever. If you were a French or Spanish soldier straight out of 1565, you would find nothing out of place.

Castle Warden

If you’ve ever visited Ripley’s Believe It or Not in St. Augustine, you’ve probably heard that the building which houses all those fantastical exhibits began its life as “Castle Warden.” It was constructed in 1887 --- the same time period in which Henry Flagler’s three magnificent hotels, now Flagler College, Casa Monica Hotel, and Lightner Museum, came into being --- and was inhabited by William G. Warden and his family. It’s not all that unusual to find a castle in St. Augustine; you’ll also find a 19TH century “palace” modeled after the Alhambra in Granada, Spain; a 17TH century Spanish fortress; and other amazing architectural beauties. 

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, February 23, 2017

February 24, 2017

Castillo de San Marcos

Here we see the second Spanish guardroom. Once upon a time, this room and the guardroom directly beside it were part of one large room. They were separated during wide-scale renovations in the 1730s through the 1750s. There are no bunks here currently, but there’s some interesting colonial graffiti. Note the rustic fireplace. Directly to the right and out of view is the carcél or prison, a fascinating place (if undeniably creepy).

Fountain of Youth

This is a tropical paradise if I ever saw one. The palms, the Spanish moss on the ground, the tiki torch, the ancient pottery and rusty anchor . . . what's not to love? You can tell it was a dreary day, but as long as it’s not raining, it’s not a deal-breaker. Also note the benches where you can sit and reflect on the Florida beauty all around you. Did they invent teleporting devices yet? I’d like to go right now, please.

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 17, 2017

The “Old Senator”

Years ago, I stayed at the Howard Johnson Express Inn on San Marco Avenue, and I became acquainted with this old gentleman. No, it’s not somebody in one of these cars, or staying in one of the rooms . . . it’s the huge live oak. Amazingly, this tree has stood exactly in this spot for about 600 years. (That means it was already 150 years old when Pedro Menendez and San Agustín’s first Spanish settlers arrived in 1565). We’ll say it began growing about 1417. It was already somewhere around one hundred years old when Juan Ponce de Leon arrived in “La Florida” in 1513!

Plaza de la Constitucion

The Plaza de la Constitucion is home to the old “slave market” (seen at left) which many argue was never used for that purpose, as well as various monuments, historic artillery, and other interesting gems. The St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica can be seen in the center of the photo. This is a great place to look at, but not so much to walk . . . not only is the traffic constant, but finding a safe place to park along the street can be a nightmare. 

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays