Castillo de San Marcos
Did you know there’s a hidden room in the Castillo? Well, it’s not really hidden, it’s in plain sight, but with its entrance being just a little shaft close to the floor, you might easily miss it. This is the original powder magazine. It proved unsuitable for gunpowder since the room was always so damp, and was walled up until about the 1830s. (That’s another story, and quite an interesting one). Now it’s a rather creepy place you have to pretty much crawl to enter, but it’s worth the effort. This is one of the oldest rooms in the fort, dating from the 1670s and thus escaping the throes of remodeling in the 1750s. Oh, try to ignore the legends of two lovers being chained to the wall. That’s typical St. Augustine ghost lore, and the Castillo’s real history is way too fascinating to bother with hyped paranormal tales :-)
Fountain of Youth
It’s 1587, and you’re a colonist in the little settlement of San Agustín, which is only twenty-two years old. You climb up in the loft of the mission church, and this is what you see. Thanks to the cool and enterprising folks at the Fountain of Youth Park, we modern visitors get to see what our ancestors saw. (Okay, not my ancestors. My ancestors were stubbornly Protestant and would not have done very well in a place like this. Neither would they have had a very warm reception. :-)) I can’t wait to climb up here again. The loft is reached by a wooden staircase which is new and appears very safe, and if you visit on a dreary, rainy day like I did, the ambiance is quite striking.
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