Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 29, 2016

Castillo de San Marcos

The Castillo didn’t always look this way, at least not at this height. When the old Spanish fort was first built (1672 – 1695) the walls rose 26 feet. Throughout the 1700s they were built up to 33 feet, their current height. So if you were a British attacker during the siege of 1702, your view would have been a little different than, say, a British attacker in 1740. (Yes, the British sallied forth to St. Augustine quite often, and rarely with good intentions). This particular view shows the south terreplein (right) and St. Peter’s Bastion (Baluarte de San Pedro) at left. Note the lone cannon peeking through the embrasure, as well as the shadow of the second drawbridge.

Fountain of Youth

One of the most fascinating features of the Fountain of Youth Park is the reconstructed Timucua village, which really gives an idea of how the Native people lived long before the Spanish arrived (for better or for worse . . .). This small hut showcases colorful markings, a religious figure at bottom center, a pit with conch shells, and various other interesting details. When you duck inside these structures you can smell the damp thatch. It’s quite an experience. If you love St. Augustine’s history you can’t miss these interactive displays, as they place you right in the past.

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 22, 2016

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

You'll find many strange and interesting things at Ripley’s Believe It or Not without even entering the museum. Here we see an anchor, which isn’t particularly fascinating, but the story of its former resting place is . . . check out the “Massacre Anchor” sign. In previous posts I’ve explained how important the story of the 1565 Huguenot massacre is to me, so it’s nice to see a reference that lots of folks passing through St. Augustine will see. (I do wonder how old the anchor is, though, and it’s story. Probably quite interesting as well). The sign reads, "Matanzas means massacre in Spanish. This anchor was pulled from the depths of Matanzas Bay where people were slaughtered in 1565. This marks a true tragedy in St. Augustine & U.S. history."

Fort Mosé

Fort Mosé (both the visitor center/museum and the boardwalk seen here) is one of St. Augustine’s hidden historical gems. The park pays tribute to the city’s African-American residents, tells their story, and allows visitors to look across the marsh toward the site of the original Fort Mosé. Sadly there’s nothing left of it, but I believe the museum is raising funds to rebuild a portion of wall to give folks a better idea of how things looked. Whether you have African heritage or are just interested in history, this is a cool little place with lots to see. On the boardwalk you'll have the opportunity to encounter many different kinds of wildlife, including the sea turtle I observed on my most recent trip. Watch out for snakes and alligators . . .

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 15, 2016

Mission Nombre de Dios

This is one of my “artsy” shots of Nombre de Dios. I stood just outside the La Leche shrine and managed to get palm trees, Spanish moss, and the picturesque chapel windows complete with stained glass all in one shot. It helped that the sun rays fell in such a way that the illuminated some areas and left others in shadow; oh, there are also a few glowing candles visible through the left window. Unfortunately, I didn’t want to disturb the folks praying and reading inside, so I had to content myself with views through the windows and the open door.

St. George Street

I’ve mentioned on many of my Fountain of Youth posts how I love to watch and listen to the peacocks that freely roam the ground. Imagine my surprise at finding a stylized peacock inside the St. Photios Greek Orthodox shrine on St. George Street! I’m not sure of the symbolism, but this particular image definitely livened up the spot. Just to the left was the beautiful ‘inner sanctum’ featuring religious paintings, historical objects, and the altar itself. Be warned that if you don’t come from a Catholic or Orthodox tradition (which I don’t) the smell of incense and chanting in a foreign language might not be your thing. Still, the ambiance is pleasant, and the shrine is definitely worth a look.

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April 08, 2016

Castillo de San Marcos

This interesting palm-log wall is called the Cubo Line, and it holds an important place in St. Augustine’s history. Back when the city was called San Agustín and you had to be Spanish or at least Catholic to even entertain any hopes of living there, the British were a constant threat. So the Spanish built the Cubo Line, which began at the Castillo and helped defend the town. The original wall was begun in 1737 and was repaired in the 1770s. The defenses were reincarnated in the late 1700s/early 1800s in a more modern form, and it still existed in some form in 1818. By the 1850s parts of the Cubo Line were nothing more than ditches. I imagine the section shown above is a reconstruction, but it’s very likely that the original wall had a similar appearance.

Fountain of Youth

I find this photo taken from the “Founders’ Walk” pier to be very peaceful. Overcast day, beautiful breeze, boat bobbing gently in the gentle waves, a zigzagging river, nobody in sight. Pure, heavenly, unadulterated Florida. Of course, I imagine the folks that own the boat wouldn’t like me taking it out for a spin . . . I promise I’ll bring it back! :-) The Founders’ Walk is, in my opinion, one of the prettiest spots in the city. The Fountain of Youth Park has grown and evolved so much in the 15 years I’ve been coming to St. Augustine. They have so much to offer, and I think the very best offerings are the ones that don’t involve any bells and whistles, just peaceful scenery and a chance to really enjoy what’s all around you.

(c) 2015-2016 Skies of Blue and Gray