Friday, March 5, 2010

First day in the city. Castillo de San Marcos

Get ready for it! Here is the before picture...

And After! Greg's first haircut since September

Our bikes in downtown St. Augustine

Photo of our last map section for the whole trip

Castillo de San Marcos, here you can see the mote surrounding the fort

Brown Pelican

Greg: "Show me your happy face!"

Coquina walls

City of St. Augustine Coat of Arms

Window looking out from the soldiers' quarters

An undecipherable scratching on the walls of the soldiers' quarters

close up of coquina shell-stone construction

the walls were literally made of shells

Inside the Castillo de San Marcos courtyard

A ranger and Spanish soldier exchange words

A view across the courtyard

The dungeon!

The original city gate to St. Augustine

St. Augustine Florida, Rest and Enjoy


Day 121

12 miles

We took our time waking up this morning and ate snacks while we packed our camp. It was a strange feeling not to have an objective to ride to today. Our only goal is to go into St. Augustine and look around. We also may look for a barber for Greg. It is over three miles from our campground to St. Augustine, so we decided to get some lunch while on Anastasia Island. We stopped at the Gypsy Cab Company restaurant and had a nice meal of baked ziti bolognese and black bean and sweet potato burrito. It was a classy little place with a unique style and good vibes. Afterwords we made our way back into St. Augustine to see the city during the day. Our first stop was at the visitor information center across the street from the Castillo de San Marcos.

We decided that after picking up some wireless to work on blogs we would spend the rest of the day visiting Castillo de San Marcos, an old Spanish fort built to protect the city of St. Augustine when it was just a small colonial village. Construction of the fort was completed in 1695 and has been a stronghold for many different countries, notably Spain and England. The British took control in 1763 in exchange with Spain for La Habana, Cuba. The fort is built of coquina, a hard shell conglomerate rock. This fort is a hallow square with a bastion on each of the four corners. The shape of this fort allows for every angle around to fort to be fired upon by multiple cannons. Greg and I were lucky enough to see a cannon firing demonstration. We were amazed to learn that some of these cannons had a range of three miles! Amazingly, this fort was never once breached in its 315 years. Confederate soldiers even used this fort during the Civil War.

We had a great time touring the site and watched as the shadows grew long over this ancient fort. It was not hard to imagine this city in its infancy during colonialism. I am at a loss as to why we learn about the pilgrims and Jamestown as our country's oldest settlement, when St. Augustine predates these settlements by about 50 years, and is thus the oldest European-colonized city in America.

After our visit to the fort we rode to a barbershop to get Greg's haircut. This is a pretty monumental occasion and Greg has not had a haircut since September and his beard has grown quite large. We ended up at “Seems like Old Time” Barbershop and a nice barber did the honors of trimming up my handsome gentleman. We were impressed by how much hair had accumulated on the floor under Greg. He thought it felt pretty good to get the trim and I think he looks very nice with the new cut.

We rode our bikes back to Anastasia Island looking for a grocery store. We ended up eating dinner on the Island at a little place called Pizza Garden and Pastabilities. We had a delicious deep-dish veggie pizza for dinner. We then rode back in the dark to our campground and slept well after such a fun and interesting day.


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