I can't believe it. After our hundreds of hours of planning. Months of scrimping and saving, our vacation is dwindling down to it's last days. It seems unfair that something that has taken so long to come should end so quickly. We leave Florida to return home tomorrow.
After disney the rest of the vacation was planned around the things that I love, well some of it (if you take away the Nick Resort). I love history. You can't get too much better than St. Augustine a city that celebrates 450 years, also boasting to be North America's oldest continuously inhabited city.
One of the nicest things about this trip was meeting up with my cousin Sandy and her husband Joe. Sandy teaches (she's a professor) medieval history at the University of Florida. She has also been to St. Augustine several times, she was a really great tour guide. She made a point of pointing out to the kids the gates to the old city. Riley thought that they looked like hardened oatmeal. In fact it was seal shells that had been poured into the masonry.
What a beautiful place. It was like stepping into the 1500's, well minus the cars and modern dressed people walking around. I made a comment to Sandy that I was amazed that all of the old buildings were still intact. There was a time when everything old needed to be demolished to make way for the future. Sandy's reply was that what saved St. Augustine was it's lack of wealth at the time. Because it was not an up and coming city, it was spared. I am very thankful that it was not an up and coming city, therefore allowing us a glimpse into the past.
The city has seen it's more than fair share of blood shed. It was settled by the Spanish, then the French came and were eradicated by the Spanish. Then the English, each killing each other. It comes as no surprise that "ghost tours" are everywhere. It has not only been named "North America's oldest city", but also "North America's most haunted city". One author states that "St. Augustine in the day is not the same St. Augustine at night." This intrigues my husband. He would love to a ghost hunt. That is most certainly not this afraid of her own shadow's ideal trip.
We ate a fabulous lunch at a beautiful place called "Harry's". It was so nice to sit and catch up. Because Sandy lives in Florida I only get see her every five years or so. We did not have a long visit, but it was a lovely visit. We parted ways at the "Pirate Museum".
The pirate museum was fascinating. It was reasonably priced too, which was a nice bonus. The kids really enjoyed it, as did Christopher and myself. We learned some really interesting information. It turns out that Sir. Francis Drake, the man we know as an explorer, was also infact a pirate. He was hired as a "privateer" by Queen Elizabeth. A privateer is essentially a sanctioned pirate, as long as they steal from the enemy. He was knighted for stealing from and killing the Spanish. Who knew. We were able to see one of only two original "Jolly Roger" flags in existence. We saw real pirate treasure, and real gold deb-looms. For a history nerd like myself it was fascinating. They also had several pirate movie artifacts. I highly recommend going if you find yourself in the area.
It was a great day. Oh I hate the fact that our vacation is winding down, it feels like it just started.