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Old 01-30-2012, 03:40 PM   #1
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Fred and Wilma - They're Back and They're Child Free (Day 5 - St Augustine)

Monday 30th August

I had a very uncomfortable night indeed. The sheets, although nice and soft, felt like sandpaper on my poor, sunburned knees. I gave up any hope of sleep at around 5.30 and ran myself a cool bath. That helped a little and, by the time Gary got up at 6.30, I was feeling a bit better. I put some more aloe gel on my legs and got dressed, making sure to wear long shorts We finished up the last bits of packing and were ready to leave by 8.

We used the check-out facility on the television, which was really easy, and dragged our suitcases out to the car. By 8.30, we were on the I4 heading North to Downtown Orlando. The I4 was very busy and we were stop-start for the first 45 minutes or so. Just as the traffic cleared and we managed to pick up a bit of speed, a policeman on a motorcycle pulled up ahead of us and gestured aggressively to the side of the road in a ‘pull over’ kind of way. My heart shot into my mouth and I said to Gary ‘Is that us?’. Next thing, though, a guy in the lane next to us pulled over and we both breathed a sigh of relief. Gary said he knew he wasn’t speeding but wasn’t sure whether he had broken some other road rule.

We headed East on the I95 and stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Palm Coast at around 10. We had never been to a Cracker Barrel before but the breakfasts were lovely and we would definitely come here again.

I had Apple Streusel French Toast with a side of bacon and scrambled egg.

Gary had regular French Toast with the same two sides.

With plenty of tea and OJ, the check came to $20 with tip.

Back on the road, we managed to find our way to St Augustine and our Bed and Breakfast, At Journey’s End, with no problems at all, arriving just after 11.

We were met by the housekeeper, Barbara, who was lovely, saying she hoped we liked the room and how happy she was to be able to get it ready for us that morning. Tim, the owner, showed us to our room, which was beautiful. It was small and cosy but had a lovely big shower and a private deck.

We were keen to get out and see the sights so went downstairs, where Tim gave us some tips on things not to be missed, some maps and sold us discounted tickets for the Old Town Trolley tour.

We left the B&B and walked past the Lightner Museum and Flagler College. We caught the trolley at the end of St George’s Street.

The Old Town Trolley is a great way to get around and see the sights. You can get on and off as and where you like and the tickets are good for two consecutive days. Although most places are fairly central and you can walk, there are a few places that are a bit further out and the trolley was a really quick and easy way to get around. We knew more or less what we wanted to see so decided to ride the trolley to the Old Jail Museum.

We passed several local landmarks:

Castillo de San Marcos

The Mission of Nombre de Dios

The Old Senator

The Fountain of Youth

We disembarked at the Old Jail and signed up for the next tour. I won’t say too much about the tour as I wouldn’t want to ruin it for others but it was extremely entertaining and we plan to do it again with Daniel on our trip this year. I think it’s one of those tours that probably depends on your guide but ours was amazing. She was hysterically funny and had us in stitches all the way round.

After the tour, we browsed the small shop and bought a sheriff’s badge for Daniel and a cold drink. It was another really hot day.

We caught the trolley back to the stop nearest our B&B as the video camera needed charging. Then we set out again on foot and went to the Lightner Museum.

Continued in the next post...
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:42 PM   #2
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Tim had told us that the Alcazar Hotel, built by Henry Flagler, in which the Lightner Museum was now located, had once housed the World’s largest swimming pool so we had to take a look. The whole area you can see in the photographs below used to be the swimming pool and people used to dive off the balcony areas at the side into the pool. How cool is that?

We left the Lightner Museum and took a stroll down St George’s Street, a lovely pedestrian area with little shops, boutiques, a couple of bars and restaurants and some gorgeous-looking (and smelling) chocolatiers.

We popped into one place and got ice creams. We had to eat them fast, though, as they were melting extremely quickly in the blazing hot afternoon sun.

At the end of St George’s Street stand the Old City Gates, a surviving part of the wall that once surrounded the city.

From there, it was just a short walk across the busy street to Castillo de San Marco, the oldest masonry fort in the United States. This is more Gary’s sort of thing than mine – he is far more into history than me but it was fairly interesting nonetheless. We explored the inside of the Castillo and listened to the ranger talk which gave an overview of the history of the fort.

By the time we left, it was almost 5pm and the trolley was no longer running, however this wasn’t a major problem as everything we wanted to see was within walking distance.

We took a slow stroll around the outside of the city, down to the oldest drug store, where we tried a few lotions and potions.

From there, we just had to call in for a drink at Scarlett O’Haras. Gone With the Wind is one of my favourite films of all time so this bar, dedicated to the hero and heroine of the movie was somewhere not to be missed. It was also a pleasant reprieve from the heat of the afternoon.

We had a couple of drinks, a Rapberry Lemon Drop for me - Absolut Raspberri, Patron Citronge and Chambord, martini style with a sugar sweet rim. It was delicious but went straight to my head.

Gary had a lager (can’t remember which one but it was just lager).

It was very quiet but there was a lovely atmosphere and the bartender was very friendly, telling us lots of little tidbits of information about St Augustine, and suggesting that we couldn’t leave without visiting the lighthouse. We had always intended to stop off there the next day so it was nice to know a ‘local’ considered it worthy of a visit. We were very relaxed and not quite ready to move so ordered some more drinks.

After the second Raspberry Lemon Drop, I was feeling decidedly squiffy and since we had eaten nothing other than an ice-cream since 10am, we decided we ought to head back and freshen up for dinner.

The drink had obviously gone to Gary's head too. Either that or he'd had too much sun.

It was a very pleasant stroll, in the early evening, back to the B&B. Tim was there and gave us a couple of recommendations for restaurants but they were mainly seafood and neither of us are fans really. After quick showers and a change of clothes, we left the B&B and headed back to the historic area, where we wandered aimlessly trying to find a restaurant which appealed. Unfortunately, being a Monday, a lot of places were closed (apparently a Monday in St Augustine is a bit like a Sunday here – most places are closed or close early in the evening). It was getting late so, on the spur of the moment, we chose a Greek restaurant called Athena.

We were seated straight away, which was no surprise since the place was nearly empty. There was one couple and a family and, while we were being seated, the Dad of the family was returning his meal. I suppose we should have taken that as a sign but we were really hungry so ordered anyway. Gary chose Chicken ala Kosta, chicken with garlic, broccoli and a lemon wine sauce. I played it safe and chose steak.

We have no photos of the food, which is probably no bad thing. It wasn’t that great. Gary’s chicken was barely warm and my steak was tough and overcooked. Neither of us had dessert but the check was still $45 inc tip. Definitely not worth it.

We left the restaurant and wandered around for a little while, then took a stroll down St George’s Street. It looked lovely in the dark, very different to the daytime, but a lot of places were closed or were just about to close. It was 9pm so we headed back to the B&B, grabbed a couple of diet cokes (complimentary) from the kitchen and went up to sit out on the balcony. We managed to get a wifi connection so we checked our Emails, sent a couple of messages home and updated Facebook.

We were starting to get bitten so went back into the room, watched a bit of TV and went to bed.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:02 PM   #3
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apart from the meal what a great day, I think we'll def have to go there one day.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:11 PM   #4
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Love the pictures!! Esp. the one of Gary with his head in the canon at Castillo de San Marco... thats hilarious!!

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Old 01-31-2012, 12:13 AM   #5
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Wonderful Photos
I really like the look of this place and your B&B looks lovely
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:00 AM   #6
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I can't quite put my finger on why but we love St Augustine. Your pictures remind me of how much I'd like to go back but for more than a day trip next time. Glad your sun burn didn't spoil your day.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:35 AM   #7
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What a lovely day - love the look of the Apple Streudel French toast to start the day off

We are hoping to visit St. Augustine in November so it is interesting looking at your pictures - it looks like there are loads of interesting things to see there and your B & B looks fab

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Old 01-31-2012, 12:24 PM   #8
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Lovely update!

The photo of Gary with his head in the cannon made me laugh - Imagine explaining it if he got stuck.

The B&B looked lovely too x
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:33 PM   #9
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What a lovely day - a good reminder that there is plenty to see outside the parks! Love the photos of the Castillo, and the Old Senator - fantastic!
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:42 AM   #10
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What a fabulous day. I remember reading Tony and Theresa's report of a few years ago when they went to St Augustine and it looks really interesting. Love the photos of Gary in jail!
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:43 AM   #11
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Nice to see another part of Florida other than the parks
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