Saturday, 11 May 2013

160 St Augustine

Thursday 9th May 2013 Miles Today  241  Total 3138

We set off for a 240 mile slog down to St Augustine. This small town has the reputation of being the oldest settlement in the modern US.

Discovered in 1513 by the Spanish, was then loosely taken over by the French for a while then in 1565 the Spaniards turned up again, kicked some French butt and established the first Western colony on what is now the USA.

A difficult future then followed including raids by indigenous Indians, then Francis Drake decided to invent global warming when he burned the whole lot to the ground in 1586. An environmentally sensitive pirate named John Davis, another bloody Englishman and the founder of Green Peace (joking) decided not to burn the place down again when he ransacked it in 1668.

Queen Mariana of Spain was a bit ticked off at this and decided to build a soft stone fort that was a bit more difficult to burn down and absorbed the impact of cannon fire. The place is still standing.

In 1702 the English turned up again and decided to take the place over. This time the Spanish hid in their shiny new fort and after 50 days, the English, having almost run out of matches, got bored and set the town alight again and went home. Hence, there are no buildings in the town older than 1702 vintage.   

In 1740 those dogged English turned up again, bombarded the fort for 23 days, failed to get in, got bored again and went home again...

In 1754 the 'Seven Years War' started. When it was over and the English finally got their act together, along with the German's, kicked France and Spain's butt and took Florida over by default.

Then came the American Revolution and as part of the negotiations to end it we gave it back !!! This turned sour when freed slaves joined forces with the indigenous Indians and tormented the Spaniards for the next 37years.

In 1821 the Americans took Florida over from the Spanish but the Indians kept up the torment, finally surrendering in 1837 and Florida became part of the USA in 1845.

On the way there we popped  into McDonalds and this is how they serve their milkshakes. How on earth the cherry is supposed to go up the straw I will never know.

We popped into an English bar next to our motel and there was some guy with a 2 year old Python. It really was very cute. 

Also in the bar was a redneck DJ who challenged me to an arm wrestle. Silly boy. I am almost twice his weight.

Saturday 10th May  2013  Miles Today 0 Total  3138

Today we had an easy day wandering around the town.

The oldest street in the USA, Aviles Street.

This was St George Street. Note the British flag. It is missing the Northern Ireland diagonal red cross. Apparently, that is what it was like when the Brits were in town.

This is the fort that thwarted the English for so long.

Fed up with everyone and his dog burning the place down, they started building in poured concrete.

Outside the Ripleys, 'believe it or not' museum. A present to Mr Ripley from the Chinese.

A 400 year old oak tree called the Senator. Note the red frame on the left. Yes, we were on one of those very tacky tourist trolleys with a mock up train pulling it. We have truly made the tourist scene now. I was hiding my face most of the time.

The Jailhouse. Hangings were done on the same day as the sentence after the condemned man had checked the gallows for correct operation. Where did we go so wrong ?

An early Black Maria

The Bridge of Lions with an open mouth.

On the way home we saw these three fellows playing in the river.

 Tomorrow, it is off to Daytona to see about getting Karen a ride at the track and possibly fit in the Kennedy Space center.

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