Friday, December 29, 2006

A Surprise Trip To St. Augustine

My Babe and I planned a surprised trip to St. Augustine. Our children have never been there. The last time my Babe and I went, I was pregnant with Melina. She is now 19 years old.

We almost canceled our trip due to some storms. The weather got better and we decided to go ahead with the trip. At first we thought of going camping at Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine. Once I saw what the temperature was going to be, I put my vote in for staying at a hotel. :o) I just can't seem to do cold weather like I use to.

Nicodemus our golden retriever will be staying at the vets. He'll be treated to a bath and get his nails clipped. I guess one could say he's going to the doggy spa. LOL! Sapphire and Belle will be left with plenty of food.

Our children have packed their backpacks. We are all excited. This will only be a two day trip, but it's our first "vacation" in a while. Our last vacation was when we rented a motorhome and drove to Canada. We stopped along the way. It was a fabulous trip. I know we'll all enjoy our trip to St. Augustine.

Tonight we all sat and watched part one of Band of Brothers. It tugs at my heart every time I see that movie.

St. Augustine Day 1
Where do I start?! So much to tell. Everyone was anxious to get started on our trip early. Since we no longer have a van, we drove in two cars. George had the boys with him and I had the girls with me.

* Note: all pictures are courtesy of my Trina's camera. I took mine, but it was bulky. I figured since she had hers she wouldn't mind me using it too. Thanks Trina! I didn't want to hog her camera, but I wanted to make sure she's come out in the pictures too. ;o)

On the way up there we stopped to eat at a Burger King. My boys are now eating double whoppers! My Babies are growing up. Melina almost lost her lunch as she was about to eat the last 1/4 of her burger. The meat had a blue mark to it. She turned all shades of pale, but managed to keep her lunch in. LOL! Poor thing.

Check in at the Days Inn wasn't until 3p. So we went to see the famous spring called, The Fountain of Youth. I took one sip and wanted to spit it out. Just as I was sipping, the tour guide said it had sulfa in it. Which we all know sulfa has a rotten egg odor to it. YUCK! The water tasted fine, it's just you have to get past the odor. I didn't finish my cup. One sip is all I took. LOL! If you click on the link, you'll read all about all we got to see there.
Oh, they did have a special guest that day. He was called a Grandfather Indian. He was not a Timucuan Indian. He was a Seminole. He shared lots of stories, that had been passed on to him by his ancestors. He also showed us how to make a rope out of Spanish Moss. We now know that a rope can be made of any fibrous material. He demonstrated his blow dart. Very KEWEL! I looked to see if the gift shop had one, they didn't. :o(

Here, our children are sitting by a statue of a Timucuan Indian. What's really cool is that Joseph and Daniel are studying the History of Florida. They've already read about St. Augustine, Ponce de Leon, The Timucuan Indians,the Castillo de San Marco and much more.

While there we saw some beautiful peacocks. I was the only one that wanted to feed them. They also had an ostrich. I don't really know what that one was doing there. I should of asked.

We thought it would be funny to make it look as if the peacock was standing on my head. We had never seen white peacocks before. Melina kept us laughing with her "isms". She would say "albino (pronounced-albeeno) instead of the correct way. LOL!

By the time we were done checking this historical site, it was time to check in the hotel. The Days Inn had a Spanish flare to it. Bright yellow mustard colors with orange and terracotta. I should of taken a picture of the rooms, but I just wasn't focused. We stayed in adjoining rooms. The girls were in one room. The boys stayed with my Babe and I.
* Note: I have to confess that I didn't get a good night's rest. My Daniel moves around in bed a lot. I was concerned that he'd fall out of bed. He didn't.

We stopped to see The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine. The stained glass murals were breathtakingly beautiful.

From there we walked and saw some of the quaint little shops. Katrina and I went into a shop that sold Lladro. I shared with her how I had first discovered Lladro. I knew that she would love to see them. My Babe and I were were walking through a coastal town called Loret de Mar in Spain. It was 75 kilometers from Barcelona. In the windows of one of the stores was this beautiful porcelain figurine. The name of it was The Native. My Babe told me it reminded him of me. I didn't think so. She was just absolutely beautiful. We could never afford one, but I sure do love to look at them.
*Note: Please remember that at first in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had no clothes. Because of their sin, they covered themselves. I'm sorry if you some find this figurine to be offensive.

I also found a shop that sold the "Life Is Good" line. LOL! Needless to say, I bought me a cap. Melina and I went into an Irish shop. She found a Celtic ring that she liked. Unfortunately they did not have her size. It had a pattern commonly called The Eternity Knot. Which means everlasting love.

By now everyone was starting to get hungry. We walked back to the hotel. We rested a bit while we decided where we all wanted to eat. We settled on Chili's. They told us it would be a 10-15 min. wait. They forgot about us. After 35+ minutes, we thanked them and left. Stopped at Outback...45-55 minutes. My Babe tried Longhorn, while I tried TGIF. TGIF took us right away. Good thing Longhorn was in the same parking lot! We had a GREAT dinner. Everyone got stuffed!
So we decided to take a walk on the beach. We drove to Anastasia Island. Which is just North of St. Augustine. Ooops, I forgot to mention that this was the coldest day thus far. Temp dipped down to 36! It was cold ALL day long.
* Note: We had originally thought of camping in Anastasia State Park. Due to the rain storms and the cold weather, we decided to stay at a hotel. Smart choice! I would of frozen my.......... toes off. :o) What did you think I was going to say? Everyone was tired. We headed back to the hotel. Got ready for bed and hit the sack.

St. Augustine Day 2
For the first time in like FOREVER, Daniel didn't wake up early. He wanted to sleep some more. LOL! We were all quite shocked. We got up and went to eat our continental breakfast. Yeah right... LOL! There were sooooooooo many waiting.

We ate at the hotel's restaurant. It was a Denny's! LOL! The helping were so big, that we couldn't even finish our meal. Well, except for My Babe and Joseph. Daniel was practically drank his whole chocolate milk before his pancakes were brought to him. We all had a great breakfast.

After breakfast we checked out and headed out to the Castillo de San Marco. Which is the fort. That was right up the boys alley. They loved seeing the cannons and the Spanish Soldiers. We even got see the ceremony of how a cannon is loaded and fired. I tried my hardest to get them to pose for a picture with the soldiers, but they didn't want to. :o(

In the background of this picture a little to the right of my head, you can see the top of Flagler College.
Boys and their toys. You know how they are, the bigger the cannon, the bigger the BOOM! They were sorry they couldn't climb up on that cannon.

Here we are standing in what would of been covered by water during the 1700's.

While in route to our next destination, I came across this store named, George's Treasure. I just couldn't resist having this picture taken. Who else would be his treasure? Notice the small print? It says, "European Elegance and Latin Influence." I have Italian, Spanish (Spain), Cuban, Panamanian (Panama- Central America), Ecuadorian blood. Can't get any more European and Latin than that. LOL! By the way... had it said George's Treasures... all our children and I would of posed under the sign. To us they are priceless.

Our next stop was the Colonial Spanish Quarters. I would have to say this was my favorite site we saw. It was like being transported back in time. We got to speak to the carpenter. He showed us where he works. He showed us his tools and demonstrated how they work. He talked about how now in modern times we have to sand, varnish and wait till it dries. He showed us how he uses certain type of oil and he doesn't have to wait till it dries. I forgot the name of it. :o( We got to see the blacksmith. We know a little able being a blacksmith cause our neighbor is a ferrier and a blacksmith. From this blacksmith we learned that their iron came from Spain. If he could get it from anyone else, he would. It wouldn't of mattered as long as he could get it. In the 1700's, blacksmith's mainly mended iron things that broke. They really didn't make anything other than nails, horseshoes and small things. The leather shopkeeper demonstrated how hew sews his leather. One would think it difficult. I couldn't believe how easily it was done. In order to make the leather waterproof, he would rub beeswax on it. He had a leather mug filled with his a modern drink, lemonade. LOL! From there we went to visit the home of Sargento (Srgt.) Menendez. The lady of the home showed us her home and how they were blessed to have an indoor fogon (a hearth made of three stones arranged in a triangle, with pieces of wood placed within), to cook in. We got to walk by the herbalist.The Spanish soldier got to demonstrate how to properly load a rifle. It was very enlightening. Even when it comes to loading a rifle... Hollywood messes that up too. Once we were done walking through the quarters it was time to head back. We did make a quick stop at the candy shop. We all bought a different fudge. My Babe got fudge with coconut. Alex, Joseph and Daniel got mint chocolate chip fudge. Melina got peanutbutter fudge. Trina got plain fudge and I got amaretto fudge.

Some how, the trip back home always feels shorter. Part of us wanted to stay a little longer, but part of us was ready to go home. We all enjoy traveling, seeing different places, experiencing different things. At the same time we love the comfort of our own home. At heart we are homebodies. It was good to be home.

Once we got home, everyone unpacked in double time. The laundry was jam packed with clothes that needed washing. I have to admit, that I didn't even take a second glance at it. I decided not to even worry about it until tomorrow. We fixed ourselves some pork sandwiches and sat down to watch Band of Brothers Part 2 and 3.

I love spending time with my family. There is nothing like it. I feel so blessed. Breaks my heart to see famili

1 comment:

Emily said...

How fun that you found that sign! I know George has to be your favorite treasure!