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50 States, Day 289

St. Augustine

"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and sheroes!"
~Maya Angelou

I checked the weather this morning a saw a headline about a tornado in Mississippi, once more a validation of our decision to sit tight. However, soon we must brave the elements and get out of Florida.

We toured Fort Castillo de San Marcos which means 'Castle of Saint Mark,' and it was remarkable (get it? Re MARK able? Sorry). The walls were made of coquina, which are petrified shells and sand that have been compressed for centuries. The soldiers could cut it with swords, set it in place and it would harden in a year. But what a fortress! Cannon balls would hit and 'thunk!' just burrow into it. A British soldier said it was like driving a knife into cheese. 

It proved to be a great defensive structure however, with a drawbridge, dry moat and diamond shaped corners to cover all attacks. It's never been successfully seized. Those Brits tried and when they did, the entire town ran into it and brought their cattle to graze in the moat. The Brits cut off supplies and waited for them to run out. (Not as dramatic at The Patriot movie is it?) The Spaniards had sent a message to Cuba for reinforcements and a week before their supplies would be depleted, along came troops, guns and ships. The  British shrugged and left town. The castle worked. Simple but effective. 

St. Augustine was such an attractive place because it allowed protection for ships leaving South America bound for Spain. Those evil pirates-and the French, British and Dutch too-would capture and plunder the ships in a manner nothing like The Pirates of The Caribbean at Disney World. More killing and pillaging, but just as drunk. 

Three more interesting facts: After the Revolutionary War, Florida became a haven for loyalists to King George. The Spanish helped the American cause in the War for Independence by supplying money, troops and ships.  America acquired Florida by forgiving $5m in debt from Spain. I didn't know any of that. I need to get on Jeopardy before I forget. Wait... Too late. 

St. Augustine is a schizophrenic city with architecture reflecting Spanish and British influence. A few buildings are Spanish with additions or a second floor of British architecture. Goofy. 

QG got tired so we returned to the tent and parted ways and I headed to the beach. I struck up a conversation with two women, one who had just finished a 100 mile run. Took her twenty-one hours. I told her she was crazy and she took it as a compliment. Crazy people do that. 

And now, not crazy like that, Quilter Girl!

I was tired and hot as it was in the 80's today.  We spent most of our time outside touring the fort and walking along the waterfront.  The fort was so interesting because it is old and in such good shape.  We never heard much about the Spanish in our history classes. 

Before we went back, we tried a restaurant that came highly recommended by the tour company.  I would have been skeptical about that, but I heard another couple of enthusiastic endorsements so we went.  We sat outside with a view of the harbor on a 2nd floor balcony.  What a setting.  The food was also great, Cuban sandwich for me and tilapia for Kevin.  It was a truly wonderful lunch at the A1A Pub & Brewery.  

I figured out yesterday, after working on my braid quilt, that I was making the braids way too long.  I hate stopping on a mistake, so got out the pieces to figure how much to cut off.  I have two braids done and three more started now and am working hard for a bit.  I am sewing in the tent again because of the wind.     


Another day a St. Augustine tomorrow, touring a museum and something else probably. 

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