Monday, October 22, 2012

St. Augustine, Florida

By Chuck

Ever since childhood, when I first heard about St. Augustine, I wanted to visit the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States.  Well, it was less than I expected, but I do get to check it off my bucket list.  The problem is that we have seen so much and are beginning to be jaded about our historical expectations and becoming less tolerant of the tourist atmosphere and offerings--even though we are traveling out of season.

We stopped for lunch at Columbia, a Spanish restaurant, said to be the oldest in town.  It's been in operation since 1905.

Claire's choice, Gazpacho Andaluz: puree of ripe tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cucumbers and garlic.  Topped tableside with finely diced vegetables and toasted Cuban croutons. Delicious!

Chuck's choice, Cuban Sandwich:  Originally called the "Mixto," it was created in the 1890's for the cigar workers as they walked to and from work.  The sandwich underwent changes as immigrants from different countries arrived.  The Spanish brought the fine ham, the Sicilians the Genoa salami, the Cubans the Mojo marinated Roast Pork, the Germans and Jews the Swiss Cheese, pickle and mustard.  It came with plantain chips.  What a combo!  We had the remainder of this as our dinner.

 St. Augustine

The Fort--Castillo de San Marcos

 Sea wall beyond the fort

 The fort and the wall

This is the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the United States; The exact date of construction is unknown, but it first appears on tax records in 1716.

Pretty street in St. Augustine

Our home for 2 nights:  Best Western Seaside across the street from the beach.  Only $55/night! Hot tub, pool, breakfast and a huge room.

We did get to test the water in Florida--a first for me.  It was slightly windy, and the water was a trifle cool at first, but we quickly acclimated and enjoyed a little body surfing and bobbing up and down on the ocean waves.  We read for a while before we decided to play it safe and escape the sun, retreating to our motel and the comfort of its warm tub--it really felt like a slightly overly-warmed swimming pool.  The pool looked inviting, but after the beach and the tub, it felt a little cold. 

St. Augustine Beach--it just keeps on going

Today, we walked to a little place for lunch that serves Caribbean food and each ordered the same thing:  Corn Cakes stuffed with Monterrey Jack cheese, garnished with pico de gallo, sour cream, salsa verde, fresh avocado, and drizzled with Santa Fe Sauce.  Yum!  I keep hoping to order a piece of Key Lime Pie, but I'm always stuffed.  Claire couldn't finish hers.

It is windy and cloudy, today, and we have not yet felt motivated to try the surf.  But, it is still early afternoon... Maybe when Claire finishes her book, we can venture across the road and down to the beach for another day in the sun...and we did!  It's been a nice break from our usual routine.

Ballots update:  We just received word from Susan at the County Clerk's Office.  She has sent two new ballots via Fed Ex to our hotel in Florida City.  We will get to vote after all.

Celebratory dinner--Key Lime Pie

My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that's the law. ~ Jerry Seinfeld