Sunday, 9 November 2008

St. Augustine

Today we took our bikes to St Augustine.

St Augustine is the oldest continuously settled city established by Europeans in the continental United States. It's full of tiny streets and ancient houses, narrow brick laneways and lush vegetation.

Unfortunately, it's also full of tourists.

We biked around the narrow streets, trying to stay well away from the commercial part of town and found houses that are full of contrasts, from the tiny and colourful...

... to the very grand, like this one, Lion's View, built in 1890.

The city was founded by Don Pedro Menéndez de Avriles in 1565, and here he is, standing proudly on his pedestal outside the Lightner Museum.

The Lightner Museum occupies part of the former Hotel Alcazar, built by Henry Flagler in 1887 in the Spanish Renaissance style. This impressive building is an early example of a poured concrete building. This solemn gentleman caught my eye in the courtyard.

I love the mosaic floor in the main entrance lobby, in fact I want one just like it......

...... and then I looked up at the ceiling, I want one like this too!

Shady corridors offer a refuge from the hot sun.

The courtyard is surrounded on four sides with high walls, and in the centre is a fishpond crossed by an arched stone bridge. This must have been the height of elegance in it's heyday.

More to come....

16 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

I'd love to take an extended vacation there. Beautiful (both the scenes and the pics)!

madretz said...

Cool! I had no idea St. Augustine had so much history. I'm checking it out on Google Earth. I've been to Florida twice, both times based out of Tampa b/c a girlfriend lived there, but we adventured out and about - Orland, Coco Beach, etc. The last time I went was 18 years ago. Dang, doesn't seem like it was THAT long ago. She moved back to CA in 1993 so never had a reason to go back...till...??

m.e. said...

love the courtyard, too!

Joanne said...

I can definitely see the European flair here. Thanks for the tour.

Peter said...

Biking around and find nice houses like this sounds like a very nice experience!

The ex-hotel with its convent-like courtyard must have been a place to be (if you could have afforded it)!

How long will you enjoy all this before going back north to the snow?

Suldog said...

Lovely architecture! Some of my folks - the Hispanic side of my family - are originally from that part of Florida.

(Well, originally from SPAIN, but you know what I mean.)

Ming the Merciless said...

St. Augustine looked like a cute little Caribbean hide-away.

The weather looked nice and sunny over there so please soak up as much sun as possible for me. I will be hiding indoors pretending I'm in Florida too.

Libbys Blog said...

Wow! what a wonderful place, looks like your having a wonderful time. Lucky you! Its raining here again for a change!!!

Beverly said...

I LOVE St. Augustine. I haven't been in a few years, but we especially loved it when the children were small...the fort, the old jail...everything.

Thanks for the photos. I'm sure it is bustling with tourists right now.

Eugenia Price wrote some historical novels several years ago set in St. Augustine and the St. Johns River area. She also has a trilogy about St. Simons Island in Georgia and Savannah...good reads.

tut-tut said...

I've always wanted to go to St. Augustine; the oldest city. Lovely colors. Are you sure you want to return to snow? We used to go to Florida in February, and it was so unreal to get off the plane and feel that heat and humidity.

CanadianSwiss said...

Beautiful! Just amzing to see the colours! My Dad's in Florida right now, so I'll google it and send the info to him. If it's close enough, I'm sure he'll pay it a visit :)

photowannabe said...

What an interesting place to see. Your pictures are wonderful, especially the breezeway with the columns.

Hilary said...

Beautiful photos.. great architecture. Makes me want to paint my blog turquoise, yellow and coral. ;)

Wendy said...

How interesting! I'd love to visit. Beautiful pics.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

So exotic! Love seeing Florida through Canadian tourists' eyes. ;-)

Ginnie said...

Did I ever tell you that my daughter, Amy, graduated from Flagler College there in St. Augustine, Sham? We were totally enthralled by the city. But I must admit, I never spent any time there to speak of...in the before-photography days of my life. And the week after we took her to school was the week Bill and I were separated, back in 1990, before our divorce. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then!