Monday, April 16, 2012

Last of Florida, a little fun and some history

Still moving around Florida, we ended up back in the Orlando area where we had the pleasure of spending an evening at dinner with Irene and Dan Braillard from Renton, WA. ( Jackie went to high school with Irene.)  We had a great dinner and an evening of wonderful conversation which went by way too quickly.

Our thanks to Patrick Braillard (Irene & Dan's son)  for the entrance tickets to Universal Studios where we spent a full day seeing the sights in 85 degree temperature.  The day we picked was right in the middle of spring break where half the people of Florida decided to join us there!

We still enjoyed wandering around to see all the sights but decided to not spend 1 to 1 1/2 hours in line for the rides.  This is just one of the store fronts that are still in use.  Lots of great street scenes to wander around and enjoy.

Around one corner was the Blues Brothers putting on a short but good show for the crowd.

We had to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter so we walked around to the other side of the complex only to find it so full of people that one could hardly find a path to get from one side to the other.

The building of this complex was done in such a remarkable way that it was hard to believe that it was not all real.

We think it actually felt cooler with all the snow and ice on all the buildings.  It was a grand day and we finally got back home after dark.  Next time, if there ever is a next time, we will pick a date where we can actually walk around the park and maybe even go on some of the rides.

Our last stop before departing Florida was 5 days parked with the Saint Johns river in front of us and just around the corner was the Atlantic Ocean.  This is the view out our front window with large and small ships going up and down the river.  From here we had a chance to visit the NE corner of Florida and spend some time walking and wading in the Atlantic.  And yes we picked up shells from the beach but no rocks here in this state.

One evening while walking the beach, up rose several hundred seagulls and we had to head for the car before we got in the drop zone.  Never did figure out what spooked them.  While walking the beach just before sunset we found out why we were the only ones on the beach -- it closed a half hour before we got out there and the Ranger came out and sent us home.

The next stop was going back into the history of this great Country, further back than any other place we had visited to date.  Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine Florida founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.  It is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United States.

The fort was started in 1672 making it one of the oldest standing structures in North America.  The fortress has served six different flags, survived hurricanes, and withstood bombardments and sieges.

The gun deck had mounted 74 canon of varying size.  The largest had a range of over three and one half miles.

The next few blogs when we find time to publish them will be more history from Georgia and South Carolina where we are now.  Finally out of Florida after 5 (warm) months.

To be continued...

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