Hot and sunny.
Easy day today as we drive 5 minutes down the road to Washington Oaks state park. Have a pleasant amble around the Washington Oaks Gardens state park. Then it’s Wendy’s lunch sat overlooking the coastal waterway.
Wander over to the beach to see if we can create a new record of 46 minutes sat on a beach. We give up after about 30 minutes. Have a stroll along the beach and then it’s back home, with a quick nip into Publix.
Afternoon tea and reading on the deck.
Tea tonight consists of a burrito for me and some brisket for Wendy from Captain BBQ. Quick service and the pulled pork burrito was good. Can’t wait to get back to PC and those great Mexican burritos from Chubasco’s. I think I’ll be living off them daily for the first week to make up for lost time.
Great start to the day as from our deck we watch dolphins frolic in the coastal waterway.
Then later on we’re rewarded with the machine gun sounds and sighting of a pileated woodpecker.
Hot and sunny.
Wendy fancies doing the hop-on-off trolley tour around St Augustine. We did it back in 2015 but forgot most of it and it’s a really relaxing way of seeing St Augustine. It’s a lovely old city with some amazing architecture and intriguing charm. Hop off for lunch and a free Starbucks dirty chai (they managed to piss me off with their app not being able to cope with £ sterling) sat with an awesome view of Flagler college.
Then it’s back on the tour. Our trolley’s full so there are lots of people left at the stops. What’s truly bizarre is how close together the stops are, heaven forbid the poor dears should have to walk more than 100 yards. At the penultimate stop there are about 20 Americans waiting to get on the trolley. It seems they’d rather wait at least another 15 minutes than walk 4 minutes to the trolley terminus – only in America.
Back home for a late afternoon tea then it’s a superb tuna melt on swirly rye bread – awesome.
St. Augustine is a city in the Southeastern United States, on the Atlantic coast of northeastern Florida. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, it is the oldest continuously-inhabited European-established settlement in what is now the contiguous United States.
Although Christopher Columbus gets credit for discovering the Americas, it was the Spanish explorer Ponce de León who first explored the coasts of Florida and called the flowering peninsula “La Florida.” In 1565, Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez founded St. Augustine for the Spanish crown.
As far as downtowns go, St. Augustine’s Historic District is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The buildings are original Spanish Colonial dating back to when the city was first founded. There is the impressive Lightner Museum which will transport you back to the late 1800s when it used to be the Alcazar Hotel and was often called “the castle of happy returns.”
The real show-stopper of St. Augustine’s Historic District, Flagler College is a private four-year liberal arts university founded by Henry Flagler in 1968. The campus is utterly breathtaking. The centerpiece of the college, and the focal point of the city really, is the old Ponce de León Hotel, built-in 1888 as a luxury hotel. And luxury it is. Aspiring Spanish architecture and lush palm trees welcome you into the courtyard and give you the reverent impression that this place is steeped in history. You can take daily tours in the summer months and experience Flagler College for yourself.
Magnolia Avenue, is one of the most photographed streets in the United States. This gorgeous street is right by the Fountain of Youth and is sheltered by oak trees with draping Spanish moss. It is a beautiful sight to behold and one you won’t forget anytime soon.
Another hot and sunny day.
Well Russia’s finally invaded the Ukraine. Is this another 1939 moment? I’m fascinated what sensible America thinks about it? Are they even aware that the Ukraine exists? Are they aware where it is?
Nip out and top up with petrol before there’s any form of panic buying.
And where may I ask are the United Nations in all this. I’ve not seen a peep from them in the press (AKA Apple News). They’re probably still getting on their high horse about Islamaphobia and ruminating on other snowflake, libtard and woke issues. Could there be a better display of United Nations impotence than Russia presiding on Wednesday over a Security Council session on Russia’s invasion? The sum of their actions seems to be the UN Secretary-General saying “President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine, give peace a chance,”. What a pity we don’t have a UN with teeth that can step up in situations like this and bring to bear an independent force to punish such aggression.
Meanwhile, here in the land of plenty and the home of the free we have a lazy day planned with a trip up to Anastasia Island state park. Like most of the parks around here it’s mainly yet another beach and another Hammock trail. This time a Dunes Hammock trail so we venture forth. Seems like every other Hammock trail we’ve been on except there are some hills on it.
Wendy wants to give the beach here a miss and drive down to Historic Butler beach to set up camp and have our lavish lunch. Not really much there, other than a very fine beach and to ensure that the locals don’t have to walk too far you can even drive onto and along the beach. That’ll save the poor dear’s legs.
Quick, stop at Publix. Yes, Wendy was with me at the time. Then it’s back home for afternoon tea on our awesome deck. Seems a shame sitting on a beach when we have such a great deck.
What is it with our next-door neighbour? Every time we sit out on our deck to enjoy the sun he’s out there with his blower, a phallic extension to his no-doubt minuscule penis and brain. He keeps blowing the same leafs every day off the paths and overnight they creep back on. Why doesn’t he have the wit to sweep them up and be done with it?
Sadly just about sums up how pathetic the UN are.
Hot and sunny again. Lazy morning and lunch at home.
Then we drive down A1A to Tomaka state park once the home of the Timucuan Native American village, Nocoroco and the Mount Oswald Plantation that once grew sugar, indigo and cotton. A tad disappointing nothing really much there apart from a Rio-style statue of a Red Indian (OMG is that PC?). The statue shows Oleeta, warrior princess, aiming an arrow at Chief Tomokie with murderous intent. Off to the side, warriors are poised as back up, arrows drawn. The story says the tribe turned on Tomokie for the sacrilege of drinking the Water of Life from the Sacred Cup. The chief, impassive at his fate, upends the sacred cup while threatening his assailants with a spear. You have to imagine the spear. It’s been missing from the statue for some time.
Have a stroll around the beach but no real walks there, not even a Hammock trail – what sort of Florida state park is it.
Drive down to Bullow Plantation Ruins Historic state park. They do like including that word historic wherever possible. It’s the ruins of one of Florida’s largest sugar (white gold) plantations and dare I say its slave quarters. Quite interesting to stroll around and there’s a pleasant walking trail to it. No doubt the 1619 Project has something to say on the subject and it turns out that they claim America’s lust for sugar, and the resulting obesity, is founded in sugar plantation slavery.
Finally, we head to Flagler beach. I know let’s get an espresso and explore this famous beach area. Well, it’s just another beach with a $1.50 pier, plenty of beach,es and alas nowhere for a decent espresso. Fox News is there filming. We’re strolling along Flagler promenade and there are all these geezers with “Let’s Go Brandon” flag and the Stars and Stripes. It’s a blue flag so I suspect they’re Democrats but stop to ask if this Brandon guy is a republican or democrat politician. Turns out “Let’s Go Brandon” is a political slogan that has been widely used as a minced oath for “Fuck Joe Biden” in reference to Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States.
Now I have a dilemma. Do I continue to seek out a MAGA hat or go for a “Let’s Go Brandon” hat, or perhaps both.
Have an interesting chat with them. Get their thoughts on the Ukraine. Surprise, surprise they think America should be in there fighting for freedom. Also interesting to hear their take on Trump losing the election. He didn’t lose there was massive election fraud, they’ve seen videos of ballot boxes being stolen.
UK RAISES ALERT LEVEL
The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent Russian threats and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. The Russians have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s Get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.
The French government SWIFTly announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.
Italy has SWIFTly increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”
The Germans have SWIFTly increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”
Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.
The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far, no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.
John Cleese – British writer, actor and tall person
Hot and sunny yet again. It’s like a Daytona race track on the inter-coastal waterway this morning as everyone with a jet ski seems to be racing up to St Augustine.
Depart for 3 days in Mickey Mouse town.
On the way we spot Wekiva State park sign and it’s only 5 miles off our route. We’ve plenty of time to kill so decided to visit. Can you believe it the park is full? You really couldn’t make this up.
Get to our Lake Buena Visita resort village early and have to hang around for an hour whilst room is cleaned. Sit around the pool. We’d booked a one room suite and we end up with a two room suite with full kitchen and all mod cons – very nice.
Don’t you just love those woke luvvies and their 1619 project.
“For the 1619 Project, Kruse writes about how notoriously bad traffic jams on Atlanta highways are — you guessed it — the legacy of “a century-long effort to segregate the races.”
How so? At first, Kruse seems to imply that it’s the placement of the expressways that has caused the congestion, with the path of roadways used to separate black and white neighborhoods. But why would the path of a highway produce “three-mile traffic jams that last four hours or more,” especially when the city’s Downtown Connector is, Kruse notes, “a 12-to-14-lane mega highway”? Isn’t it more likely that the problem is an excess of people trying to commute by car, regardless of the neighborhoods bisected by the road?”
Time to destroy another statue.
Lazy start then off down to Disney Spring for a saunter around. Yes, I know we’ve been there before but it’s quite pleasant and there’s usually some free entertainment on. This time it’s a young dance troop from Oklahoma – good to know there’s something in Oklahoma. Judging by the queues for Starbucks and Giordehli’s you’d think they were giving it away, and what’s happened to the free chocolate samples. Wendy has a wander around the Disney store and manages not to purloin any of the plastic cards – I think she’s finally realised they are not free.
Back to our room and have afternoon tea around the pool.
Then for tea it’s a build your own burrito from Chipolte. Pretty good. Roll on PC and Chubasco’s.
Orlando just a different world to the rest of America. The adipose tissue capital of the USA. Somehow most here seem to have forgot their manners. And then you have the lobster boiled brits who just couldn’t resist a full day in the sun and are now suffering for it.
As to drivers in Florida. Well, I’ve been driving for 55 years now, in a lot of different countries, including Italy, but the drivers here seem arrogant, dangerous and in such a rush they forget basic safety. Even worse than Italy.
Hanging off trees and landscape plants, Spanish moss is a familiar part of Florida’s environment. Despite its name, Spanish moss is not a moss but a bromeliad—a perennial herb in the pineapple family.
Most bromeliads, including Spanish moss, are epiphytes. Epiphytes grow on other plants, but do not rely on them for nutrients. They take nutrients from the air and debris that collects on the plant. Spanish moss has permeable scales that “catch” moisture and nutrients.
Spanish moss prefers moist environments, but its ability to trap water lets it survive dry periods. The plant can also go dormant until moisture conditions improveSpanish moss does not have any roots. It attaches to substrates by wrapping its stems around a surface. Also, it does not need roots for water and nutrient uptake, since all parts of Spanish moss have that ability. Spanish moss is commonly found on oak and cypress trees but can grow on other plants as well.
Off to Sea World for the day. It’s a long while since we’ve been there.
What a disappointment that was. The only experience of any worth was the dolphin show. What amazing creatures they are. I suspect they even have more intelligence than some of the Herberts driving around Florida.
Back home for afternoon tea and then off to Flannigans Irish bar, on the corner of our hotel, for our take away tea. For me it’s a Reubens, a fine last meal in America, Wendy goes for a Fish sandwich.
Well that’s the last day of our 6 week trip. It’s been so good to get back to America, we’ve really missed it. We’ve had a great time and everything went according to plan. Florida is a great location for a winter break, we’re becoming professional snowbirds, although we are starting to run out of new places to visit in Florida. Perhaps next year we’ll have to try Scottsville, Arizona, AKA God’s waiting room. We could also revisit the 4 corners area.
We also need to start planning my Rest Of AMerica (ROAM) adventure, where we visit the remaining 6 states we’ve never been to and visit as many National Parks as we can. Sadly they’re nearly all in the North of America so the weather in winter is not what we’re looking for.
We’ll right tomorrow off as a day of misery as we suffer the airports and journey home. Anyone remember what fun flying used to be until some 7th century barbaric rag head living in a cave from the religion of pieces and permanent offence struck. Since then we’ve had other Jihadis adding to the misery and now we have Covid restrictions and rules.
Let’s go to sea world we said. $253 plus $30 for parking. What a rip off. Only 2 shows, Orka cancelled. Sad and tired place more concerned with money making stalls and extra charging. Can you believe $39 to reserve a seat for a 3rd rate sea lion show. Depressing. Left early we’d had enough.
The place has been taken over by rampant greed. Not a patch on it’s former self.
I was shocked when Wendy said “I’m glad we came”. Incredulous. Then she followed up with “At least we know not to recommend this to the family when they come”.
But, the best news of all with the screw ups on the ticket machines it turns out the $253 did not go through so it was FREE. Perhaps there is a God after all.
Hot and sunny.
It’s fly home day, so we’ll just write it off as a day of abject misery.
Sit around the pool for an hour and then drive to the airport. TSA was the usual nightmare, they even manage to stretch it to 35 minutes. But at least when they close that door on Virgin Atlantics big iron bird we can settle down into peace, tranquility and good service. Flight was good and on time.
Finally a review on our Pompano VRBO stay now that it looks like our deposit is being returned.
On the positive side the home was well maintained, clean, comfortable, well equipped, modern and well situated. We mentioned that there was no kettle and the next morning the hostess turned up with a brand new kettle – service above and beyond.
On the downside, the noise from light aircraft taking off from the nearby airport was annoying every day. The owner demanded a picture of our driving license and credit card (without number) as well as a signed agreement with other details prior to arrival (difficult when traveling). Considering we had to provide a $500 damage deposit, plus damage protection insurance, I found all this annoying and obsessive. Especially as our identity was never checked. We stay at a lot of VRBO’s and these demands and a deposit are a first. What’s more, this is all the sort of information hackers feed on. Even more annoying was that it took 2 weeks, to the day, before the owner authorised a release of the $500 – does it really take that long to check for damage? And then a further 3 days to return the money to my account.
Overall we would have given the house 4 stars but the excessive demands and deposit delay reduces our overall score to 3 stars.
Finally to the acid test. Would we stay again? Sadly, purely because of the offensive and intrusive requirements of the owner and the delay in refunding the deposit, the answer has to be NO.