Sunshine in Florida with the threat of rain but not at the beaches means a day to see as much of St. Augustine as possible, which was the same plan as the first day when we saw a lot of stuff but now there was even more stuff. I like stuff.
We began the day across the street from our hotel at Mission Nombre de Dios and The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. Eddie showed off his mad Spanish skillz by asking more than once, Why is there a shrine about milk–because leche is milk, so why? I didn’t have the answer to that. All I knew was there was a very large cross that I wanted to see up close. I couldn’t get too close, but close wasn’t necessary to take in its gravity. We also received some mixed messages through the signage, but we quickly got distracted by the lizards. There are a lot of them, and they are adorable.
We drove over the Bridge of Lions to Anastasia Island, known for its pretty beaches. We didn’t go to the beach. We went to the Alligator Farm, which should be called the Alligator and Bird Farm Where Birds Fly Near Your Head. Too long for a sign, I suppose. The farm is bigger than it seems; every time we thought we’d seen it all, we didn’t. Parts of it smelled real bad.
Parts of it had flying birds. The big question Eddie had here: Why don’t the birds fly away? I guessed because they got food here. Along some of the pathways, there were dispensers that looked like those machines that give you gum or plastic crap when you put a quarter in. Instead, they had food pellets. You could feed the birds or the alligators. I don’t know what the pellets were, but when we went to leave, we found a change machine, changed out a dollar, went back into the swamp, and fed the alligators. Eddie caused a frenzy among three of them who crowded around and snapped at the pellets. My main concern was not dropping a phone or camera into the water. My other main concern was not getting shit on by a bird.
Some random snippets: there was incense burning in one part of the park but not the really smelly part. Crocodiles usually have a lower fang tooth that sticks up, and that’s how you know it’s not an alligator. Komodo dragons see you, bruh, and they aren’t impressed.
Having seen more than enough alligators and crocodiles and birds and reptiles, we went to the lighthouse. Since we were walking everywhere, climbing a lot of stairs seemed like the perfect complement. The lighthouse has a lot of history, yet this is what first caught Eddie’s eye.
After we got through the exciting parking lot, we headed towards the path to get to the lighthouse. We saw boats. We headed into the woodsy trail where we saw more lizards and Eddie got eaten by bugs and I did not. When we came to the end of the path, we found the lighthouse. It was hard to miss.
The bottom floor of the lighthouse has a lot more history, especially about the keeper who had to carry a 40 pound metal jug thingie up and down stairs. Then we climbed the spiral staircase, aware that there were wasps at the top to greet us when we arrived. We make good decisions.
Fact: the wasps go up there to mate. After getting to the top, we had to get to the bottom. Down and around we went, and then out and up over to the keeper’s quarters, where there were more artifacts and things. Eddie found a friend.
Once we got back to the front part of the grounds, I wasn’t feeling great. Somehow, I hadn’t been eating snacks or drinking anything. As fit as a person is, when she doesn’t snack and drink, she feels the effects of lighthouse climbing. I sat on a bench and ate almonds, and then we headed to town in the cool air conditioning of the car, which was the remedy for my ails. We drove forever looking for parking, and then gave up, drove to the hotel, and walked back down into town. Apparently, I’m really into borders because as with the excitement of the gates on Day 1, I was equally excited to see the Bridge of Lions up close along with the Welcome To St. Augustine wall. The walk to the Bridge of Lions was a sunny sweaty mess, but the breeze from the water along the very high wall thingie we were walking on brought a bit of relief. Also bringing relief? Knowing where we were headed for lunch.
Another bit of a walk but we found it. The main reason I had come to St. Augustine: Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar.It was like home. It was like heaven. It’s everything anyone needs to live a good life. Also, it’s a nice place to sit when you’ve spent the morning walking and climbing and sweating. He got a plain waffle with whipped cream. I got a waffle with Nutella and strawberries. Mmmmmmmmmm.
Then we got milkshakes. He got vanilla. I got key lime pie. Yes yes yes yes yes.
Let’s all take a breath and a sigh in recognition of this very important moment in life.
Fueled up, we walked some more. Surprise! We found some cute little shops. We found this.
Then on one last walk back to the hotel, we stopped by the Old Senator Tree. When I’m home, I’m trying to get rid of trees near my property. When I’m on vacation, I’m looking for them. Anyway, this tree is over 600 years old and very large. It’s in the parking lot of the Howard Johnson. Of course.