Saint Augustine is the nation's oldest European settlement, founded in 1565. It is rich in history and in amazing architecture.
We walked past the Spanish Military Hospital museum and decided that this was as good of a place to start as any.
The picture above shows a traditional rope bed on which the mattress rests on (and the sick patient in this case). The rope would start to sag in the middle so there is a wooden key which is used to tighten the ropes. This is where the saying 'sleep tight' comes from.
We learned about teeth extractions and amputations which were offered at the hospital, all of which were done without any anesthesia (or alcohol which thins the blood). The patient had to have at least four teeth or they could not be in the military (they had to be able to tear gunpowder packets with their teeth, and three teeth or less does not work). It was gruesome but interesting. We learned that when Spaniards owned the hospital the survival rate was about the same as it is now, a little more than 80%, due to their methods of separating ill patients, and their holistic medicine. When the Spanish were outed the survival rate at the hospital plummeted to 20%.
Just one of the gorgeous buildings in the historic city.
This is the oldest surviving Spanish house in Florida, built in 1702.
Castillo de San Marcos has been used many times to protect the city against possible take overs from the British. It is made with coquina (sedimentary rock formed with shells). Unbelievably, it is almost indestructible. When it is hit with cannon balls the wall envelops the cannon ball and leaves just a small hole as evidence (it doesn't cause the building to collapse). There are letters written by the British to home stating that it was like cutting into cheese with a knife.
They shoot a cannon every fifteen minutes which is heard throughout the city, and is especially loud in person. When they say cover your ears you should really cover your ears.
The liberal arts school, Flagler College, is named after Henry Flagler, a railroad pioneer and a John D. Rockefeller partner in Standard Oil. Built in 1888, it used to be a fancy Spanish Renaissance hotel with Tiffany glass windows and other accents, but was converted into a college in 1968. I could not even imagine attending such an incredible campus.
The city is absolutely gorgeous.