Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Girls' Weekend, Sunday, October 23, 2016

    Sunday, October 23, 2016
Flagler College Entrance
  Today was a day that Kathi and I both wished that we could turn back the hands of time and attend Flagler College here in Saint Augustine.  Seriously, this place is amazing.  We got up early this morning so that we could take part in the 10am tour because we figured there would be fewer people on this tour, thus allowing us to ask more questions of our student guide.  This proved to be true and we did, indeed, ask many questions during the tour despite the lack of caffeine in our blood (this due to the fact that we were running a bit late leaving the condo, and not walking past any coffee shops on our way from the car to the college.  This place is magnificent and I would advise not missing the opportunity to tour this building if you happen to be in Saint Augustine.  The building was completed in 1888 after 18 months of construction and originally served as a VERY high class hotel for the VERY wealthy.  It looks like a castle.  There are many places in the building where you can see gold.  If you see gold, well, then what you are looking at actually IS gold.  
Gold Leaf in Wall Murals
  Either gold leaf or real gold.  There was a shelf in one of the rooms we toured through that was very crooked and I mentioned this to our guide.  She said, yes that shelf is indeed crooked but the fact that it is PURE GOLD requires that some special crew needs to be called in to rehang it.  This room also had 11 Austrian crystal chandeliers hanging in it, each valued at around a million dollars.
Crystal chandelier
  What were once hotel rooms for the very rich now serve as dorm rooms, each one having its own fireplace, which the students are not allowed to use.  The dining hall once served as a ballroom and all of its' many windows are Tiffany glass making this the largest collection of Tiffany glass in the world that is functional, not just decorative.  And everything in this place looked absolutely pristine.  Apparently the students (of which there are only about 2600) are all required to take this tour to learn the historical significance and importance of this place and the things that are in it as well as to take a course about the history of the building.  This seems to be a good idea because it doesn't appear that there has been any vandalism of destruction of anything as one might expect from the average American college student.  Flagler College is a private liberal arts college that charges its' students $25000 per year for room and board whether they are from in state or out of state.  Our guide, who is currently a senior, said that her largest class had 23 students in it.  Again, very atypical for an American college campus.  What a place to get an education.
Tiffany glass windows in the dining hall
  I could go on and on about this place, but instead I suggest you look it up on Google and read more about it there.  It's worth the look.   After our tour, we went in search of coffee and found the delightful Kookaburra coffee shop where I not only had a delicious cup of coffee with coconut milk, but also a tasty Aussie pie with ground sirloin and cheese baked into a pie crust.  It was very good.  
Coffee at Kookabura
  Once we had taken in our morning dose of caffeine, we went to the Lightner Museum which is across the street from Flagler College.  This, too, was once a Henry Flagler hotel called the Alcazar.  This was the hotel that Mr. Flagler built for every day people and actually was really the more fun hotel of the two.  This hotel included an enormous swimming pool, a bowling alley, tennis courts and Turkish baths.  It now houses the many collections that a Mr. Otto Lightner, publisher of Hobby magazine had bought from folks over many years.  These include collections of buttons and toasters and money, as well as glass and crystal and music making machines along with many, many other collectibles.  This place is somewhat interesting, but Kathi and I both agreed that it was not nearly as fascinating as Flagler College, nor was it kept in as good a condition. Upon leaving the Lightner Museum, we both realized that we were ready for a bit of a rest, so we decided that we would take the trolley car to our next destination which was the Fountain of Youth.   We had originally planned to go to the Fountain on our first full day here, but were informed by the gentlemen at the Trolley ticket center that it was closed as they repaired damage that had been done by Hurricane Matthew.  We found out later that these guys were misinformed and that we were in luck and it was open after all. After a nice 15 minute trolley ride where we were able to sit and rest our feet and legs for a bit, we disembarked at the Fountain of Youth.  The saga of the elusive HDMI adapter that Kathi had chased down on Amazon (so that we could use the Google Chromecast that I bought so we could watch the latest episode of Designated Survivor, which, it turns out was delayed until next week due to the presidential debates) continued in the form of a text message from Amazon informing her that delivery was NOT made because the business to which it was to be delivered was closed.  Huh?  The front desk of the resort was closed?  I don't think so.  This, of course, caused Kathi great distress (she had paid extra to have it shipped next day so that we could use it tonight once we were back in the room) and after having a cup of water from the Fountain of Youth, which seemed to having no anti-aging effects AT ALL, she got on the phone to Amazon and eventually the United States Postal Service to try and resolve the issue.  Unfortunately, she was unsuccessful in getting the cord delivered today, as promised, but did get an extra month of Amazon Prime and that extra shipping cost credited back to her account out of the deal.  
Bottoms up at the Fountain of Youth
  Once the business with Amazon was done, we went on to enjoy the rest of the Fountain of Youth site, which is actually an archeological park. The park include a replica of a Timucuan Indian village. The Timucuans were the tribe of Native Americans that lived in this area when Ponce de Leon landed her in 1513.  Unfortunately, the tribe is now extinct.  There is an archeological site on the property where the remains of 47 Native Americans were discovered in 1934.  These appeared to be the remains of Christianized Native Americans due to the positioning of the bodies (arms crossed over the chest) and in 1991, the remains were reinterred with a full Catholic mass.  There are ongoing excavations at the site even today.  For some reason there are also many peacocks that live on and freely roam the property.  
  We wrapped up our tour of the Fountain of Youth and decided that we were tired and hungry.  After a quick stop at the liquor store for some Bailey's for Lori, as well as a run into Radio Shack to get a router (the next idea in trying to get our Chromecast to work.  Long story short, this idea was faulty and would not bring us any satisfaction)
Kathi and some beautiful flowers
  Once back in the room, Kathi fixed a delicious dinner of hamburger and onions sautéed in coconut oil.  We set about journaling, but Kathi gave up relatively early because she could barely keep her eyes open.  I wasn't too far behind her.  We had really done and seen a lot today and it was time for some rest.  Tomorrow we have 2 hours massages scheduled at noon, then plan on spending a little time at the beach, then hope that we can make it out of the Escape room........

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