Friday, 14 June 2013

Castillo San Marcos, St Augustine

It was simply gorgeous when we arrived in St Augustine, as it was too early to check into our hotel, we were given a parking permit, then we headed off to visit the Castillo a short walk away.
We didn’t need our parks pass as it was National Parks week so entry was free (yes, I am still a long way behind I will catch up, eventually!).
We crossed both entrance drawbridges
into the Castillo

Construction of the castillo started in 1672, it’s built of an unusual and semi-rare form or limestone called ‘coquina’ and is the oldest masonry and only existing 17th century fort in North America. 

Coquina was a great thing with which to build the Castillo, it contains millions of microscopic air pockets so cannon balls fired at the walls simply disappeared into it as though it were styrofoam.   It must’ve been very disconcerting to attackers when their cannon balls seemed to have absolutely no effect whatsoever.  

Inside the Castillo 

The walls of the Castillo were originally covered in a lime, sand and water mix called Argamasa which formed a bright white plaster.   Red plaster, made by adding brick dust, covered the trim and sentry towers, these were the royal colours of Spain.  

Originating in 15th century Italy, the Castillo is built in a star shape, which came about as a result of architecture adapting to technology brought about by weapons using black powder.   The bastion system, named for the projecting diamond shaped formations added onto fort walls was the most commonly and effectively used. 

The day we visited was pretty busy, probably because it was National Parks week and we coincided with several school tours.   It’s a fascinating place and we spent a couple of hours looking round.   It’s definitely worth a visit.

Afterwards we checked into our hotel and then headed out for dinner at the A1A micro-brewery.   The ‘happy hour’ margaritas were fabulous, DB said the beer was good, and the food was lovely.   I really wanted to try the key lime cheesecake, so I had a starter (crab sliders), for my main course.   They were absolutely huge, (so was DB’s) I couldn’t eat it all, so the cheesecake was a ‘to go’ that we shared a couple of hours later.    

Have fun, we are!

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