Thursday, 13 December 2018

St Augustine and Jacksonville

After staying to nights in Daytona Beach we went up to St. Augustine.

The oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the US, St Augustine was founded by the Spanish in 1565.

Today it is a major tourist destination but luckily as we are traveling at such a strange time of the year the crowd was fine even though it was Saturday it was pleasant. I can not imagine in Summer though, as even now we had to pay 10$ parking for a pretty far spot.

Lots and lots of churches.

Everything was well kept and picture perfect.

We just spent a few hours to walk through town.

We loved the less visited back streets.

And the cute Christmas decorations.

Some houses were open for the public, you can do a tour of those which we avoided as the houses were full.

We preferred the outdoor details.

Some houses seemed like fairytale houses.

Florida is very green and flat, a very different landscape than California.

And this town is right at the coast and a lot of these houses are looking to the water so have great views as well.

Here and there you could see some storm damage.

I loved this determined lady, she really wanted to read that book.

Some houses were hidden between greenery.

 After spending a few hours here we went to Jacksonville, as you can see we already made quite the distance in a few days from Miami. We stayed 2 nights at Jacksonville as most things would be closed and we had a comfortable hotel, not to mention that Mum got the Flu which I now have too.
Jacksonville was just a city but had some great thrift stores :)

We're already much further ahead, I'm behind in blogging but from tomorrow on we will be in New Orleans for 2 weeks so I'll catch up there with the destinations we traveled.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Daytona Beach

After arriving at Daytona Beach on Thursday, we stayed an extra night and spent Friday the entire day there.
We first went to Tomoka State Park, with lots of water, palm trees, and Oaks all 'decorated' with hanging Spanish moss.

It was very quiet, clean and well kept and we left the park recharged and relaxed.

This warning gave me a thrill and my heart started to beat faster when we saw lots of bubbles somewhere in the water, but we did not see a gator, yet.

A heron is disquised as a branch :)

We did not see many animals, maybe the wrong time of day but still the flora was beautiful enough.

Tomoka State Park is named after a Native American, who was, like many more, killed.

The Spanish moss seems like decorations and gives a beautiful atmosphere.

After the park, we drove through town to get to the Marine Science Center.

Some houses are overly decorated for the Season like this yard was so full it made me wonder where they store so many decorations the other 11 months of the year :)

All these beautiful houses are right at the shore.

My first sighting of a real proper lighthouse :)

And right next to it the Marine Science Center with a hospital for sea turtles, wild birds and some sea animals like these baby mantas.

The mantas actually let you pet them, a strange sensation.

The guy feeding and explaining about them and other creatures was amazing with the animals and patiently answered all questions and explained everything with great enthusiasm.

There were a few aquariums as well.

This ugly one was in shock of its own reflection :)

There were several big sea turtles in the hospital. Usually, they get released in a few months after they are completely recovered. Lots of damage is caused by boat propellers, fishing lines and plastic.
Since opening in 2002, the Marine Science Center has cared for nearly 900 juvenile and adult sea turtles; more than 15,000 hatchlings and washbacks; and nearly 1,000 gopher tortoises, freshwater turtles and snakes.

There were also some birds, most were not open to the public as they will be released once healed and should not become too familiar with the human. But a few like this hawk will stay there as they can not live in the wild anymore. This hawk's right eye was missing, which makes it impossible for her to live in the wild. The Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Facility at the Marine Science Center has received more than 9,500 birds since opening in 2004.

At the end of this lovely day, I went back to the beach to take some more photos.

It was already getting dark, but the misty pink air gave something dreamy.

From here we went to St. Augustine and then to Jacksonville, where we are now, I will blog about this in a day or two :)