Thursday, December 1, 2011

Flagler Rocks and Another Beach Walk

If you come to St. Augustine (and you really should, it's quite lovely and very historical and interesting), you will hear the name Flagler mentioned quite a bit.  He's some rich guy who came to town in the 1880's and started building stuff all over town, including a hotel and a church.  Bought himself a railroad or two to bring his guests to the hotel.  Yup, that kind of rich guy. 

However, today we visited what used to be the Ponce de Leon Hotel and is now Flagler College and I must say, this guy Flagler really knew what he was doing when it came to putting together beautiful buildings.  From the stunning exterior

through the front doorway:

under the ceiling in the lobby

over the mosaic tiles on the floor

to the murals on the ceiling of the dining room, which perfectly compliment the Tiffany stained glass windows (the largest in use collection of Tiffany glass in the world, we were told)

Our fourth year undergraduate tour guide told us it was very difficult trying to study under these conditions.  Can you imagine being surrounded by this kind of stunning in the dining hall?  I really feel for these kids, they've got it rough.

Then we visited the church he built after his daughter died following a difficult childbirth.  Like the hotel, it too was small and unassuming - not.

We had lunch in a restaurant that is situated in what used to be the deep end of the swimming pool of Mr. Flagler's hotel (there were two buildings, located across the street from one another - one held all the guest rooms and the other had all the "facilities") - best feta cheese and vegetable panini sandwich ever.

We walked through a part of town called Lincolnville, established by freed slaves in 1866 according to Wikipedia.  St. Augustine was apparently one of the most segregated cities in the U.S. once upon a not so long ago time.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited and spoke here in the early 60's, prior to the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

We also visited the beach again today.  The wind was quite strong and cold, I had to wear my ear muffs.  We found a stretch of sand that was absolutely covered in seashells, I've never seen so many in one place.

Then we found another beach upon which we could drive our car.  That was fun!  Several seagulls and other birds were hanging about at the water's edge, all facing into the wind in sort of a V formation.

It was interesting watching them fly - the wind was so strong, it looked like they were barely moving, they were almost hanging in one spot.  I was able to get some really cool photos as a result, like this one:

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