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Thanksgiving 2005
 
 
(Click on the images for a larger version.)
boston morning snow
We (Ilaria and I) booked our Thanksgiving flights to New Orleans early to avoid spending too much on a ticket. Then Hurricane Katrina destroyed my folks house in New Orleans, so this snowy morning in Boston,
 
florida orlando ilaria
we were heading out to my sisters place in Florida for Thanksgiving.
 
snark a snoops
When we arrived, we went to the Snark-a-Snoops show,
 
ellie snark a snoops
which Ellie really likes.
 
ellie and pawpaw
And we walked in the park
 
orlandos best pizza
to my favorite pizza restaurant in Orlando.
 
ilaria gray 1
Ilaria held Gray while we ate,
 
ilaria gray 2
but I don't think see minded.
 
orlando park
I'm not a big fan of holidays (though I do like vacation!), so this was a great trip for me because Thanksgiving day,
 
christmas tree
we decorated the Christmas tree.
 
christmas tree 2
Normally, my family puts up the tree much closer to Christmas.
 
christmas tree with presents
But this time, we got to open presents the day after Thanksgiving because Ilaria and I were going to Italy for Christmas.
 
pic in front of tree
So the day after Thanksgiving, we took the obligatory picture in front of the Christmas tree (we have to do this every year, even though we look strange and unnatural),
 
presents
And then Gray opened Christmas presents for the first time.
 
presents 2
They are so curious and docile the first time they open presents. Ellie however had become an aggressive pro, except she doesn't have patience and can't read yet. So she opened one of my presents, which I didn't find very cute cause I still like to rip off the wrapping paper.
 
moms album
All the kids worked real hard to collect pictures that didn't get ruined in the Hurricane (which was the exception rather than the rule) and organize them into a new album. It is sad that the sum of all our families pictures now fits in one little book, but it is certainly more portable if another hurricane comes.
 
rental car
Ilaria and I usually rent a car when we go do my sisters, because there are a lot of interesting things to see in Florida (BESIDES DISNEYWORLD).
 
driving
This time we were going to St. Augustine, which to tell the truth isn't that far removed from Disneyworld - very touristy. It is the oldest European settlement in the USA, founded by the spanish in 1565.
 
temperature
It was pretty dang hot outside for us Bostonians.
 
daytona beach
On the way to St. Augustine, we stopped to checkout Daytona Beach.
 
daytona beach pier
It was pretty.
 
daytona beach 2
But after 30 minutes or so, I had enough and was ready to move towards our target.
 
restaurant
Just outside the city we stopped at this "World Famous" bar, which was filled with motorcycle people. (Ilaria really fits in well with the locals here with her red-neck stance. I'm not sure if she did this on purpose, but it is certainly a nice job of assimilation for a recent Italian import.)
 
oasis restaurant 2
I've since realized that half of the bars near the coast in Florida call themselves "World Famous". The food was pretty good, but the world needn't go out of their way to come here.
 
st augustine lighthouse
We knew we were close when we saw the St. Augustine lighthouse beckoning in the distance. But we decided to stop and look at it on our way home and head on to the city center (we never stopped because the day we went back there was a monsoon).
 
bed and breakfast augustine
We took a room in a Bed and Breakfast (there are many to choose from in St. Augustine).
 
bed and breakfast augustine nightcap
They provided a nice Sherry nightcap. But the nicest thing they provided was bicycles.
 
church
We rode over to the biggest church to have a look.
 
main street
And we walked our bikes along St. Georges street.
 
castillo de san marcos
And then we took a ride around Castillo de San Marcos. It was constructed by the Spanish in 1672 after the British had whipped up on them too many times. Random knowledge: this is the oldest masonry fort in the continental USA (which brings up the question of where [Alaska or Hawaii] the oldest one in the entire USA is? and why is it there?)
 
fountain of youth
After a few mile bike ride, we arrived at the Fountain of Youth. It was closed, which explains why Ilaria and I look so old.
 
fountain of youth trees
But the trees along the road that runs by the museum are really nice.
 
st augustine giant cross
On the way home, we stopped to look at the giant cross.
 
st augustine giant cross 2
I mean this thing is big. I guess they made it big, so the feet of the giant Jesus in Rio don't touch the ground when they nail him to it.
(Ilaria says this sounds mean. That's not my intention. It just that we all know Jesus ends up on a cross and I don't know if there is another cross in the world that the Rio Jesus could be attached to.)
 
st augustine trolley
We went back to the center of town, where the public transportation is not quite the same as in Boston. We had dinner at a Cajun restaurant and called a nite.
 
carpenter
The next day we went to the Spanish Quarter Living History Museum - a cool place where the people live like they did in the 1740's. For example this is the town's carpenter. He makes all the boards and woodwork for the Museum. All the fences around the museum were made by him and nailed in with nails made by the town blacksmith.
 
spanish museum
Although, they don't sleep there they do seem to live pretty basic lives outside the museum as well. This guy was the town cook. After leaving work he walks down to a nearby boat where he lives.
 
spanish museum 2
This is the town writer dude (I can't remember his official title but he writes letters and legal documents).
 
spanish museum walls
The walls surrounding the museum are made of this unique mix of cement and sea-shells. Shortly after we left this museum and St. Augustine to return to Orlando, it was time to go back
 
paul revere park snow
to snowy Boston
 
paul revere park christmas
where Paul Revere park by our house was decorated for Christmas.