Submitted by Hitty Gale
On our recent visit to St Augustine, we took the Old Town Trolley Tour to see the sights. Our tour guide highlighted our stops with interesting trivia about the city.
On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, landed with a group of settlers and established the first permanent Christian settlement. The Spanish named the site Nombre De Dios–Name of God.
Ray Charles, singer, songwriter, composer and a pioneer in the rhythm and blues genre, is a much-loved favorite son of St Augustine. He attended school here until his mother died when he was 15 years old. While he lived in St Augustine, he developed his musical talent and performed on the radio and at local events.
In the middle of a hotel parking lot, you will find The Old Senator, a live oak tree believed to be over 600 years old. Not far from the Old Senator is an exact replica of the Statue of Michelangelo’s David sculpted by Sollazzini & Sons of Florence Italy. It stands 17 feet tall and is carved from a solid piece of Carrara Marble excavated from the same quarry as the original. This replica is one of only two in the world. According to our tour guide, the citizens of St Augustine were so overwhelmed by him standing there “in all his glory” that he was draped in a toga until a hedge grew tall enough to shield him from the street.
The trolley tour is a great way to see the tourist sites of the city, but renting a scooter for the day or just walking is fun too. Wear good shoes!