Bender Blog #3 December 2008
We arrived here Christmas Eve, at the oldest permanent European settlement in North American. Its Spanish heritage is seen and felt throughout the city. The downtown area is lit with over 3 million white lights artistically outlining the buildings, reflecting the lines of Spanish architecture. The lights entwine themselves from the ground around the trunks of palms and up throughout their fronds. St. Augustine is transformed into a magical land with illuminated gardens and paths in, around, and throughout the Plaza de la Constitution which faces the harbor and the marina where we were staying. Christmas on the water is very special and so very different from the land’s view of Christmas events of malls, streets, and neighborhoods. Some boat owners spend huge amounts of time and money decorating their boats for Christmas—some tastefully simple; some a little gaudy but all in the spirit. Sometimes the decorations are only lights. Sometimes they include reindeer, galloping shrimp pulling Santa’s sleigh, Crèches, and other symbols of the season.