After a while, driving in a crowded mini-van with a broken air conditioner and bickering siblings can really get to your head. Sweat beads on your scalp, your upper lip, your whole being. You try to find enjoyment in the scenery outside but nothing lives up to your expectations. Florida is supposed to have endless beaches with palm trees and happy, bonding families. All I could see was endless high ways and a family overcome by impatience. My father took us down to St. Augustine, Florida with the idea that we would escape the hectic life back home in Virginia. This would be my last spring break with my family. My father wanted to make it memorable.
I knew St. Augustine to be the oldest settlement in America. This town had historical importance but lacked in the scenery department thus far. For miles, I could only see emptiness and I could only smell the stench of young children who had sat in one position for three hours. My father decided to park in a low key area to avoid traffic and asked us to walk to the small town. If the ride had not been enough, I felt that us walking would only cause further turmoil. But the moment I opened the van door a slight breeze blew upon my face. I felt an immediate sense of relief as the tingle of the breeze restored a reassurance of life. Though there were no palm trees, the lively oaks caved over us to provide a constant shade from the looming sun. I could not help but notice the green life beneath my feet. I had never seen grass so green. We made our way onto the cobblestone streets into a small down town area. To our left stood a great wall of stone built during the early beginnings of the town. Even my siblings stoped fussing to take interest in the smells and sights of this town. We passed a restaurant with the sound of folk music lingering its way throught the opened windows. The smell of sweet caramel apples overwhelmed my senses and my family and I soon made our way to a pastry store.
For hours, my family and I roamed the cobblestone streets of St. Augustine, taking in the culture of the town. We ate at a small, family-owned Greek restaurant and enjoyed the savory flavor of authentic baklava. We purchased torquoise at the local vintage shop and toured the historic Castle Otttis. We stood at the steps our ancestors stepped on and gazed at the same cloudless sky that had inspired travelers centuries ago. The trip to St. Augustine had given my family the escape from the pattern of everyday life. One might expect one thing out of a vacation just as I had. But the memorable moments that I had at St. Augustine far surpassed the typical sunburned vacation my peers had. I went to St. Augustine with high expectations and left with a great appreciation for the unexpected.
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