Left bed

Goodbye Florida

My last day in St. Augustine. It started with tea by the pool, sun and then my last swimming practice in the pool. Shirley had left early to help Modesta in the school, which she does each Wednesday. As planned, Judy  arrived at 11:30 am to pick me up.

 Judy is now retired but was also a teacher. Like Modesta, she comes from New York. She is very interested in politics and events outside the USA. She enjoyed the opportunity to talk to me and ask questions. I enjoyed being with someone so intelligent and interested in such human matters, and debating in my first language!

We drove to the centre of St. Augustine and boarded a ship for a trip around the harbour up to the Atlantic. I took some photographs including some of the bridge opening to let high masted boats through. We had lunch at an excellent Mexican Restaurant recommended by Judy. Talk over lunch was also very interesting! In the evening we got back to Shirley’s house in time to relax in the Pavilion by the pool and wait for Modesta to arrive.

Modesta had bought me a very special bottle of Chardonnay wine from California for my birthday. I said I would only open it on my final evening, and in the company of such wonderful ladies. That was the deal and all agree, so we met up to open the wine.

It was delicious! Shirley had prepared a light meal and I had bought a lighter wine to start the evening. It all combined to making a perfect last evening in St. Augustine. How I enjoy looking at these photographs again!

I went to bed late for I didn’t feel tired. The excitement of the day/evening, and the thought of my flights next day, kept me awake. I finally hit the land of nod and emerged into Thursday 24 May to take me back to Berlin.

Shirley woke me, drank tea, showered, packed my bags and hit the road at 7:10am. Shirley decided to take some of the back roads to miss the morning rush hour traffic. All went well at the beginning, then she noticed she had taken a wrong turn. A quick change of route and hit the ‘gas’ pedal.

I arrived 45 minutes before my plane was due to leave, so Shirley dropped me off at the Departure Gate. Just time for a hug and big grateful kiss before I rushed into the check in/security and boarding. I made it all just in time. Then we all sat in the plane for nearly an hour waiting for permission to take off! I could have spent that time better with Shirley enjoying a coffee over a longer goodbye chat. Typical!

I flew north to Newark Airport, which is north of New York. I had a three hour wait. Finally got into the plane for Berlin, and then we had to wait fifty minutes for permission to leave. Flight made bearable by a nice lady next to me, and a new film on my screen. I can’t sleep in an aircraft, so I waste the hours by watching a film of listening to my MP3 Player.

Was I pleased when we landed (late) in Berlin Tegel Airport on Friday 25 May. All went smoothly and quickly into the passport check. I asked for, and got, a stamp in my passport for that airport was due to close a few weeks after my arrival.

I emerged into the airport to see the happy, smiling face of Heike. Was I glad to see her! She organised everything including packing me and my bags into her car and heading into Berlin. We stopped for cakes at my local bakers, had coffee and chatted about my adventures.

And so I returned to Berlin and the adjustment to life here. I have made the adjustment but I still miss life in St. Augustine, my travels through half of the state and those wonderful women who shared my last evening. Most of all to Shirley, without whom I could never have had such a life experience.  Thanks Shirley!