Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Charleston Part 3

Why oh why oh why will Blogger not correctly format my paragraph breaks at the end this post??? Aaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhh!!! It drives me crazy!! Behave or I'm going to Wordpress, I'm warning you!!!!

Calm calm calm and deep breaths

So, Catweazle and I spent our Saturday afternoon in Charleston just wandering around and taking in the sights. We didn't do anything too exciting to report back on, but I really enjoyed myself. Charleston is a lovely city where you can just hang out and take in the sights. Just make sure you take sunscreen if you go in summer, especially if you're fair skinned like me, I spent a good portion of my time seeking the shade.

The first stop was Market Street where we browsed the stalls of the covered market and I ended up buying a pretty handmade bangle of silver green beads, I think they might be Swarovski crystals, from a lovely woman, Raquel Cuadrado. Unfortunately her card doesn't list a website, but her jewelry/jewellery (ooh it looks weird to me with the English spelling now) collection is called 'New Yesterday Jewelry Art', so be on the lookout if you're ever at Charleston market, she had really nice pieces.

Photo of the market hall courtesy of QThunderboys on Flickr.

Afterwards we took a leisurely walk through Waterfront Park, enjoying the breeze coming from the water before circling up to Broad St and stopping at a pub, the Blind Tiger, for a refreshing beverage. I was hoping for a mint julep - when in the south and all that - but when Catweazle asked the bartender whether they made a good mint julep, his response of "what's in that?" told us all we needed to know, so we ordered glasses of wine instead ;-)

Here's a photo Catweazle took of the Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge, which connects Charleston city centre to Mount Pleasant. It's designed to withstand an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale don't you know and is the longest cable stayed bridge on the east coast of the US. Catweazle is rather partial to this bridge - which I admit is very nice - and was rather peeved that the cruise ship and the barge were in the way of his shot.

And here's a pineapple fountain in Waterfront Park.

They're very big on pineapples down south, they're everywhere, carved into stone, wood, made into fridge magnets. Apparently pineapples are traditional sign of hospitality. Here's what I found out about the origins on WikiAnswers.

"In colonial America, hostesses would set a fresh pineapple in the center of their dining table when visitors joined their families in their homes. Visiting was the primary means of entertainment and cultural exchange, so the concept of hospitality was a central element in colonial life. The pineapple, then, symbolized the warmest welcome a hostess could extend to her guests, and then often it also served as the dessert for the meal. If the visitors spent the night, they would be given a bedroom with a bed in which pineapples had been carved on either the bedposts or the headboard -- even if that was the master bedroom."

See, my blog is educational ;-)

On the way back to the hotel for 'a rest' (nudge nudge wink wink eyebrow raise) we bought humungously delicious double scoop ice creams from Kilwins on Market St. A scoop of cake batter and a scoop of New Orleans Praline Pecan for me in a dark chocolate dipped waffle cone, cookies & Cream and New Orleans Praline Pecan for Catweazle. My eyes were bigger than my belly and I unfortunately couldn't finish, but I can vouch for its deliciousness if you are down Charleston way and craving a tasty frozen treat.

We drove out to Mount Pleasant on Saturday evening for dinner at the Old Village Post House - another fabulous recommendation from the NY Times. That article I read didn't steer us wrong, the food was delicious. Catweazle was particularly contented after a typically southern dinner of shrimp and grits and a blackberry dessert. Afterwards we drove back to downtown Charleston with the intention of completing our evening with a drink at the Pavilion Bar on the roof of the Market Pavilion Hotel. Unfortunately, it being Saturday night, the place was jammed and not as sedate as I was hoping, in fact it was a little more 'sceney' that I anticipated, a lot like a summer Saturday night at 230 Fifth in NYC. The Pavilion bar appears to be the place to be in Charleston of a Saturday night. It wasn't for us, I'm deeply unfashionable when it comes to the 'in-places', so after checking out the view we walked back to our B&B to have a glass of the Sterling Pinot Blanc I'd brought back from Napa for us to share and instead had a pleasant evening out on the porch. Well, pleasant that is until a massive water bug - seriously folks it was ENORMOUS - ran up the side of the wall and freaked me out and I had to hide inside. I'm not good with insects, especially ones that big that also fly!! Yikes, no thank you. That's the one thing I don't like about the south, the humidity means you come across even more bloody big bugs than you do in New York - and when I say 'more' I mean I saw four!! Yeah okay, maybe I am over-reacting, but I hate them!! Subway rats...barely a flinch, but big bugs....shudder!!!
Sunday was our last day in Charleston - we could only get the hotel for 2nights so we decided we'd drive to Columbia, capitol of South Carolina and where Catweazle grew up and stay there for one night instead. I'm all for checking out more of the real US, New York isn't exactly representative ;-)
We checked out of the hotel just before 10am on Sunday and went for breakfast at the East Bay Coffee House. Afterwards we took one last saunter around the Battery Park area of the city and admired the beautiful houses. There's not much to talk about here, it's much better said in pictures, so I'll love you and leave you here with a few more of Catweazle's lovely photos of Charleston.


Karen ^..^ said...

Ohhhh. These pictures are BREATHTAKING. What a beautiful city.

Wow. what a great post. Who took the photos? Whoever it was has a great eye. Gorgeous photos.

Blur Ting said...

Happy birthdaY!

The pictures are gorgeous and everything is just swimmingly fine and nice. The ice cream.I would love to pig out on that one!!

You should have more of such little breaks. It's good for your readers too.:-)

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Thanks Karen, Catweazle was the photographer. I think he has a good eye too.

Thanks Blur Ting, I wish I could afford to have mini breaks more often too :-)

Spandrel Studios said...

Charleston looks like such a charming, walkable city and a wonderful place for a romantic getaway!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: you should write a book, Fish. You've got an engaging style that would give many of today's authors a run for the money!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Thanks for the compliment Spandrel. Maybe one of these days I'll give it a whirl ;-)