Friday, August 31, 2018

42 Charleston and it's Southern Charm

It was a beautiful sail in as Charleston welcomed us with clear blue skies
and stunning views of the charming homes that lined the water front.
Silently we glided through the long channel into the bay. The large grey
aircraft carrier stood guard over the smaller yachts anchored at the marina.
With their usual precision the bridge staff spun us around and glided us
into our berthing position.

42a Charlestons old world charm

The city of Charleston is made up of five neighbourhoods, and armed with our
map, we left the ship with the intention of visiting the highlights in each
area. Charleston being one of the South's best-preserved cities sparkled in
the sun against brilliant skies. But alas our penalty for these
picture-perfect conditions was the draining heat and humidity. Deciding on
an abridged version of our walk, we narrowed the area we would cover.
We started with walking along the Waterfront Park heading into the area of
some of Charleston's, most magnificent mansions. Homes beautifully restored
that either serve as homes, Bed & Breakfasts or museums. On some other more
significant homes plaques are displayed on the front explaining their
A feature that struck us the most was a lot of the homes with their huge
columns and wide verandas were actually built side-on to the street. The
purpose of this was that it was the best way to capture the cross-sea
breezes and kept everyone cool.
We walked along Rainbow Row, a section of East Bay Street where each of the
homes are painted in different colours adding to the charm of the area.
Many chose to step back in time and tour with the appeal of riding in a
Horse & Carriage; others were able to pick up small bus tours straight from
the terminal.

42b Charleston - Baby it's warm outside

We walked up King St, through the business district where the beautiful
architecture continued with the stores and banks. Now the brand names of
many exclusive modern stores adorn their frontages.

42 c Charleston - Callies Hot little Biscuits

From my research and my love of a good scone, my mission was to find Callies
Hot Little Biscuit Shop. With agreement from Garry we continued up King St
looking for number 476½, a little further than I had anticipated we kept
walking in the morning heat. By the time we found it, what was going to be
morning tea ended up being lunch. Visions of a table in a shady courtyard
or in air-conditioned comfort and an abundance of free internet, we ended up
with none of the above. Half being the operative part of the street number
as this shop was the skinniest thing you have ever seen, with a menu so
small that every item is on the menu is on display. Like all things it is
not about quantity but quality, and for me these were the most delicious
biscuits I have ever had. We chose their version of a BLT, bacon, lettuce
and tomato served in a biscuit, it's crumbly texture did not deter me, but
Garry reserved his judgement for he is not a fan of messy food. These
biscuits have a different texture, and as they are made with cream cheese
they have a much moister consistency than the scones that we are used to. I
didn't walk all this way for nothing, so I added a small cinnamon biscuit to
the order… OMG that was just divine…

42d Charleston City Markets

Walking back through Marion Square we headed to the French Quarter and
probably Charleston's most historical centre. Filled with churches,
restaurants and bars, buts it's centre piece would have to be the Charleston
City Markets. Filled with 100's for stall of all types of crafts, antiques
and food. Food, did you say food. Well bang smack in the middle was a
little food stall that had a very familiar feel to it. CALLIES HOT LITTLE
BISCUITS, was the sign displayed above .. Damn it, as this was just the
opposite where the ship was docked.
The markets were full with passengers from the ship and covered several
blocks. Sections of it were open with the centre section enclosed and
airconditioned creating a sanctuary from the heat outside. The seagrass
woven baskets and bowls seem to the a specialty but the good ones came with
a price tag.

42e Charleston - Moonshine, grits and green fried tomatoes

The Lowcountry Bistro was where we took refuge and quenched our thirsts.
Garry with a cold beer, me, a Market St Sangria that won me over as soon as
I saw Moonshine in its list of ingredients.
Biscuits .Tick , Moonshine . Tick. Next on the list green fried tomatoes and
grits - for this reason we returned to the same Bistro for dinner. I
redeemed myself with Garry when I suggested he would really like the
Jambalaya, and I was certainly excited with my tomatoes and side of grits.
So good were the grits that the recipe was right up on the black board..
Just need to source the grits back home.

Step Count 976,784

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

41 New York Day 2

Today we were up early and found the bus that would take us not up town nor
down town, but across town. We had pre-purchased tickets to visit the
United Nations Building on recommendation from our friends Sharon and Peter.

Unsure of how long it would take to get there we left early, caught the M50
bus that left not far from the terminal and dropped us off about a block
down of where we needed to be. There a little early, we found a small
farmers market to wander through with lots of fruits, vegies and other yummy
products. This market was in the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza whose significance
was lost upon me. Even the small café with the sign "friends of Dag" had me
a little puzzled. Was this a resident, a local character or vagrant that
frequented this spot, there was no hint nor explanation anywhere….? Oh well,
maybe I will google it later.

41a New York Day 2 United Nations Headquarters

Before joining the queue to enter the United Nations complex, we went across
the road to another building where they carried out the security procedures.
After submitting ID and taking mug shots, we were given the appropriate
stickers and wrist bands for us to continue our tour.
The land that the United Nations sits on is classified as an International
Territory. No federal, state or local officer or official of the United
States, whether administrative, judicial, military or police can enter the
UN Headquarters except with the consent of the Secretary General. However,
there is an agreement with the US that its headquarters can not be used as a
refuge for anyone attempting to avoid arrest. The UN has its own
firefighters, security forces and post office within the grounds.
Flags of the 193 countries that make up the United nations make a colourful
display as it curves around the entrance of the complex. Sculptures,
paintings and other amazing gifts which have been bestowed to the United
Nations adorn the grounds and the interior of the buildings. Apparently,
there is only piece of art that was commissioned by the UN and that is a
painting that commemorates the 1970 World Youth Assembly.

41b New York Day 2 United Nations Chambers

Our guide did an excellent job taking us through each of the three main
chambers. Thanks to our Nordic and Scandinavian members each have been
tastefully created in a theme that displays what each one represents.
First the Security Council, furnished by Norway and easily identified by its
horse shoe shape table and the beautiful backdrop mural symbolizing the
promise of future peace.
Second the Economic and Social Council furnished by Denmark and lined with
its trademark teak panelling. A beautiful 9ft statue of a woman with arms
upraised and bird taking flight adorn the room.
Third is the Economic and Social Chamber designed and donated by Sweden.
But the most iconic and recognisable room that we entered was that of the
General Assembly. A sloping structure with concave sides topped with a
beautiful ornate dome.