Sunday, April 1, 2012

Savannah, Charleston & Saint Augustine

As planned we headed back to Savannah for St Patrick’s Day stopping on the way at Macon (pronounced like bacon) for two nights; two nights only gives us one full day to tour a town. We spent a day touring Macon which was plenty of time to see the town, the highlight of the day being lunch in a restaurant called H&H run by two elderly African American ladies.

Arriving at Savannah on March 15th we hooked ourselves up to the utilities and headed into town for the festivities where we discovered that an Irish choir from Carraigbyrne, Co Wexford was performing at the Cathedral that night. A parade preceded the recital and we attended both and enjoyed the evening of Irish music and song after which we headed for the Airport to collect Adele’s brother Tom who was visiting for a week. Next day, Saturday was St Patrick’s Day and we were intent on celebrating in style as Savannah justifiably boasts the second largest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world. Savannah’s organization was just amazing, free shuttles were running from outlying Shopping Malls to the center of town. We find our way to the nearest Mall and follow the crowd to behold a line of people all dressed in green and we join the line which moves very quickly and we expect that once we turn a corner we will be at the bus stop; wrong…a long green dragon stretches for about another 300 yards.  We eventually got on a bus with a fun crowd of people; one lady has a big green bag and loudly tells all that she has everything in it for her day in town - reaches into the bag and takes out a toilet seat cover, you can only imagine the laughter! We could have spent the day on the bus. Adele had a t-shirt with the slogan "This is what a real cool Irish Granny looks like" as you can imagine she had great fun wearing it. Other grannies wanted to know where it was purchased and were disappointed when they learned it was a present from our son's girlfriend who lives in California. A guy wearing a green “This is my Lucky Shirt” wanted the Irish Granny to really make his day for him!
The Parade started at 10 am and continued until 3pm after which we headed for River Street on the bank of the river and much lower than the rest of the town. We stopped in the lobby of a Hotel to look down over a crowd of people all dressed in various shades of green – what a spectacle, over the Toms’ protests Adele joins the green tide of people to see where’s the fun; we quickly find out that pretty much everyone is drinking and there’s little room to move. TV news reports that evening that there were a million people in Savannah on St Patrick’s Day we believe half of them must have been on River Street. The nearest we got to Corned beef and cabbage was a Reuben Sandwich for lunch.

Sunday we walked Tom C around Savannah and took a carriage ride, we had previously taken the bus tour.
Monday we drove to Charleston in the bug, leaving the Rover behind as we thought Tom C would like to sleep in a real bed for a couple of nights. Our hotel, thanks to excellent planning, was very close to the historic downtown area, just across one of the many bridges.

When we had previously been to Charleston in 2004 we fell in love with the town and were delighted to visit it again. On our first evening we took a free bus down to Waterfront Park followed by a short walk along the sea front. We had dinner in a most unusual hamburger joint called HoM - the menu was mostly hamburgers turkey, chicken, beef or vegetarian with an eclectic array of trimmings, we each enjoyed our choice of meal.  Day two we took a boat tour of the Harbor followed by a carriage ride and then walked along the seashore in an area called the battery.
We had dinner in an up market restaurant called High Cotton; we had already tried another but it had a 45min wait - good restaurants are hard to get into in Charleston. Day three we met up with old friends Bernie and Eva who had retired to Charleston from California took us to lunch and on a wonderful walking tour of an old residential area, off the visitor track. Later in the day we headed back to Savannah about 100 miles south.

After a night’s sleep we departed for Saint Augustine where our RV Park was on Anastasia Island; a half mile from the beach and 3 miles from the historical downtown.  The weather had been warm and sunny for the past week and we were hoping that it would remain so for another week as we had planned on spending the week on the beach. Our week on St Joseph's Island on the pan handle in February was jeans and jackets weather.  Adele and her brother decided to go out for breakfast the first morning and…yes got lost. Both of them have had many an adventure in Dublin, Ireland  because of Adele's sense of direction or lack of same - hence BlueBugs number plate holder “I'm lost but I'll be there soon” a present from Cearull shortly after we arrived in California. We drove Tom C to the airport next morning and there was no way he would allow Adele to drive! We really enjoyed having Tom stay but the RV accommodation is not great for visitors. Once again we strike it lucky in Saint Augustine, this time the festival is to celebrate the Spanish arriving. We were here the first weekend of December when they were celebrating the British arriving – a trivia – it will be 2050+ before the US will have governed Florida for as long as the Spanish, French, British and Spanish again! Once again the cannons were fired from Castillo San Martin followed by a candle light parade through town - same marching men in a different uniform marching to the same music - but enjoyable all the same.
Thankfully, the weather continued to be hot and sunny so most of the week was spent on the beach.  Adele had a wardrobe malfunction while tumbling in the waves so that evening it was off to the surf shop where two pairs of swim suits and a body board were purchases. The board was for children over 13 so Tom reckoned that it would be OK for Adele. Our nightly walks were either on the beach admiring the stars or walking down Saint Augustine’s pedestrianized main street St George.

Life is good as the t-shirt says!

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