Charleston #2: Boat Cruise and Patriots Point

Published: January 27th 2018
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We headed back into the downtown this morning. We had booked to go on a boat cruise so headed to the wharf. We had a bit of time to wait and it was so hot, that we hid in the shade, until we saw people starting to head out onto the boat. The cruise lasted about an hour and a half and we sailed up and down the Cooper River. Our guide was very knowledgeable. I think he had been a history teacher before retiring and starting to work on the river cruises, he had a good head for all the dates and facts. It was really enjoyable to watch the scenery go by. We saw the houses that lined the shore, the same pretty and ugly ones we had seen the day before from land. I bet they are worth a fortune. There were also quite a few sailing boats in the water and it was nice to see them bobbing along. We cruised around Fort Sumter, the sea fort, which is notable for being the place of two battles during the Civil War and was where the first shots of the civil war were fired. We also saw lots of cargo ships stacked high with containers coming and going from the port. I was in awe of how many containers were stacked on the ships. We also went past the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point. The only bad point about the cruise was that the seats on the boat were quite old and not in the best shape. The nails holding the seats together had come loose in some places and I had at some point caught my dress on one of the nails and ripped it. I was a bit gutted as I liked that dress, but I could chuck it out, so it would be one less thing to pack in my backpack.

When we were on the ghost tour yesterday, we had been given some tickets to visit the Powder Magazine. This is a small museum in the French Quarter, which is the oldest public building still standing in South Carolina from the time of the Lords Proprietors. Lords Proprietors governed a territory as a head landlord or overseer for the sovereign ruler. The Powder Magazine is the site where powder used to defend the city during the 17th century was stored. I learnt something new as I didn't know that magazine meant a room or place for storing gunpowder. The museum had quite a few informative displays. There were also some cannons on display and uniforms from the Civil War. The Powder Magazine also had a small outside area, which we took a look around.

We decided to grab some lunch, so we headed down to East Bay Street to check out the options there. We decided to have Mexican food at a place called Minero. The restaurant is named after the Spanish word for 'miner' and the story goes that the tacos got their name from Mexican silver miners in the 18th century as a 'taco' was originally a term used to refer to the dynamite that the miners used to excavate the ore in the mines, these were pieces of paper wrapped around gunpowder, which was then inserted into holes carved in the rock face. With such a name, it was a good spot to have lunch after having just visited the Powder Magazine. The food was really good, We ordered some nachos to snack on while we waited for our main meals to come. These were fresh and warm. I loved the little bag they came in, it was like a tea cosy covered with skulls. We got some tacos, a burrito and a sandwich to share. It was all really good and I could have happily eaten it again.

On the boat cruise that morning, we saw the warships at Patriots Point and decided to head over there to take a look around. The drive took about 15-20 minutes. Once we got there, we realised how big this place was. There was a lot to see and do and we had arrived pretty late in the day, so only had a couple of hours to cram in as much as possible. Also, it was quite expensive to enter the museum, so I would have preferred a bit longer so that I could get my money's worth. First, we headed over to the USS Yorktown. This s an aircraft carrier, which was built during World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was decommissioned after the war, but was modernised and re-commissioned during the 1950s. It saw duty in the Vietnam War and was a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission. The USS Yorktown was decommissioned in 1970 and became a museum in 1975. The ship was huge and we spent ages looking around it. There was lots of information about the unsung heroes of the war and some old airplanes. There was also a simulator to re-create how the astronauts from the Apollo 8 mission got back to Earth. They were bloody brave! It was a tiny little thing and it rattled like mad. On the deck of the plane, there were loads of fighter planes. Insert 'Top Gun' fantasies here. I love 'Top Gun', so it was great seeing the types of planes they fly in, up close. We also looked around the inside of the ship. I loved that there was an escalator in it, but that it wouldn't pass any health and safety laws these days because if one were to trap their toe between the gaps, it would likely be severed. We also went on the submarine, that was really cool, too.

We drove from Patriots Point and found this cute little resorty type area on the water filled with hotels and lots of bars and restaurants. We had planned to eat dinner at one of the places there, but everywhere was packed. This seemed to be a popular spot, I don't know if the people were locals, tourists or a combination of the two. We decided to drive back into the main part of Charleston and find somewhere to eat there. However, as we were driving along the road, we saw lots of restaurants and decided to just find something there as we were starving. We found a cheapie Greek chain place, that looked decent and it would be something different to what we had been eating so far on the trip, so we headed in there. I had a souvlaki meal, which was nice. I forget how much I enjoy Greek cuisine, it is definitely underrated. We headed back into Charleston to Market Street as there was another bakery/cafe that we wanted to try. I think this one had even better reviews than Carmella's. When we got to Kaminsky's Most Excellent Cafe, there was a queue outside. We had already decided that we would just get take-out and we joined the take-out queue. It didn't take long before we were ushered in to drool over all the cakes on display. Everything looked so good and we ordered a selection of different stuf and some coffees.

Afterwards, we drove back to our AirBnB and spent the evening packing up our stuff and munching on the goodies we had bought. Our road trip was over. We had covered so much ground since we had flown into New Orleans just over two weeks ago. I had really enjoyed my time in the South. We would be splitting up the next day. My friends would be driving the car back to New Orleans the next day before flying home and I would be taking the train to Washington, D.C. to spend my last few days in the United States, in its capital city.

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