Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Day 6: Bridges, bridges, bridges

We walked out of the hotel onto the street, into the restaurant next door for breakfast - and almost all the way back into the hotel as the restaurant is joined to the reception. I had the second-oddest eggs benedict of the trip (or it might be an equal tie with the one Simon had in Santa Monica the week after, with lemon sauce and a soft-boiled egg and spinach); instead of a muffin it was a fried green tomato and crab cake, the usual poached egg - and a biscuit on the side plus grits. Plus the best coffee we'd had in days.

We headed down to the south battery and listened to the sea over the oystershell beach and admired the houses - especially the one with flowing muslin drapes, a fan and a hammock on the balcony (I could spend a few days lounging around reading on a balcony like that). I wanted to see the bridge over the straight to Mount Pleasant - it's a double suspension bridge with a pleasing array of cables that look like that string art that was popular in the 70s - and driving along the cobbled wharves and around the edge of the port revealed an amazing abandoned frontage in the middle of the bonded custom area, like a surreal gateway for goods from who knows where.

We drove towards the bridge, over the bridge, stopped at the cultural centre (more baskets) to take photos and back across the top of Charleston, over another bridge and another and down into Georgia, stopping only to buy peach cider (South Carolina, I think) and peaches (definitely Georgia).

Given the name, we couldn't not stop at St Simon's island; there's a long causeway and bridge running out to the coast and across. The island is wild as you drive across and then densely covered with houses, so you have to find the beach access alleys between them. We saw a cat stalking the mockingbirds in the palm trees on the way to the beach and then wandered across the sand and down to the water's edge for a splash.

Back to the mainland, we went over more bridges - all variations on the laced cable suspension like abstract white lace - and watched sunset over the slough land. After dark we turned into the maze that is St Augustine. There's some local oddity that has roads that go in wildly different directions turn out to run to the front and back of the same hotel. We thought we'd overshot and turned back and drove to what we thought was the historic downtown and found only houses and shacks and a tourist road train and closed restaurants and what claimed to be Ponce de Leon's fountain of youth. We turned around twice and eventually picked a motel in despair. They warned us that there was a PT Cruiser convention in town and the car pack was full of customised, tricked-out, neon-glowing PTs; very cool.

Armed with a map we drove down the side of the motel and came out back where we'd turned in on the other road and took the turn we'd kept taking for a car park and found the town itself. Forgetting it was Friday night and everywhere would be open late we stopped at the first place we saw was open: Harry's - which turned out to be a N'orleans style restaurant, complete with the hooting, hollering drinkers at the bar… We walked the streets a little after but everything was closing up so we got back in the car, turned down one of the interesting looking streets - and came out right by the bridge we hadn't taken when we first thought we'd overshot the town…

Tags: food, travel

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