Die Sache mit Berlin…

Jeder hat seinen Lieblingsort auf diesem Planeten. Ein Ort, der uns glücklich macht, uns allen Stress und Kummer vergessen und uns sorgenlos in den Tag hinein leben lässt. Dieser Ort ist für mich mit Abstand Berlin! Big B! Meine Liebe zu dieser Stadt ist seit Jahren ungebrochen! Ich war in vielen Großstädten dieser Welt und selbst New York City kann mit dem Charme unserer Hauptstadt nicht mithalten! Durch den Besuch meines Freundes aus Frankreich, der das erste Mal in Berlin gewesen ist, habe ich Berlin nochmals mit anderen Augen gesehen. Neue Plätze wurden entdeckt, erkundet und erobert. Seitdem ist meine Liebe für diese wundervolle Stadt umso stärker geworden! Jedes Mal, wenn ich in den Zug steige und mich auf dem Weg nach Berlin befinde, überkommt mich dieses pure Glücksgefühl der Wiedersehensfreude. Dieses leichte Kribbeln, welches mich überkommt, sobald ich den Fernsehturm erblicke (welches übrigens mein liebstes Wahrzeichen Berlins ist!). Ich kann es nicht beschreiben und es mag sich für den ein oder anderen merkwürdig anhören, für mich fühlt es sich jedoch richtig an. Als würde ich nach Hause kommen.

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Ich kann mich noch sehr gut an meinen allerersten Trip nach Berlin erinnern und ich muss zugeben, dass ich Berlin nach diesem Erlebnis gehasst habe! Wir schreiben das Jahr 1999. Es ist der 31. Dezember und mein Vater hatte die glorreiche Idee die Jahrtausenwende in Berlin zu verbringen. Was er sich dabei gedacht hatte, weiß ich bis heute nicht. Ich war damals 11 Jahre alt und mir überhaupt nicht im Klaren darüber, was da auf mich zukommen würde! Hätte ich es vorher geahnt, wäre ich zu Hause geblieben! Mandy home alone and totally fine with it! Alles wäre mir lieber gewesen, als hunderttausende von Menschen, die wie Suizidgefährdete ihre Raketen und andere Explosionsmittel durch die Massen schmeißen, als wäre der dritte Weltkrieg ausgebrochen! Es stimmte also, was die Maya gepriesen hatten, denn dies fühlte sich wahrhaftig wie ein Weltuntergang an! Ich war natürlich auch die Glückliche, die einen Böller ans Bein bekommen hatte und seitdem eine starke Verfechterin der Wunderkerze ist!!! Ich konnte froh sein, dass es nicht einer dieser sogenannten “Polenböller” war, der mir mit Sicherheit meine Beine zerfetzt, mir das Augenlicht und auch mein Gehör genommen hätte! Welch famoser Jahrtausendwechsel! Um dem Ganzen die Krone aufzusetzen, mussten wir nach dem ganzen Neujahrsspektakel die U-Bahn nehmen, um zum Hotel zurücktzugelangen. Was das bedeutete, brauche ich euch weder erklären, noch im Entferntesten versuchen zu schildern! Der Begriff “Menschenmassen” wurde mir in diesem Moment am lebendigen Leib erklärt! Als wir darauf warteten,  in die U-Bahn zu steigen, konnte ich hören, wie ein Polizist zu einem Passagier sagte, dass es Verzögerungen aufgrund eines Suizides gab. Ich fragte meine Mama, was Suizid bedeutete und sie erklärte mir, dass sich jemand das Leben nahm, in dem er vor den Zug sprang. Von dem Augenblick an sagte ich nichts mehr. Ich wurde traurig und versuchte zu verstehen, warum dieser Mensch das getan hatte und was wohl seine Mama und sein Papa sagen würden. Wie ich später herausfand, war dies nicht der einzige Suizid in dieser Nacht. Die Erinnerungen an diesen monströsen Abend sind mit den Jahren verblasst, jedoch sind sie noch immer in dem Sinne allgegenwärtig, dass ich sagen kann, dass ich nie wieder solch ein Spektakel aufsuchen und mich in die Höhle des Löwen begeben würde!

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Ich sollte mich schon ganz bald wieder in Berlin befinden. Dieses Mal länger als nur für 24 Stunden und unter stressfreieren Bedingungen wohlgemerkt! Es sollte der erste gemeinsame Urlaub für mich und meine Mama werden. Da mein Bruder schon zu alt und pubertär war, um mit seiner verehrten Frau Mutter und zuckersüßen kleinen Schwester Urlaub zu machen, hieß es “Girlpower!” und ab nach big B. Begeistert war ich nicht, um ehrlich zu sein. Wir besuchten die Tante meiner Mama, welche damals in einem riesigen Plattenbau wohnte, welcher sogar einen Fahrstuhl besaß. Ziemlich cool, wie ich fand! Bei gefühlten 20.000 Stockwerken ist dieser auch notwendig, was Umzüge und große Einkäufe betrifft. Die Wohnung der Tante meiner Mama war ziemlich groß. Sie lebte dort mit ihren zwei Söhnen, die beide jedoch schon längst ausgezogen waren. Überall hingen Fächer mit chinesichen Schriftzeichen oder andere asiatisch angehauchte Dekoration. Es lag sogar ein Hauch von exotischen Gewürzen in der Luft, die mich vermuten ließen, dass sie gerne damit kochte. Ich mochte die Einrichtung, da ich mich zu der damaligen Zeit sehr für die asiatische Kultur interessierte. Ich fühlte mich auf Anhieb wohl! Es war aufregend und ganz anders als zu Hause. Von unserem Zimmer aus, welches das Jugendzimmer ihres ältesten Sohnes war, konnte ich die Straße und sogar das ein oder andere Flugzeug sehen, welches dicht über die Häuser hinwegflog. Dieser Anblick war mir neu und natürlich aufregend! Das Großstadtfieber hatte mich gepackt und so langsam fing ich an Berlin eine zweite Chance zu geben. Ich nutzte jede freie Minute um am Schreibtisch, welcher genau am Fenster stand und mir einen inspirierenden Blick bot, zu zeichnen. Wenn ich mal nicht zeichnete, begaben wir uns auf Entdeckungstour und erkundeten Berlin wie jeder andere Tourist. Vom Alex, am roten Rathaus und dem Berliner Dom vorbei, führte uns die deutsche Champs-Élysée (wie ich sie gerne nenne) “Unter den Linden” zum Brandeburger Tor und dem deutschen Bundestag. Ich hatte Berlin in mein Herz geschlossen.

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Mit den Jahren verschlug es mich unzählige Male nach Berlin. Ganz freiwillig. Ich entdeckte es immer wieder aufs Neue für mich. Jedes Mal auf eine ganz neue interessante Art und Weise. Die Liebe zu Berlin wuchs mit den Jahren und wurde so stark und innig, bis ich wusste, dass es keinen anderen Ort in Deutschland geben würde, an dem ich leben möchte! Berlin hatte mich vollkommen verzaubert und in seinen Bann gezogen. Es fällt mir schwer zu beschreiben, warum gerade diese Stadt mich so sehr in ihren Bann zieht, denn wir sind uns so sehr vertraut und doch so fremd. Es ist diese Magie gewisser Orte, die uns einfach willkommen und zu Hause fühlen lassen. Bevor es mich im Mai 2012 in die USA verschlug, musste ich ein letztes Mal Berliner Luft atmen und “Auf Wiedersehen und bis ganz bald!” sagen! Ich liebe Berlins internationale, historische und künstlerische Seele, die mich inspiriert und aufleben lässt. Im Sturm möchte ich jeden kleinsten Winkel erkunden, bis ich sie alle in und auswendig kenne. Ich möchte alle süßen Cafés und geheimnisvollen Bars erobern. Möchte im Morgengrauen  nach durchzächter Nacht durch die Straßen tanzen. Ich möchte Läden erkunden, wie sie es nur in Berlin gibt. Ich möchte im Sommer in einem Liegestuhl an der Spree ein kühles Bier trinken. Ich möchte Menschen kennenlernen, die mich verzaubern. Ich möchte dich mein neues Zuhause nennen!

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Denn ich liebe dich, Berlin!

 

 

 

 

Going down south for Christmas 3.0

It was the the 24th of December, as we said goodbye to Savannah and Forrest Gump (you can read everything about it here), as we hit the road and were about spending Christmas Eve in Florida! That last glimmer of Christmas feeling, that was still hidden inside of me, vanished by the time, we reached Fernandina Beach, a city on Amelia Island, which is one of the southernmost of the Sea Islands. We still had some time until we could check in at our hotel, so we decided, to check out the beach, which was super close to our hotel. It was a little chilly that morning and actually the coldest day during our road trip. It has been a strange but nice feeling, sitting by the beach on December 24th. I was thinking of my family and that they might decorate their Christmas tree while I am sitting by the beach in Florida. So I texted my dad and sent him a picture of how my day of Christmas Eve looked like and he said, that he is very happy for me being able experiencing all of this. So here we were, watching some little birds running threw the water, listening to the sound of the ocean and enjoying this incredible weather. We’re such lucky bastards!

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After checking in, we were about discovering Fernandina Beach and surroundings (most of all, we were also looking for a liquor store to get something to drink for the night. I know, it sounds very desperate and you might think, we are alcoholics, but we are really not!). It was impossible to find a liquor store, which was incredibly incredible! But yeah, nothing! Zero (okay, this does sound desperate now…)! So we were just driving around, without knowing where to go, which turned out to be the greatest idea, because we ended up in this cute holiday center, which you could call “The Center Parks of Amelia Island”! Not that I have ever been to Center Parks, but if I am trying to think of a name for this adorable place, I am thinking about Center Parks right away. I am still not sure about what it really was, if we even were allowed to be there, or what the name of this place was, but I know, that it was just beautiful. There have been so many houses, which turned out to be shops, restaurants and a little animal farm. This tiny farm had a parrot, that was sitting on top of a branch in the middle of the room (it freaks me out a little, when I see birds not being in a cage, because I am always afraid, they’ll attack me), some snakes, a baby opossum and a cute little rabbit, which was trying to eat my backpack or maybe just wanted to sneak inside of it to come with us. This entire place spread so much inner peace, with all its trees and flowers, that I felt completely free from worry! It felt like being cut off from the outside world. We were looking for some booze and found a little piece of nature heaven (and a huge Christmas tree)!

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Still being stunned, we got back in the car on our way back, exploring Fernandina Beach a little more. As we were strolling through this charming but sleepy little town, we were looking for a nice reastaurant to have dinner at, as we spotted Santa Claus on the other side of the street taking a break in front of the store. It was hard finding a restaurant. Nothing seemed to be good enough. We wanted to have something special for our Christmas Eve dinner in Florida, so we didn’t feel like having Mexican or Italian food (please forgive me, that I just wrote this, motherland of incredible food! I love you!). At some point, we gave up and decided to look for something again later on at the hotel. Now it was time to just enjoy spending time in Fernandina beach. We saw people going to church and the sun slowly setting by the harbor. What I felt that evening was pure happiness and peace.

Back at the hotel, we were figuring out where to have dinner. My friend found a piece of paper with some names of restaurants on our desk and was reading the menus to me. “What would you like to eat?”, he asked me. I always gave him the same answer and I know it always annoyed the shit out of him. “I don’t know. I don’t care.”. He looked at me, with this look on his face, that clearly expressed: “Seriously?!”. I knew, that I’d be on the safe side, because he is French! I mean, c’mon, they have it in their genes, when it comes to great food. I know, this sounds like the biggest clishé, but it’s true! No matter, what places he chose to have some food, it always has been good. He once even told me, that most of the time, when I chose a place, it has been crap. So if you get to hear that, you wave the white flag and let the Frenchman do it! And he always did a good job. And I know, it can be annoying, if there is a vegetarian (that one is me)! So he did that night again. After being turned down at one place, he called the best restaurant, I have ever been to in my entire life. And back then, I didn’t even know then! “I’m gonna call that place called “David’s Restaurant & Lounge”. It sounds good.”, he said and got a table for us. We didn’t have high expectations and we have been proofed better as soon as we got there! I loved the atmosphere, although I usually don’t like abtract decoration, art and mostly anything, that has something to do with abstracts, but I really loved how this place looked like, espeacially the grey stone walls. And thank God, I had to go to the bathroom, because this place was just amazing. “Oh my Gooooood! This bathroom makes you wanna go pee like a million times, only so that you can go back there!!!”, is what I told my friend, being a little tipsy, from that great French (of course!) wine we got. It was delicious! The staff there was incredibly curtouse and I loved our waiter. “He’s so cute, I wanna hug him!”, is what I told my friend. Man, that French wine really got me! Our food was amazingly good, so that both of us almost got unconscious and this time I am not exaggerating! After finishing our dessert and paying the check, we were sad about leaving, because we knew, that this delicious experience has been the first and last time. A big thank you to “David’s Restaurant & Lounge” for this wonderful dinner! No matter when you guys are down there, do yourselves a favor and go eat at “David’s Restaurant & Lounge” (get a table here)!!! You’ll experience how heaven tastes like!

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This has been a perfect Christmas Eve! My friend got even more excited being able to finally open his presents now, while I was just laying on top of our bed. Happy, but drunk. This French wine just has been too good for a little German woman like me. So I fell asleep while Christmas was about to start. The very next morning it was time to leave Florida and hit the road back to Wahsington D.C.! “I’m gonna drive the entire way until home!”, is what I told my friend. “Don’t you think, it’s a little bit too much? Maybe we should stop in Raleigh, North Carolina?”, is what my friend suggested, but I didn’t want to spend another night in a hotel without a Christmas tree, while there was waiting a huge one for me with a fireplace right next to it back home. “Nah, I can do it! C’mon, I am German! I am tough”, is what I assured him laughing. He looked at me, with that kind of look on his face, that said: “Well, if you think so, okay.”. So we hit the road. 10 hours driving ahead of us. It was tough. Very tough. Especially the very last hour almost killed me. For the first time, I experienced, what it feels like driving and being super tired. I wasn’t driving fast. I was driving under the speed limit and thought I was having a race with all the other cars on the highway. My view changed from seing double to seing triple! It was like torture, but I knew, that I would get us home safe! And I made it. After reaching home, turning off the car and sitting on the couch, I suddenly felt, how tired I really was. Once you sit down, you start feeling it. “I never would have thought saying this, but…I am sick of driving.”, is what I told my friend. So it was time to turn on the Christmas lights, the fire place and a movie. And to fall asleep.

Merry Christmas!

Going down south for Christmas 2.0

As we said goodbye to Charleston (you can read everything about it here), we hit the road, to go to Savannah. I didn’t know much about the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia, but there was a very important detail, I knew of and cared about: the “park bench” scene, that opens the movie “Forrest Gump” (best movie ever!!!) was filmed on the north side of Chippewa Square and I had to go there! But before we did that the next day, we checked in at our hotel, which wasn’t that far from the center of the city and really cheap! The first thing, we thought, as soon, as we got there, was: There is like nobody here! I guess, this has been the reason, why the staff there has been so super nice, because they were happy about every single person, that came to their hotel. I have to admit, that I felt a little bit like Jack Nicholson in the movie “The Shining”, because there really was NOBODY!!! It’s creepy and cool at the same time, knowing, that we might have been the only ones at this hotel. But as we figured the very next morning, we weren’t. There have been maybe 5 others with us.

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Today was the day: I am gonna be at the same place, Tom Hanks was sitting 20 years ago! I was super excited! On our way into the city of Savannah, looking for a free parking spot, which is always a pain in the ass and almost impossible in the U.S., we actually ended up in a parking garage. As soon, as we started walking towards downtown, the rain was coming down in torrents. And we didn’t have an umbrella. Great! We were standing underneath a roof for a while, to see, if it would stop pouring at some point. It didn’t. So I took my purse, trying to protect myself from getting all soaked. At some point it stopped pouring and it was just drizzling, but reason enough buying an umbrella at the very next CVS, we could find! Lesson learned. After we had some lunch, it was time searching traces! For some reason, we got lost several times on our way to Chippewa Square, but we found it. I was confused. “Where is it?”, is what I was thinking out loud. I kept running in circles around the square, looking for the right spot. There was no bench anymore. They were using a fiberglass prop, which they put on a display at the Savannah Visitor Center afterwards. I was dying to go there and see it, but unfortunately, we didn’t have time for it. By the time, I looked up a picture on Google comparing the surrounding houses in the picture with the houses of my actual view, I started squeaking a little inside! “Here it is!!! I finally found the right spot! God, I am such an idiot!”, is what I was shouting with laughter to my friend, who was seeking shelter underneath a church, because it was raining. Again! I ran into the streets, not caring about any cars or buses, that could have run over me, taking pictures of this magical place and just being happy. “I don’t understand, how you can be this excited.”, my friend said to me, probably bored and thinking, that I am an idiot indeed, for taking so long, but being very patient! Being at the actual spot, where they filmed this famous scene, was more I could have dreamed of and never would have expected to see one day, so I am more than thankful for this moment!

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After this exciting experience, my friend wanted to go see Savannah’s City Hall. On our way there, we went through a lot of Savannah’s famous squares. There are 24 (some sources of information say 22, some say 24) and most of them are named in hornor or memory of a person, or historical event and most of them contain monuments, statues, water fountains and etc. It was really nice walking through all these little squares, that actually looked like tiny little parks and I never had the feeling, of them all looking the same. Each one of them had its own character and charm. The city hall of Savannah was decorated all Christmassy, with a Christmas tree and Christmas flowers, which I loved! We sat down for a while, resting and enjoying the Christmas spirit inside the city hall, before we continued our tour through the streets of Savannah. We went down some alleyway, that lead us to the port by the Savannah river, where we saw a huge container ship ( I know, these ships are huge, but I’ve never seen one this close before) leaving the port. The River Street right by the Port of Savannah, reminded me a little bit of the Warehouse District in Hamburg and this is where I spotted “River Street Sweets” (klick here, to get to their homepage), Savannah’s world famous pralines! Right next to the entrance, we were able to see, how they were making all kinds of candy, such as salt water taffy, toffee apples and chocolates. I loved how their shop, where you can buy all of these goodies and the cashiers were dressed as elves, was blending with the actual factory. I wanted to buy all of it, because everything just looked and smelled so delicious, that it was hard making a decision. In the end, I bought two pieces of chocolate, which were amzingly creamy and everything else but gross, because usually, I don’t like American chocolate (sorry guys, but your chocolate just sucks!). The taste of it, always reminds me of chocolate coating, which doesn’t taste good at all! But this time, it was different! Thanks to “River Street Sweets”!

 

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After discovering one of Savannah’s hot spots by coincidence (We are just so good at this!), we kept walking through the squares and streets, enjoying the lights and houses in Savannah’s historic distirict. Savannah also has a high number of churches. The oldest standing church is the First Baptiste Church, which was built in 1833 and is located on Chippewa Square (I guess, that was the one, where my friend was seeking shelter, when it was raining). Another historic one, we passed by and actually wanted to enter, but it just has closed its gates, is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. I loved the almighty look of the church in the dawn. For only having a few hours of exploring Savannah, we’ve seen a lot and only because, we did everything by foot again. It is a quiet and lovely city, which is definitely worth visiting, especially for Forrest Gump fans!!! It was a bummer, that it was raining almost the entire time, but it didn’t do any harm to our visit! It has been another city, we never would have payed attention to and maybe never would have visited, if I wouldn’t have found out, that parts of my all time favourite movie was filmed here. Even better in the end it was to get to know this southern pearl and oldest city of Georgia, as we already had to say goodbye, to set out for our next destination: Florida!

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Going Down South for Christmas

When I’m thinking of Christmas, I’m usually thinking of snow. A lot of snow! Unfortunately I didn’t have a white Christmas in years! Okay, there has been a little bit of snow here and there back in 2012, but that didn’t really count, because it melted shortly after it touched the ground. At some point, I gave up hoping and especially this year it’s just depressing, because it’s like 10°C outside (what the!?!)! But compared to my last years Christmas, it’s really cold in Germany, because I’ve spent it all the way down south in Florida!

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“We should go somewhere for Christmas, if we’re already off!”, is what my best friend and I thought, so we were figuring out, what we could do and especially where we could go. After thinking about all kinds of possibilities, this huge and amazing country had to offer and realizing, that we weren’t able affording any of these (living the good old life as an “Au Poor”!), we came up with the great idea, to just go on a road trip all the way down south. I’m not sure about whose idea it was, but I could imagine, that it wasn’t mine, because I’m the one with the snow and stuff. So we knew, what we wanted to do, but still weren’t sure about our destination. I told my host mom about our amazing plan and she said, that we should go to Charleston, South Carolina. “It’s beautiful and the food is amazing!”, is what she told me and to be honest, I wasn’t convinced. Charleston. This has been a destination, I never thought of going before. It has always been about New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and so on. Big cities, everyone knows and I really wanted to go to. I didn’t know anything about Charleston, so I haven’t been interested in this city at all (really cocky, I know!). So the next thing, I did was, looking at some pictures of Charleston and doing some research on Wikipedia. What I saw was really nice. “Well, why not.”, was what I thought. For some reason, and that is another thing, I don’t really remember, I found out about Savannah, Georgia. This has been the place, where they shot the famous bus scene in “Forrest Gump”, my favorite movie of all time. From one moment to the other, I got all excited and we had to go there! My best friend also wanted to go to Florida, which wasn’t far from Savannah. Our road trip down south was a done deal!

Unfortunately my memory got lost over the past year, so I’m not sure about what day we actually hit the road, but I think, it has been either December 20th or 21st. Well, it doesn’t matter what day it was, because the things, that matter where about to happen. So here we were in our little Honda Civic (thanks to my host mom, that she trusted me that much, that she gave me the car and we didn’t have to rent one!), all excited and ready for another adventure! I had a ridiculously huge suitcase, filled with a bunch of clothes, I didn’t need (such a stereotype of woman…), while my friend was packed with a lot of Christmas presents, he was so excited about, that he kept saying: “Oh my Gosh, I wanna open them!”. I kept telling him, to just open them, if he can’t wait and his answer always has been the same; “Nah, I’m gonna wait until Christmas!”. This was about to be a recurring conversation for the next 4 or 5 days. Eventually, he opened one, before I even started the car.

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During our drive, you would have been able watching a German woman struggling with temperature difficulties. Well, you can’t call it being difficult, if it’s getting warmer outside, because warmth is suppose to be a pleasure and anything else but a struggle, but to me it felt like a menopause! As soon, as we’ve reached warmer temperatures, I got crazy and turned up the AC. Shortly after that, it was too cold, so I turned it off again and became hot. I was fighting my own body: AC on, AC off. Window up, window down. I’ve never experienced something like this before. Maybe I was just extremly excited. Besides suffering from crazy weird temperatures, my best friend was playing the English teacher and taught me and also himself a lot of English words, phrases and grammar. What a sophisticated trip. After about 8,5 hours, we finally reached Charleston! We’ve booked a room at the Hampton Inn on Meeting Street, that reminded me of an old Russian barracks or at least a prison (no harm meant, folks!), so I was a little worried about having unwanted guests called Mr Cockroach or Mr Grasshopper. As soon, as we entered the hotel, which was decorated all Christmassy and we finally came to our room, all of my concerns turned out wrong and we had an amazing room with an even more amazing bed! Jackpot! I should stop having this absurd imagination. After we refreshed ourselves, we were about to paint the town red! Not far away from our hotel was a park with a lot of palm trees, that have been decorated with Christmas lights and were looking just beautiful at night! The southern type of Christmas tree. Hungry as bears, we spotted a cute little French restaurant called “39 Rue de Jean” (if you would like to get a table, click here), where we were sitting outside, enjoying some great wine and even greater food. After our delightful dinner, we headed back to our lovely prison hotel, to get some rest for a fully packed sightseeing tour the next day!

Only a few more days until Christmas, as we started our day in Charleston with summery temperatures and a blue sky. It didn’t feel Christmassy at all, which was confusing me a lot in the beginning. It felt like vacation, which it was, but if someone would have told me, that Christmas was about to fall through, I just would have shrugged my shoulders and said: “Alright.”. Our first stop has been the tourist information, to get a summary of things to do in good old Charleston. After my best friend got all kinds of maps and organized, I was being the one, who was just taking pictures again. “Don’t you wanna get a map as well?”, is what he asked me. I told him, that I wouldn’t need a map, if he already has one, since we’re together. Besides that, I hate carrying maps with me, when it’s a little windy and they’re getting all crumbled up and are annoying the shit out of me, until I throw them away and get lost afterwards. So I can get lost right from the beginning. But thanks to smartphones and google maps, there is no getting lost anymore. He looked at me smiling and said: “Well, maybe I am gonna continue our vacation without you.”. “I have the car.”, is what I told him and he just mumbled a “Damn!” and we both laughed. On our way downtown, we spotted a lot of backyards, residental gardens, which Charleston is also known for and which are beautiful! One prettier than the other. My favorite one was the Calhoun Mansion garden with its water fountain surrounded by a lot of plants and trees. And as I found out afterwards, part of the movie “The Notebook” has been shot inside the Calhoun Mansion.

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Charleston is known for it’s historic buildings, which are pouring on an unbelievably colonial charme, that made me wanna buy a lot of houses again (It’s really annoying being “poor” sometimes). What I liked about the houses the most, were these huge balconies, which were stretching from one side to the other. Some of these mansions even had two! Me and my friend, we kept gaping about this amazing arcitecture and have been a little bit jealous of these lucky bastards, that could call these houses their home! The luckiest of all, are the ones, that live right at the Battery of Downtown Charleston, the southernmost tip of the Charleston peninsula, where the Cooper River and Ashley River meet. A view, that makes you forget about all of your sorrows. We conquered the city of Charleston by foot, because it is the best way of exploring an unknown city. You are about to discover places, you never would have discovered, if you’d have taken the bus or the metro (besides there isn’t even a metro). It indeed is exhausting and at the end of the day, you have the biggest desire to just drop dead, but it’s worth the pain! Another thing, I enjoyed, was that little market, that we found by a happy coincidence and hasn’t been far from the water. The market took place in different little houses, that reminded me of old warehouses, which they probably were and they used to stock all kinds of things back in the days, when Charleston still has been one of the most important harbor towns in the United States of America, or to keep their horses and carriages there. I just love strolling along those kinds of markets. You can find the strangest and rarest things, artists and people from around are making themselves, to sell it. I could spend the entire day, looking at all these pieces of art, exploring things, I won’t ever see somewhere else again, because they are all so unique. Besides well-preserved arcitecture, Charleston has to offer a lot of distinguished restaurants and if we did something very well, it has been dining. My host mom told me, that we had to have crab sandwishes, crab cakes (looooooove these!) and every other kind of seafood. I love seafood, so I couldn’t wait, to try all of it and I really had a hard time making a decision, because it all sounded so good! It was also hard making a decision of where we wanted to eat. Good, that we had some coupons for a restaurant on King Street, the place to be, to shop until you drop and one of the main streets besides Meeting Street, so we got a table right outside the restaurant, where we could enjoy the weather, the food and watching people passing by. I love watching people, imagining, where they are coming from and how their lives might be. I know, it sounds creepy, but to me it’s fascinating.

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Charleston definitely casted a spell on me! I fell in love with this gorgeous place, I rejected with a shrug of my shoulders in the beginning. I am for sure not a fan of beaches, but I love waterfronts and harbors and I just adored Charleston’s waterfront, its beautiful park with that funny pineapple water fountain and these swings, we were sitting in and swinging at night, enjoying the sea breeze. I have to admit, that I didn’t feel the Christmas spirit at all, which seemed confusing to me in the beginning, but didn’t matter to me at some point anymore. This place has been special in it’s own way, so it has been a very new and special kind of Christmas spirit to me! From this moment, I’ve learned to pay more attention to all the unknown places, besides the mainstream! It’s not all about these big places, we see on a map right away and everyone knows about, because sometimes, we don’t even know, what kind of small and irrelevant places are out there, which become relevant only because of us. I’m more than thankful, that my host mom suggested me to go there. We would have missed out on a lot of beautiful places and memories! So I said goodbye to lovely Charleston after two days, because it was about time to leave and go to…

Savannah, Georgia! Forrest Gump, here I come!