Charming Charleston, SC

Honeymoon?

Honeymoon?

I had no idea that Charleston was a honeymoon destination but when I saw this couple at Charleston Market, I thought, “Awwww, how sweet they look”. The local style was reminiscent of Reese Witherspoon’s preppy clothing line and very different from Texas. I felt a bit under-dressed… The Charleston Market was wonderful with endless vendors selling everything from local artwork and food, featuring the famous Sweetgrass baskets. I admired them and the work put into them but was on a budget.

Horse and Carriage in the French Quarter

Horse and Carriage in the French Quarter

Seeing the horses and carriages helped me envision what Charleston might have been like in times past. The traffic was relatively light in the historic area and it seemed as though the carriages were given priority. It is fun to hear the clip-clop on cobblestones.

Shabby Chic

Shabby Chic

This building intrigued me. At first I thought it was derelict and when I looked closely realized that it had been renovated in this way. It was admirable but I am not sure if I liked it. Shabby chic is a fashion that has passed me by. I am perfectly fine with architecture or furniture that is naturally old but not made to look that way. At the very least, the building made me think about it so perhaps it achieved it’s aim.

Theater

Theater

By contrast, I loved this renovated brick building. I guess you can’t please everyone! Below is yet another church the Circular Congregational Church which dates back to the 1600s. I loved the simplicity of it – it welcomed Scots Presbyterians and French Huguenots amongst others. Below is a sad little French grave of an infant son.

Circular Congregational Church

Circular Congregational Church

Bebe Peronneau

San Juan, Puerto Rico

COASTAL VISTA
This is the wonderful vista overlooking San Felipe Del Morro Fort in the Old San Juan, Puerto Rico with the Atlantic Ocean in the background. Finally, we got the opportunity to go on a real vacation to somewhere warm and interesting. Puerto Rico is an American Territory, perhaps, one day, the 51st state, in a strategic part of the Caribbean. It is part of the Antilles in the south west of the Caribbean Sea. The original natives are the Taino and it was settled by the Spanish in the 1500s; an important part of the Spice Trade Route back to Europe. Slaves were brought there to tend the sugar cane plantations and most of them were from Congo. Today’s Puerto Ricans’ are an intriguing blend of European, Native and African and these traditions are reflected in the cuisine, dancing and heritage. Only 20% of islanders speak English and the rest speak a Spanish dialect which has Taino and African words in the patois. One of the locals told me that it would already have been a State if they had any money, or oil in the local water, and perhaps that’s a good thing. There is a familiarity and yet a unique foreign feel to the island. It is a volcanic island so there is little diversity in the fauna and what animals and plants are there were brought by air, sea or human. One little creature makes a very distinctive noise, all over the island – Coquí. It is a little frog, with an onomatopoetic name for the mating call – kockee, kockee. Once you have your ear in, that is all you can hear and there are 17 separate species in Puerto Rico. There are number of distinct ecosystems on the island and we went from hot, windy San Juan to cool, tropical rainforest in just a couple of hours. There is also a dry forest and bioluminescent lake. Old San Juan is full of original buildings with amazing hilly cobble-stone streets. A British trade ship left it’s ballast of iron ore centuries ago and they were carved into wonderful blue, iridescent cobbles that shimmer in daylight and look like moonstones at dusk. Puerto Rico was so amazing that I have divided it into two posts and the next one will be about El Yunque, the rainforest. Click on the red link to see more fabulous photos of architecture and the people of San Juan. POSTCARD FROM SAN JUAN – click here