27 October 2014

Across the U.S., Day 21 - Columbia (SC) to Charleston (SC)

Like in Asheville a few days ago, it was a good idea also in Columbia to head for the Visitor Center, park the car for free and pick up some information and maps. They offer the Historic Capital City Walk, a self-guided walking tour with either 10 or 5 km of length, which allows the visitor to dive into ~ 230 years of history. Columbia is one of the few planned cities in the U.S. When the state legislature was seeking for a central location for its capital in 1786, they decided to create Columbia (named after Christopher Columbus) and designed the city as a grid. In Feb 1865, near the end of the Civil War, most of the city was destroyed by fire when General Sherman and his Union troops occupied the city.

There were multiple school classes exploring the grounds around the South Carolina State House this morning.

School kids' history lesson in front
of the South Carolina State House

Class is getting ready for a group picture

When walking by the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, consecrated in 1847, I decided to take a brief tour inside. This church was beautifully renovated in 2010 and one of the stained-glass windows is from Germany (Munich). The tour turned into a longer visit, including an interesting conversation with one of the guides, about American history, my trip and traveling in general and the health benefits of red wine. We certainly could have continued our chat for ever, but after 2 hours I decided to move on. Thank you, Joe and Lee, for your time.

It surprised me how quiet Columbia was today, which seemed fairly unusual for a Monday. I noticed many attorneys' offices and a noticeably high number of churches. Well, if one can't help you any longer, the other is your last resort?

On my walking tour, I also came by the Wilson house. It was the boyhood home of Woodrow Wilson, who became the 28th president of the United States (1913-21).

"Humbled' housing on Richland Street

Some art project in the garden of Robert Mills' house: (Robert Mill was the first Federal Architect and designer of the Washington Monument.)

Before getting on the road for Charleston, I stopped by the South Carolina State Farmers' Market, south-west of Columbia. This is not simply a small market square with a few booths. It's a full campus with multiple huge sheds and is open year round. A web side provided by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture gives good guidance on where to buy local produce etc. in the region.

Ernest sells his products from Lexington, ~ 25 km West of Columbia. He has mainly vegetables and fruits, but also homemade jam, cane sugar syrup, pickles and boiled peanuts. He prepares the peanuts himself by boiling fully matured but not yet fully dried peanuts in salty water. It gave him a good chuckle when he heard that I had never tasted boiled peanuts before. I bought some and also a few tomatoes and cucumbers. We also talked about my trip and when he learned that I am traveling by myself, I had to promise him not to pick up anyone from the road nor to sleep at the roadside. Agreed. Done deal, man!

And less than 2 hours later: Here I am, at the Atlantic coast near Charleston! Yeah, I made it - from one coast to the other!!!!

My little travel companion

Some peaceful scene at the Atlantic ocean

More to come!


  1. Congrats to traversing the US! Admit it, donkey did the driving all the way, and also dug that hole.
    Ernest has a point. Better listen ;-)

  2. There you go, Andrea. Apparently you (and your donkey) get along with the southern dialect very well by now.

    1. Donkey's 'Hee-haw' gets understood fairly well. Apparently, he adapts faster than me.

    2. Haha, maybe 'donkeyish' is similiar to the southern dialect ;-)