North and South Carolina
After driving most of the 469 miles of Blue Ridge Parkway we arrived in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville turned out to be what we imagined Portland Oregon would be; an extremely down to earth and relaxing town where art galleries and craft beer breweries thrive and everyone seems to be employed at either one of them. Of course we looked like complete idiots in our tourist outfits amongst the mainly alternative, or dare I say hipster, crowd; but apart from some pointing and staring they allowed us in their domain. On one of those occasions where we were mingling we had an awkward realisation; while trying to pay my mocha infused local craft beer to the server with disturbingly long beard, we noticed that my credit card unfortunately had separated from me somewhere along the way. Long story short, I left it at a previous restaurant where I was to preoccupied with hammering through some blue crabs to think about taking my card with me. Luckily as so many people on our trip so far, the restaurant was extremely helpful and willing to ship the credit card to our AirBnB address in Charleston later that week.
How interesting and nice a town Asheville might be, the real reason we stayed there was to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that starts close to it. What was very interesting to us is that the Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited park in the United States, especially since in Europa it is not a park people typically talk about. For instance, far more popular parks for Europeans like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon together have less visitors a year than the Great Smoky Mountains. After spending some time in the park we can certainly understand its appeal; it is very scenic, diverse, massive in size and of course completely free to enter!
Next up we had a drive ahead of us from Asheville, NC to Charleston, SC and while most of the towns and cities in between the two can be skipped without missing too much, anyone who ever makes the drive needs to stop in Bowman, SC. Bowman in itself is a very uneventful town with just over a thousand people living there. One of which is Jody Pendarvis. Jody is a self-proclaimed “Ambassador to Aliens” and takes that job so serious that he created an “UFO Welcome Center”. The idea being that once aliens decide to visit us, they can use the flying saucer he created for them as a place to rest and recharge. Inter-galactic travel apparently can be quite tiring.
Charleston is our favourite city/town on the trip so far. It might even be one of our favourite cities in the US in general. Great restaurants with a wide variety of quality foods, quaint cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture and just a general good city to walk around in. Combine that with the near perfect weather we had and our first AirBnB experience that was far better than expected and you have the first place we truly are sad to leave behind us.