Soul of the South-1

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We found it.† We found the Soul of the South, the Deep South.† Itís not like we were searching for it.† We werenít.† We had just decided to visit a part of the USA we hadnít seen before, and there it was waiting for us.

We went from the Deep Freeze to 80 degrees in the Deep South in the twinkling of twin engines.

But letís start at the beginning, on our TransAir Flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta, Georgia.† At first the sky was very dark and so when the sun began to rise, the bright orange horizon caught our attention.

Itís easy to take pictures when youíre sitting in a window seat, which I was.

Maybe you can tell that the diagonal silver line in the photo is the edge of the airplane wing.

Two hours and 30 minutes after takeoff, we were driving in our rented red VW Jetta through Georgia on our way to the coastal city of Savannah.† We soon learned where telephone pole trees come from.

The tall skinny trees lined both sides of the highway for the next four hours.

Then we arrived in Savannah.† Iím always intrigued by bridges that reach to the sky.† This is the Talmadge Bridge that greeted us after the cross-country drive.

This seemed to be the industrial side of the Savannah River.† Do you see the nose/front end of that big, colorful, ocean going container ship?† We were to see many such ships over the next couple of days.

The Talmadge Memorial Bridge, named after a governor of Georgia, is two miles long and only completed in November 1991.

Allan had made online reservations for two nights in the Inn at Ellis Square.† It was easy to find near the River Front.† We had a large wonderful suite, which spoiled us for the rest of the trip.

I set up my laptop at the desk in the sitting room and turned on the big screen TV on the wall across from the loveseat.

This area between the sitting room and the bedroom, across from the bathroom, was very convenient.† It was nice to have that extra sink and a separate counter location for the coffee pot.

We had a second big screen TV in the bedroom and a king size bed in a room that could be private and shut off from the rest of the suite if one of us got up early.† Allan did both mornings.† I didnít.

This street on the Savannah River became our favorite spot.

It was 80 degrees three days in a row and we spent as much time as possible sitting in the sun, watching the ships come in from the ocean, listening to music, and people watching.

Also on the River, but down the way, was this building which definitely showed signs of its age, probably over 200 years old.† Restaurants lined the ground level, one after the other.

The Talmadge Bridge was part of the skyline from the River Front.

And so were we.

And so were the seagulls.

I had the good fortune to meet a Southerner by the name of Oji Lukata.† His coiled sweetgrass baskets and roses made from palm branches attracted me.† I purchased some of the roses, and then he set a hat on my head and showed me a laminated page from a newspaper.

I easily understood why the headline billed Oji Lukata as an Artist and Ambassador for Savannah.

The most direct route back up to the street level, where our hotel was located, was via this flight of stairs.

Horse and carriages were part of the ambience of the city.

We spied a familiar restaurant very near our hotel Ö

Ö† and so we had a delicious dinner at Ruthís Chris Steak House.

The Live Oaks were entirely different than the telephone pole pines that had lined the highway.

Most all of the Live Oaks were dripping with Spanish Moss which, we learned, is neither Spanish nor moss but is a living growing plant that gets its nutrients from the air, not from the tree.

We went on a trolley tour of the city and were told some details about many of the ornate homes and buildings in a residential part of the city.

I couldnít stop taking pictures of these magnificent trees.† This is one of the 24 squares in the City of Savannah.† Theyíre like roundabouts only much larger and most of them are like parks.

The trolleyís back window gave an interesting perspective.† Minnesota trees donít hang over the streets.

In this case, the towering spread of branches was more awesome than the size of the trunk.

Every now and then we happened upon cherry blossoms, or at least thatís what we think they were.††† Remember, itís only the second week in March but, of course, itís the South.† See the people in shorts?

The trolley continued as did my camera.

The city proper only has a population of 200,000 people.

I snapped a picture of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist as we went by, and we went to see it up close and inside the next day.

It really was a beautiful day.† See all the step houses in the background.† I believe the tour guide said that the help used to live and work on the street level.

Many of the old homes in Savannah are being renovated.† They havenít started on this one yet.

It seems that Robert Louis Stevensonís connection to Savannah is through his book, Treasure Island.† Tunnels from the ocean river were dug to houses in Savannah and used by pirates to get into the city for supplies, and then theyíd leave again to steal other peopleís treasure on the sea Ö like in Treasure Island.