Eventually the time came that I could make my way back to the NotSo Hostel and check in. Pretty simple. It’s a beautiful old house with a big porch out front. It appears to have once been a duplex which was modified to become a single, stand-alone unit. Facing the building from the outside the door on the left, which is typically locked, gives access to a dorm room, while the door on the right opens into the office. Beyond each of these rooms is a kitchen with a small set of stairs leading up to a platform between them. From the platform, at a ninety-degree angle is another set of stairs leading to rooms upstairs. Bathrooms are off each kitchen, as well as backdoors which are the entrances for guests.
I ended up staying in Charleston for five or six days, the whole time at the hostel. Lovely people were met, a friendship made, and good times had. One of the things that I love about staying at a hostel versus staying in a hotel, or couchsurfing is the feeling of community that is fostered by sharing a space with so many people, and the regular in and out of faces; one never knows who he might meet. There’s sort of a constant ferment going on. A lot of energy, usually very positive. I was lucky that my few days there coincided with Nico’s time there. He had come to town to volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, and was working at the hostel for housing and breakfast. His was a generous, sympathetic soul, and we got along with each other superbly, and ended up spending a fair bit of time together when I wasn’t off wandering around the city, and he wasn’t busying himself with the campaign or hostel-related work. I shouldn’t forget to mention Fallon, either: an employee of the hostel who I definitely saw the most of, and whose company I enjoyed immensely.
Most of my time in Charleston was spent wandering the city with my camera, wondering when I was going to leave, eating delicious food, passing judgement on cafes and coffees, failing to get caught up on my blog, worrying about the money I was spending, and, as mentioned previously, hanging out at the hostel/with Nico.
I found Charleston to be a pretty city, and particularly magnificent closer to the battery, which overlooks the mouths of the two rivers that bound the peninsula which Charleston is situated on and empty into the Atlantic. Here one sensed the slightest scent of salt on the air, and seagulls drifted on the continuous breeze looking for handouts. As I walked through the park that is part of the battery, tall trees spaced appropriately forming a thin canopy over head, a wedding party was having photos taken, and a small, string musical ensemble was playing within the confines of a gazebo. Families were all over walking and sight-seeing. The atmosphere was that of an energetic calm. A peaceful complacency.
I wouldn’t say that I loved the city, though. I did love the food, however. I recommend Leon’s, Butcher & Bee, Minero, and Hominy Grill. For baked goods I recommend WildFlour Pastry. For coffee I recommend The Daily, Blacktap, and Kudu. And I loved donuts from Glazed Gourmet Donuts, and ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Obviously this list is criminally short but, as I was on a rather tight budget that I exceeded tremendously, and I’m not keeping this blog merely for recommendations of food and drink, I offer no apologies. In fact, one could visit Charleston for a week or more, eat from no more than theses places, and never grow bored of the variety of provender available.