The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA, is not your average museum. It houses over a hundred human skulls, deformed and gangrened limbs preserved in jars, conjoined fetuses, and archaic medical tools and medicines. Most interestingly, they have slices of Albert Einstein’s brain on glass slides. I was shocked to read that it was removed from his body during autopsy without permission from his family, held for decades in inappropriate places like under a beer cooler and on the floor of a closet.
In Washington, DC, I started at the Smithsonian, only managing to visit one of the nineteen free museums that span several blocks. I did the rounds of visiting the exterior of The Pentagon, much larger than I imagined. The Abe Lincoln Memorial, much smaller than it’s portrayed in movies. The Washington Monument, most impressive at sunset. The White House from a distance, heavily guarded and gated, I swear I caught a glimpse of President Frank Underwood :p. The World War II Memorial had a quote that stuck with me. It references the day the war ended. The quote closes with ‘The entire world is quietly at peace’. A bit bold to etch in stone, I wonder if this was ever true, even for that one day. How can there be peace in so much death and destruction.
I could have done without driving through Ocean City, MD, your average touristy, souvenir laden, and tacky bars-to-get-shit-faced-at beach town. I drove straight through and headed to Assateague National Park, a strip of land barely visible on the map, lined with a long beach, the north end belongs to Maryland and the south to Virginia. I’m not a collector of things, but I found a shell so pretty it would be a sin not to make it into a necklace. This park is pristine. The hikes embarrassingly short, but really pretty. Brand new boardwalks strewn over marshland. Ninety plus wild horses scattered throughout the park. Wild in the sense that they will bite and attack if approached, so you’re asked to stay at least a bus length away.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge is a twenty mile long engineered masterpiece. It takes half an hour to cross the leviathan. I timed the drive just right at sunset, chasing the sun as it screamed fuchsia and dipped below the horizon. It left a soft pink in the clouds that stayed with me to the end of the drive.
The bridge drops you in Norfolk, VA, and fifteen minutes east takes you to Mt Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach where I stopped for a rollerblade. Not just a clever name, this park used to be a city dump. They successfully converted the plot of land back to its former ecosystem. It was lovely to see ducks and their ducklings thriving in what used to be a garbage dump.
Highway 12 in North Carolina, from Kitty Hawk to Cedar Island is another fine line of land on the map. A scenic drive encased by sand dunes with plenty of opportunities to stop and scale the mounds to check out the endless beach on either side. The road is broken up between islands by a couple of ferry rides. Definitely a neat experience if you’re looking for the scenic route to get south.
I stopped for a walk at Myrtle Beach, SC. I was enticed to walk further towards a line of colourful art deco high rises and a giant ferris wheel. I ended up on Ocean Drive. This white girl now knows what it feels like to be the minority. The majority being black and on a motorcycle or in a pimped out ride. Man, what a scene. I didn’t make it down to the ferris wheel, but Ocean Drive was entertaining enough.
That evening set me down in Charleston, SC. Great scene on a Friday night. A plethora of art vendors, live music, bars and restaurants. I enjoyed a glass of wine at some bar while I listened to an acoustic set by some singer.
You can pretty much walk the entirety of old town Savannah, GA in a few hours. Pretty houses, antique shops and a lot of intricately patterned rot iron. Incredibly, this small area has a total of twenty-two square parks each with its own monument or fountain.
These posts keep getting longer and longer, I can’t help myself, I want to remember it all.