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Posts Tagged ‘Asheville’

Never fear, readers! (I’m sure you’re all quaking in your boots. Yep.) We haven’t run the travel well dry yet; I still have many Paris and Italy posts to write up. However, as I’ve been rather verbose of late, I’ve decided to give you all a break from my [typed] voice and scavenge through my photos instead. So here you are: a “glimpses of” post that functions somewhat as a bonus post, as it relates to cities and places I’ve already covered on the blog.

Have at it!

T-Shirt in a Box

Asheville, North Carolina

Gee whiz, a t-shirt in a box! In a box. Asheville, your ingenuity astounds me. One question, though… doesn’t this product become indistinguishable from all other non-cardboard-packaged shirts once it’s, you know, out of the box?

To get my money’s worth, I’d be inclined to slip the story of the shirt into every conversation I had.

Ergo: “My name is Hannah and I’m having more toe surgery on Saturday, but that’s okay, because this t-shirt came IN A BOX”, or “What’s that you say, check-out-chick? $7.43 for these strangely addictive bags of popped popcorn and my kilo of green beans? I’m sorry, I thought you were commenting on the fact that I bought my t-shirt IN A BOX”.

Cheddar's, Kingsport

Cheddar's Restaurant In Kingsport, Tennessee (I think that's where we were, anyway)

Just so’s you know, Cheddar’s was where I was initiated into the LLC. This photo amuses me because I took two others like it, and it wasn’t until I loaded them on my computer that I discovered the fellow in the left-hand corner was staring at me in every one. Once with his eyebrows raised speculatively, too. I giggle because either a) he thought I was a crazy lady, or b) he thought I was taking photos of him and wanted his babies.

Ian's Mac and No Cheese

Suprisingly delicious...

Another one for the giggles. When I was staying at the lovely Lauren’s house, she carefully wrote my name on my Whole Foods-purchased microwavable snack so that her sibling wouldn’t eat it accidentally. Somehow, it didn’t seem likely to me that her college-football-star brother would be interested in a gluten-free and vegan mac ‘n’ cheese replica… but I appreciated the thought. Thanks Lauren!

Dear heavens, wasn’t this meant to be a less verbose post? Okay, back to captions, not paragraphs.

Maine Coon

Not only the fluffiest but the friendliest cat I’ve ever met. Correct me if I’m wrong, Lauren, but I believe he’s a Maine Coon?

Oxford Street Scene

I dropped my iPod while walking down this (or a similar) street in Oxford. At first I was cranky, but then I realised that every time I see the scratches I’ll remember being in Oxford with Y.CaptainPlanet, and that is A Good Thing.

Lion Statue in Munich

Don’t cry, Aslan! Munich may be far away from Narnia, but at least it offers the weary traveller multiple varieties of rye bread rather than soul-destroying Turkish Delight that tastes like soap and evil. P.S. Tangent: Tilda Swinton is fabulous.

Twilight Barbies

Et tu, Berlin?

*Cue Twilight Zone music*. Very odd – I’d never heard of Edward Monkton before arriving in Berlin, and yet I walked into a store there and found he’d drawn dozens of portraits of me. Spitting image, wouldn’t you say? I must have appeared to him in a dream.

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My last few weeks have been less a whirlwind than a quiet ebb-and-flow, comprised of lazy days and a transitioning from solo travelling to visiting friends. First was my week in Charleston, where I did little more than imagine myself living in every beautiful old house I walked by, flirt with a glorious-caffeinated-sweetness Starbucks Frappuccino habit, visit historical sites, make daily trips to Harris Teeter, and watch incredibly bad television (The Secret Life of the American Teenager is quite possibly the most nauseating show I’ve ever seen, and never failed to make me want to scrub myself with Lysol. No link for it).

Days Inn Historic District, Charleston

Lovely hotel room at the Days Inn Historic Disctrict, Charleston

Special thanks to Charleston’s Days Inn Historic District hotel, which let me check in at 6am in the morning after my twelve-hour Amtrak from Washington. Charleston’s Old Slave Mart Museum is definitely worth a visit; it is a museum situated in what used to be a slave auction gallery in the 19th century and, while small, is packed with information. It certainly isn’t happy information, but it does lead one to wonder how people can fail to comprehend that their fellow humans are just as, well, human as themselves. I can’t help feeling this is still a pressing issue today, in regards to all manner of prejudices. (And not the ultimately-good Jane Austen kind, either.)

The Old Slave Mart Museum can also be a site of unintentional amusement if, in visiting before lunch when you’re a tad little bit hungry, you read a poster that says “Slave Labor and Systems” as “Slave Lobsters” and start imagining being given a manicure by singing crustaceans. Don’t ask me why singing. Probably because I’d just been listening to Sweeney Todd on my iPod.

Carriage ride, Charleston, South Carolina

All the pretty horses.

Then came Asheville, to which L.Methysta kindly drove so that we could spend a few days together. I do believe that lovely lass deserves some sort of crown for being the most talkative young lady in the world. Mighty entertaining, and I doff my figurative cap to her chatterbox skills. 😀

Rooibos tea at The Green Sage, Asheville

I do so enjoy mugs of Rooibos tea that are bigger than my head.

Over rooibos tea and sandwiches at The Green Sage, where L.Methysta caught the eye of a young man lunching with his mother (a good catch, no?), over celebratory cocktails and beer after our entrance into the world of celebrity, and over Fruit2Day juices in our hotel room, I built memories bereft of Biltmore (alliteration is absolutely awesome) that have ensured Asheville exists as a site of happy in my memories.

Cocktail at Chili's

L.Methysta and her super-strong cocktail, which was unfortunately made with the "wrong kind" of rum. Don't ask me what that kind was, though. My knowledge ends with chocolate.

Next up: the excitement of Jonesville, Lee County – home of the infamous Mr. Bottom.

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My world briefly shuddered on its axis today. For a few hours, I seriously considered trading in my chocolate habit. I thought that perhaps one does not really need super dark or intriguingly flavoured chocolate to create daily sparkles of happiness, but simply regular hour-long massages at spa salons.

And cucumber water. Oh, the cucumber water.

Luckily for you (and, realistically, my bank account), I came to my senses once Asheville’s freezing air had cleared my mind of “Alive” essential oils. Thus, I present to you:

Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

Didn't anyone ever tell Chocolove's design team that Less Is More?

Chocolove‘s chocolates tend to slot into the part of my mental comestibles catalogue entitled “pleasant, but not necessarily worth hunting for”. I do enjoy the Chillies and Cherries in Dark Chocolate and think the Extra Strong Dark 77% is lovely and smooth, but for some reason I’ve started passing over Chocolove when I’m wandering around a store’s chocolate aisle.

All this changed, though, when I chanced upon Chocolove’s new Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate bar, which is in fact so new that it is not yet listed on the website. Despite being only 55%, and therefore a far sweeter chocolate base than I’d usually pick, I adore this chocolate.

Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

Lookee all the almonds! Roasty salty scrumptiousness!

The chocolate is sweet, yes, but it is also rich, silky, and slightly woodsy. The almonds are whole and incredibly crispy from being roasted, and in each of the two bars I ate (take note – I rarely buy the same chocolate twice when travelling), never once did I come across a stale or bad nut. Ooh, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory flashback.

The salt seems predominantly attached to the almonds, yet as the almonds are so plentiful it is rare to get a bite without a salt crystal lending its special contrasting magic to the experience. The salt contributes to the bar’s aroma of chocolatey butter-caramel popcorn (yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), and does its enhancing trick of making the chocolate seem richer, chocolatier and deeper, and the almonds nuttier and butterier. You know how most dessert recipes recommend adding a pinch of salt? That’s because salt is magical in sweets. Kind of like how The Ballad of Czolgosz is magical when it comes in at the end of the Gun Song in Assassins, or how Jack’s mother line “the slotted spoon can catch the potato” is magical as the first line in the Finale of Into the Woods. (Sondheim mood, anyone?)

Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

Did I mention these come with excerpts from love poems in the wrapper? I'm still waiting to find one by Pablo Neruda in there.

Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand, Chocolove’s Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate bar filled me with the aforementioned sparkly happiness, and caused my tasting notes to be filled with words such as “fantastical” and “salty buttery heaven yum”.

Which, despite my brief infatuation, is more than I can say for iced cucumber water.

(In all honesty, though, I can highly recommend Spa Theology on College Street in Asheville. A chocolate when you change into your robe, heated toilet seats [flashback to Japan!], raspberry iced tea and roasted nuts when you sit in the lounge afterwards with a heatpack around your neck – lovely. And if you get a massage, ask for Ben.)

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