Monday, December 3, 2012


Last Tuesday I arrived in Savannah, Georgia. You never hear about this place, but I was curious to check it out. One of the road trip books I reviewed was recommending it as the most beautiful city in the US. The editor was quoting a European source, and once I drove in, I understood immediately why. Savannah is old, but not artificially so as other tourist destinations. The neighborhoods are authentically in disarray since the 18th century. But the level of chaos is just enough to make the view romantic. People have real lives in those two store Victorian homes with balconies covered by vines. 

The hotel I picked looked like an abandoned house. I got closer, looking for the “no trespassing” sign and opened a thin wood door leaf. On the other side, there was an office in the place of the original living room. A shy guy with shifting personality told me to come back at business hours (twenty minutes later). I wanted to see that house from inside, so I came back, and he showed me upstairs. Inside it looks like another house, perfectly well maintained and with this characteristic smell of old wood that transports you in time. All the secretive doors and cabinets were there. There was a cover fireplace, big closets embedded into the walls and a door to a creepy dark attic. I loved it. I was the only one asking for a room that night, so the whole place was mine.

The rooms are separated by glass windows, and just darkness can be seen on the other side. The rooms are secured with big metallic keys, so heavy that they can be used as weapons. You need to close two windows before going to the restroom, one of them facing an old white bathtub. To complement all this, a dark fluffy cat was walking through the cornices and glazing inside now and then.

I stood there two nights, but unfortunately, I didn’t see any old lady holding a candle or something like that. All the creepiness belonged to this world.

The downtown itself is full of small impractical parks, some of them with the remains of political figures underground. It was very usual to fertilize public parks with the flesh of local celebrities. Again, the disarray is just enough to make the place attractive. The trees where people were hanged are still there to tell the story, but those killed by law were left to rot for several days and then tossed away. That was the fate of an Irish immigrant woman. Her sentence was postponed eight months to allow her to deliver a baby. She was with child when she assassinated her master by drowning.

I also visited the Bonaventure cemetery, and it’s lovely. Crypts dated at the mid 18th century completely abandoned, eroded and gray, with terrifying virgins rolling their eyes to the heavens, covered by a thick layer of smog; a paradise for photographers.

But Savannah is more than an American Transylvania. The River Side offers a mile of bars, restaurants and candy shops in front of a rocky street that nevertheless is open to regular traffic, but you have to be careful in this speed reducer road. The brick buildings follow the standard of old looking alleys and intentionally unattended painting.

I loved the place. I'll definitely come back, maybe after passing away. Ghosts must have fun in here pulling people's blankets at night.

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