Day 15: Charlottesville

After Sarah and Bob woke up yesterday morning, we went to get breakfast at Bodo’s Bagels, a famous shop recommended by Tammy before I left for the trip. Their bagels are soft and they make for perfect sandwich breads. I had a ham and cheese bagel, along with a cup of orange juice.

At Bodo's Bagels

After Sarah and I dropped off Bob at the house, we went to the historic downtown in Charlottesville. We walked the whole pedestrian street up and down. I left a message on the Freedom Wall and went inside a comic bookstore. The librarians were handing out poems to people on the street. I got one written by Ella Higginson called “The Passing of the Hours.” Sarah received a poem, too.

Historic downtown in Charlottesville

Left my mark on the Freedom Wall

"Passing of the Hours" by Ella Higginson

We took a detour to Lee Park and I saw the Robert E. Lee statue. With the white supremacy rally that killed one person last year, Charlottesville’s citizens are still healing from the incident.

Robert E. Lee statue

Back on the pedestrian street, we were trying to find a tea place called Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. After walking past it a few times we finally found it. And it didn’t disappoint! The whole atmosphere was very interesting, with a large tree made of paper mache guarding the door, mats to sit on, and a back patio. We ordered two types of tea that were recommended by the cashier, one was Japanese, the other was Oolong. As Sarah and I sat on the patio, by the Himalayan flags, we talked about our lives, the future, and the human state. It was a deep conversation, not something I would casually talk about with anyone.

Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar

For lunch, we went to the Marco and Luca Dumpling place down the street. The owner, Dragana, and I posed for a picture. I really enjoyed their simple and delicious noodle dishes and dumplings. They reminded me of my home in China when my grandma and grandpa used to make these dishes. I also bought some more dumplings and pork buns for Bob to have him try some. Sarah had to get to work by 4 PM, so after lunch we went home.

Dragana (owner of Marco and Luca Dumpling) and I

I spent the rest of the day at Bob’s place. I cut three holes on each side of my panniers so water can drain out when it rains again. Also, I lubed the chain and the rear derailleur to fix the squeaking noise. I talked with Bob for a long time. He showed me some of Sarah’s artwork on the computer and her work from Europe. They are amazing! What a talented artist Sarah is! Bob also gave me the same advice as Dave, my Warmshowers host from Doswell, which is to do what you love.

I had some leftover casserole and ate part of my bicycle cake that Sarah made for me. I went to bed around 10:15 PM. I felt I learned more about Sarah and Bob in the past 24 hours and our friendships have gotten closer.

Today, Bob will drive me up the Blue Ridge Parkway in the morning after we have our breakfast, then I’ll ride to Vesuvius, where I hope I can stay with a Warmshowers host. If I can’t stay with a host then I’ll set up camp some where. I also want to see the natural bridge that Bob and Sarah were telling me about. It looks like the weather will be nice for the next ten days, so I hope to make good distance.