Posted by: adventuressetravels | July 12, 2010

Mustang Sally

I have a special place in my heart for cemeteries, graveyards, crypts, catacombs, and all places cultures build to honor their dead. These places always seem to speak volumes about a culture. After all, how a culture honors their dead is as varied as the societies themselves. From the elegant Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires, to the verdant Palisady graveyard in Bratislava. The beauty, sometimes quiet, others ostentatious, is undeniable.

I was really looking forward to visiting Bonaventure cemetery in Savannah. After seeing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil how could I not? The Spanish moss hanging in graceful strands over the elaborate crypts, the granite statues; all the pictures made it look like something out of the gothic novels I had loved as a child.

 Unfortunately, public transportation in the US is somewhat under par and not having a car I was at a slight disadvantage. Even more so as I was couchsurfing in a hotel miles from the city. Not terribly excited about being cooped up in a hotel the majority of my time in Savannah I had gotten on the couchsurfing website to see if anyone wanted to meet up.  Almost immediately I got in touch with H, a man who had recently moved to Savannah

The olive-skinned man, his wavy hair tied back into a loose pony tail, pulled up in a cherry-red mustang convertible. Another couchsurfer with a convertible, I thought to myself, a mustang no less. Great cars for the Southern weather I guessed.

 “Where would you like to go? Bonaventure cemetery?” H’s throaty accent

Bonaventure Cemetary

and carefully chosen words were a welcome change from the tupelo-honey drawl and southern slang I had been picking my way through for the past few days. As soon as he said it with the correct French pronunciation, it clicked; Bonaventure, of course! Bonaventure: good adventure, what a perfect name for a cemetery! Hearing the name mispronounced, bone-a-venture, I hadn’t even put two and two together. Of course I wanted to go to Bonaventure!

We pulled through the high stone posts topped with finely-carved statues that marked the entry way.  I was already impressed.   But my wonder only increased.   Strolling through the winding dirt roads we marveled at ornate headstones, imposing crypts, and looming statues. After less than half an hour the steamy 100+ degree weather had sapped my strength, I felt like a wilted flower.

“Could we head back to the car and drive around the cemetery instead?” I asked mournfully. Wearing jeans had clearly been an error in judgment.

At the car I just had to ask if I could get a picture in it. Mustang Sally – it was just too perfect. To my surprise he told me I could drive. I am by no means a car person but the novelty of driving a Mustang was not something I was about to pass up.

Inching the mustang down to river which ran along the graveyard we parked at intervals to get out and look at remarkable mausoleums, lovely memorials, and all variety of granite monuments to the dead. We walked down to the river to take in the breeze coming off of the water for a little respite from the heat. The trees, their tresses of Spanish moss hanging down to the flowing water lent themselves to the tranquil atmosphere. Whoever designed Bonaventure had certainly chosen wisely. Even in the most oppressive heat the pervading sense of reverence and serenity would remain.

 Open and airy with a wistful majesty that seems ideal for the setting, Bonaventure may truly be my favorite cemetery. It is certainly a place I could spend hours in, strolling, sitting on one of the many benches and reading, or walking by the river.  I would recommend visiting Bonaventure Cemetery, to everyone who comes to Savannah, but for your own sake try to schedule your visit for cooler time of year than late June.

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