Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms: Waterdeep

Being a travelogue of a blogger's summer vacation through the continent of Faerun.Early morning - Traveling through the Forgotten Realms... where to start? From Waterdeep in the West, zig-zagging East, is as good a way to do it, and my parachute put me a stone's throw from the gates, so... There's A LOT to see at this starting point, I don't know if I'll ever leave! To do Michael Palin proud, I suppose I'll have to, but indulge me while I look around this massive city, won't you?

Mid-morning - Ok, yeah, I won't be staying TOO long after all. Maybe it's my own fault for not staying in the Castle Ward, but this place STINKS. I guess that's what happens when more than a 100,000 thousand people are piled one on top of the other in a Medieval setting. I hear there's a lot of fresh air in the Realms, thankfully. I finally found a fairly nice inn with interior plumbing in the North Ward (below, left), so I'll take a shower before heading out.
Late morning - Do NOT take a shower in Waterdeep. Someone told me water was such a precious commodity in this town that "spillwater" off the roof was used for washing. I guess the pigeon poop hadn't been cleaned in a while. That same someone, when asked what I really should visit while I was here, said I should really visit the sewers, something about the City of Splendors' beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Laughed his ass off at that, don't know why. Northern humor, I guess. And no, I'm definitely NOT going down to the sewers. My sensitive nose likely couldn't take it.

Afternoon - Well, isn't it always the way? You find yourself in a new city and plan on seeing the sights, but you wind up shopping most of the afternoon. To be fair, I needed supplies for the journey to the North, so it couldn't be avoided. Found everything I needed at Selchoun's Sundries Shop and more (the more being an "I drink life Waterdeep" t-mail shirt). I'm also finding out how friendly the Waterdhavians are as the proprietor has lent me his boy to show me the sights for a modest fee. I'm happy to pay for the service seeing as I only found the shop by accident. First day of the journey and I'm already lost! Well, can you blame me?!
Early evening - Thanks to the kid, I've managed to avoid the dangerous alleys and got to see a number of landmarks, albeit briefly. The Field of Triumph and its Lion Gate (couldn't stay for a game of whatever sport the arena supports), the Plinth (a tall temple from which it looked like someone was going to jump, but I got carried off by the crowd - maybe it's for the best), and the Palace (didn't get past the model of the City in the front Hall, but that thing was pretty impressive - does it count like I visited the whole of Waterdeep now? - though my favorite such model is still the one in the Alamo, with its little soldiers and the cotton puffs of smoke coming out of their tiny guns).

Late evening - As the sun disappeared from view, I coined my young guide's hand and set off for the City of the Dead to experience a bit of the nightlife. No undead here. The City Watch has cordoned off a part of the city's cemetery for Beltane, a holy day (Mirtul 5th) of spring. There are bows on all the trees and sexual escapades in the bushes. I'm not quite ready for my first religious orgy, so I befriend a guard of the Watch and shoot the breeze - he shares some gossip about the Noble Houses (which means nothing to me), tells me about some of Waterdeep's history (if you count mysterious albino births and baby dragons in the sewers "history"), and points to one reveller or another and tries to play armchair matchmaker. Seems like a lot of festival goers get hitched at this thing every year. I play along, but mostly to get a laugh out of him and his colleagues - who had been giving me the evil eye since I approached - matching up the people least likely to end up together and describing their potential offspring.

Travel Tip #1: You can easily endear yourself to the Waterdeep Watch with dwarf/elf slashfic.

Night - I finally made it home sometime past midnight, with flowers in my hair and tiredness in my bones. How I found the inn again is a bit of a mystery to me. Bodes well for the rest of the trip. I write these words before throwing myself face first on the bed. I don't think I'll suffer from insomnia tonight.

Next morning - I'm about to set off for my circumnavigation of the Realms and bid other patrons adieu. We've shared a lunch and a breakfast and I'm truly thankful for their travel tips. That's the advantage of starting out in an open city like Waterdeep - you're bound to meet people from all over who are more than happy to tout their homelands' picturesque landmarks and fine dining bistros. There's even a nice couple from Thay who've invited me to stay with them when my journey brings me to their country. He's a wizard of some kind, and she's a librarian. Delightful people. And then it's off and through Northgate, the walled-in streets of Waterdeep soon a memory and a lingering odor...

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