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Published: June 22nd 2010
A year ago almost to the day we Couch Surfed
with Matt and Rachel in Azerbaijan
. At the time they were both Peace Corps volunteers but now they have returned to the USA and are living in Knoxville, Tennessee. As we were just a couple of hours drive away over the Smoky Mountains, it would have been rude not to call in and say hello.
According to our guide book, Knoxville is the erstwhile underwear capital of the world. When I told Matt, who had grown up here, it was news to him! It's supposedly to do with textile factories but maybe we'll never know!! Anyway, these days it is the location of the University of Tennessee and everything associated with it is delightfully orange. Okay, maybe not delightfully, but tact is called for here!!! Their (American) football stadium hosts about 8 college football games a year and holds over 100,000 - and it's not even the biggest college stadium in the USA! Rachel gave us a nice tour of the campus and told us a lot about the place.
In 1982 the World Fair was hosted by Knoxville. Left over from this is a lovely park with gushing fountains
the schoolkids play in when it gets hot. The nearby war memorials are very moving. The towering Sunsphere dominates the skyline but we never got the chance to find out if the restaurant at the top has really closed or not.
All around the city there are Greenways, paths you can walk along without the worry of traffic. We walked down to the river but unfortunately none of the paddle steamer trips were convenient for us to take. It was really nice down there though and we ambled along. The city centre is good for wandering too and we saw several quirky statues, none more so than the man rowing his boat!
It was World Cup day for England again so we went to the historic centre where we sat in a British pub surrounded by Americans wearing England shirts! The beer was good - shame about the football!! We also had a very good sociable evening with our friends and it turned into quite a late night commiserating!!! It was a pleasure staying with Matt and Rachel again and hopefully we can return the favour one day.
Our route then took us back into North Carolina
to the town of Boone. On the way we passed some lovely lakes and rivers in the Cherokee Forest.
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