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North America » United States » Tennessee » Nashville
August 8th 2011
Published: September 4th 2011
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DAYS 27-28

NASHVILLE

The day after I got up at at 10 and packed up again to drive to Nashville. I checked out and got my stuff in the car. By the way, one thing I haven’t mentioned is the fact that in the US quite a few hotels downtown charge you to park your car. This is something I’d never experienced before so I was quite surprised and the charges aren’t cheap either. In Memphis I paid $14 for each night and in New Orleans the charge was $35 per night! However I, somehow, got a promotion and only ended up paying $22 for the whole stay. That saved me more than $80. Guess I was lucky.

The 3 hours drive to Nashville, the country music capital of the world, was very quiet and relaxed and I got there at about 2pm. I had booked one night at the Sleep Inn by the Hilton in the Vallerbille neighbourhood and the hotel was really good. Sometimes it’s good to pay an extra $20 to stay in a better place. I unpacked and decided to check the gym to go for a run. The truth is that I hadn’t anything planned to do in Nashville. I wanted to check Broadway st and go to a few bars to listen to live music but that was it so I thought I would take it easy and then go out later on in the evening.

So I had a 6k run and then went for a swim in the pool. Then I watched a bit of golf in my room and got ready to go out. The hotel is about 20 minutes walk from downtown but the hotel offers a shuttle bus which is very convenient. So I waited 5 minutes for the bus and got in together with a couple who were also going to check the bars and restaurants. I spoke to them and they happened to be from Texas so I told them about my adventures over there. We ended up going to the same place and we shared table and drinks.

They’d been told about an alcoholic milkshake that was supposed to be very good so we checked the place out and had something to eat and a couple of the milkshakes each. They were delicious and quite strong to be honest. The guy was a police officer so we had an interesting conversation about the laws in Texas and other states and how things compare to Europe and other places. They were quite handy as well because they roughly managed to explain to me the rules of baseball as I told them I’d planned to go and watch a game in St Louis.

After dinner we went for a walk and ended up in Margaritaville where we had a beer and listened to some of the live music. They were driving to Virginia early in the morning so they left at about 10 and I stayed to check some other places. As it was Sunday the place was very quiet and I ended up in the busiest of the bars, which is normally a good sign. The band that was playing there was quite good, mainly 90’s rock and they were good fun. But at about 11 they finished and I had to decide whether to go somewhere else, stay there for a bit or call it a night.

I was still pretty tired from my Memphis nights so I decided to call it a day and walk back to the hotel. I stopped at McDonalds on the way there and had 2 cheeseburgers for $2 which after a few drinks tasted really good and went to sleep.

I decided to spend only one night in Nashville so the day after I checked out, left my luggage at the hotel and took the shuttle bus into downtown. I checked a few places, some shops, the Mississippi river again and finally got myself a cowboy hat. I wanted to buy a cowboy hat since I was in Texas but I was always telling myself that it would be a waste of money as I wouldn’t really wear that much, but then I thought what the heck, if you want a cowboy hat, bloody get one! And so I did. Some of the hats were really expensive from $80 to $100 and didn’t want to spend that much but I finally found one for $40 which I think looks good and was exactly what I was looking for. Interestingly I found out what my hat size was, so if anybody ever wants to buy me a hat, my size is 7. I went for something to eat, with my cowboy hat on of course to a little bar where, quite an old man was playing some good old country music. I had, guess what, a burger again and spend an hour or so listening to some good music until I decided to walk back to the hotel and start driving to Saint Louis.

Before I wanted to check a couple of things that were on the way out of Nashville and that I hadn’t have time to see, the Willie Nelson & friends museum and the Grand Ole Opry theatre. For those who don’t know Willie Nelson is a very good country singer who I happen to like a lot. So when I found out there was a museum in town I decided to check it out. The museum is tiny, a couple of rooms with some memorabilia, videos and some stuff from Willie’s friends, probably not worth a visit if you aren’t a big fan but I’m glad I went.

A good surprise was that literally next door there was the Coors museum and I remember watching the series when I was a kid. The museum/shop was free so it was good to go in and check some of the cars and clothes used in the show.

Then I drove to the Grand Ole, again from those of you not familiar with country music, the Grand Ole in Memphis is one of the most famous theatres for these type of music, where lots of the best singers made their debut in front of the big mics and cameras. There was a tour available but I really didn’t have time to do it so I just drove by and took a few pictures.

So at about 5 I set off from Nashville direction to Saint Louis, Missouri. When I checked St Louis location I never realised how close it was to Illinois. The drive from Tennessee was quite interesting as it crosses 4 states, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri in only a few hundred miles. By the way, I didn’t see a single KFC while driving through Kentucky!!

I finally got to St Louis at about 8ish and went to the American Inn where I had booked 2 nights stay. It’s a typical motel but quite well situated as it is minutes from downtown and the getaway Arch. The place looks quire run down and the stairs and the elevator were pretty dirty but the room itself was ok, decent size and pretty clean and cable tv and free internet were available. And the price was only $74 which was by far the cheapest I could find for a downtown place in St Louis. Still a big big difference from the hotels I stayed in Memphis and Nashville.
I had a shower and went to check the places around the hotel. The walk to downtown is not very nice as you basically got to walk under a motorway but it was a very short walk. I checked the neighbourhood next to the Arch. It was quite nice, cobbled stones streets, nice restaurants but it was pretty dead on a Monday night. Then I went to check the Arch but again it was very dark and empty at night so I walked to downtown with the intention of going to an Irish pub I’ve read about by the Hampton Inn.

However, once I got there I changed my mind as I couldn’t be bother going to a bar again and certainly didn’t fancy a drink, so I found a little grocery store where I got myself a salad and some frozen paninis and a drink and made my way to the motel where I had dinner and watch some tv before falling asleep exhausted.



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