Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Trek America Day 3 and 4: Virginia and Nashville

Today was the beginning of our long drive down south.  The Virginia stop is plugged into the itinerary because you can't get from Washington to Nashville in a day.

To break up the journey a bit we stopped off at the Air and Space Udvar-Hazy museum, located near Washington airport.  It is AMAZING.  It's a huge building filled with loads of aircraft, including NASAs Space Shuttle Discovery, the WW2 aircraft that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, a Concorde, and the Lockhead Blackbird  which was in the transformers movie.  I love planes and one of my favourite museums in London is the RAF museum so this was right up my street.  It's also free, and staffed by ex pilots who are more than happy to offer information on the exhibits.

As we continued our journey, the landscape was changing from freeway to country as we got closer to the Appalachians.  This range are very old and originally connected to the Atlas mountains in Northern Africa.  Unfortunately it wasn't as spectacular a drive as I thought t was going to be but it was nice nonetheless.  We made a pitstop at "Foamhenge" which was the most random, brilliant thing I've ever seen.  A guy decided to make a true to size replica of stone henge, made of polystyrene foam and painted grey.  You can touch it unlike the real stone henge. 

We checked into a proper roadside motel which was an experience, the decor was dated to say the least.  For dinner we went to Cracker Barrell which is so bizarre.  It's a Southern country store with a restaurant attached, they sell rocker chairs outside and inside very random kitsch stuff with bloody awful inspirational quotes on.  Foodwise its southern fare, I had fried buttermilk chicken (coated in cornflakes?!) with veg and cheese grits.  The grits were gross, don't get them.  Think Ambrosia rice pudding with mild cheese topping. Very bland and sloppy.  We also ordered biscuits and cornbread, both deceiving!  Biscuits are very salty scones, and the cornbread looked like cupcakes but again very tasty and a weird greasy texture.  Ben promises the food gets better. Also the shop was selling jelly bellys and a lady kept coming round trying to force feed us jelly bellys whilst we were eating dinner. Odd place.     

After dinner we played cards against humanity.  This was one of the funniest games I've played in a while mainly because we had to explain to the non native English speakers what glory holes, smegma and stray pubes were. Amongst other things. Sometimes I resorted to miming some of the stuff which added to the general merriment of the evening (and my embarrassment).  Also I thought road head was someone who was obsessed with cars, like a petrol head. It isn't!

The following day we got up really early to carry on our drive to Nashville.  We arrived around lunchtime, checked into the hostel and headed out to explore.  There's a lot of country music related activities such as the Johnny Cash museum and Country Music Hall of Fame but these all cost money and a few of us weren't too bothered by it so we did a quick tour of the Tennessee Capitol building (free! But pretty lame) before heading to a honkytonk bar for some beers and live music.  There's a whole street to choose from and each have live bands from lunchtime so it's a pretty cool place to just wander up and down.  There's also many many shops selling cowboy boots and hats so we tried a few on, I loved the hats and was tempted to buy one but unfortunately not many occasions in the UK call for the wearing of a cowboy hat. I guess I could wear it cleaning the house....

We had an hour or so to kill before dinner so we played foozeball and did karaoke (Julie plays guitar, yay!) in the hostel common room.  The hostel was really cool facilities wise but the beds were all covered in plastic again, but even more this time so when anyone moved it sounded like they were lying on crisp packets.  It wasn't a great sleep!  I was also on top bunk and spent the night worrying I was going to fall out as I've not top bunked since I was about 7.

Later on we headed to Wild Horse Saloon where we had a line dancing lesson, this was good fun but I am very uncoordinated and kept crashing into people.  People take it very seriously down here. After that we headed to ACME for dinner and drinks, there was an amazing blues band playing so we ended up staying there for the rest of the evening.

When we got back to the hostel we resumed our Denmark vs Korea (and England) foozeball competition (I got really good at uni but my skills need a bit of polishing).  The Danes won.  Next time!!

Nashville was fun and I think most people would enjoy it even if they don't like country music (like me).  It's a unique experience and the availability of live music is wonderful. I did imagine it to be more spit and sawdust with saloon doors and stuff but it's quite a modern city with sky scrapers.  Good fun though!


2 comments:

  1. That cowboy hat really does suit you. I know what I'm getting you for your birthday this year!! -x-

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  2. Also, that motel bedspread is exactly what I have in my house! What a coincidence! ;-)

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