Monday, 3 August 2015

Travel: Nashville

After spending two nights in Washington, D.C., we got on a Greyhound coach and headed to Nashville. We knew that this wouldn’t be the most comfortable night’s sleep of our lives, and on reflection I definitely wouldn’t choose this method of travel again unless on an extremely tight budget. It wasn’t so much the coach itself that was the problem, it was more the continuous stopping and unloading of the coach that happened throughout the night, and some of the people also travelling with us.

We arrived in Nashville at around 9am, and having spent over 16 hours on a coach all we wanted to do was have a shower and go to bed. The check-in for our Airbnb wasn’t until the afternoon, but we had arranged with our hosts to drop our bags off so we didn’t have to lug them around all day. The lovely people we were staying with got the room ready for us early, so we only had to go out for a couple of hours in the state we were in.

Our accommodation was in East Nashville, which is the ‘up and coming’ or ‘hipster’ area of the city. Whilst we were waiting for the room to be turned around, we went for a walk and explored Five Points, an area within East Nashville where most of the restaurants and bars are. For an amazing brunch I would definitely recommend Marche Artisan Food – it was just what we needed after a long journey!

It was a short Uber ride from where we were staying into Downtown Nashville, which cost about $5. Nashville is a fairly small city and, just like Washington, D.C., it was really clean and nicely kept. I loved the atmosphere and general feel of Nashville; it was definitely my favourite city we visited.

If you’re visiting Nashville, chances are you’ll want to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. We opted for the ‘Platinum Package’ which included both the admission to the Music Hall and Museum as well as a guided tour of the historic RCA Studio B. The museum is really interesting and they have so much cool stuff from famous country stars, from tour outfits to guitars to Grammy Awards. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Studio tour, but I’m so glad we paid that bit extra because it was one of the best experiences of the trip – some of the stories about things that happened in that studio are fascinating.

We also did the Gray Line tour of ABC’s Nashville, a TV show with which I’m obsessed. The tour lasted about three hours, and took you around various filming locations in East and Downtown Nashville, to the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Café and then around the prestigious Belle Mead area to see various mansions used on the show. It’s definitely worth doing the tour on a Sunday if you can, because that’s the only day it visits the Bluebird Café. On the day we were there, we were lucky enough to have the founder of the infamous listening room and songwriter performance space there to give a special talk on the history of the venue.

Nashville’s main street, Broadway, is a great place to go both day and night, with most bars and restaurants hosting live country music at all hours. Whilst the street is really busy and all the bars packed, the atmosphere is still quite relaxed and it feels safe, friendly and somewhat classy, unlike some of the ‘strips’ we visited in other cities.

I will definitely be returning to Nashville someday – it’s such a lovely city with an amazing musical history. If you want to see more of the trip, take a look at the video I’ve uploaded!

COMING SOON: Three days in New Orleans…

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