Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tue 19 Mar - Nashville, TN

Last morning in Memphis, and that gin soaked bar rom queen has not been found. Oh well, maybe we have better "luck" in Nashville.

We check out from Vista Inn Motel and wander up Union Avenue to Blue Plate Cafe at Court Square for a bit of 2nd breakfast / very early lunch before moving on to the bus station at MATA.

Here is Di looking quite pleased with her choice of food.

Court Square from Main St.
Blue Plate Cafe is at the right, facing the square.
We board our Megabus which leaves Memphis MATA half an hour late. It appears that the driver's sidekick, who is supposed to be checking tickets and getting luggage onboard, is MIA. We punters load our own luggage.
Here is Di at a pit stop about 1 hour away from Nashville. The driver needs lunch and a break after 3 hours so we pop into McDonalds for a tea and snack. We pay very little in total for 2 drinks and 2 fillet of fish and when Di checks the receipt she finds she was given a Senior Discount! Unlike Hans she's not pleased with this discount. Senior discount tally - one all.
The whole trip from Memphis to Nashville is 190 miles or so and was scheduled take 4.5 hours including a break. We left late, had a break and still arrived some 10 minutes early in Nashville. All good.
The Megabus stop in Nashville is actually in South Nashville, some distance away from downtown and next to Nashville's Fairground. The stop is supposed to be a temporary stop and was moved to here from downtown for reasons unknown.
Parking of cars on the main drag, waiting to pick up arriving Megabus passengers, is not allowed and there is also a bus stop just behind for the local bus, but people do it anyway.
Today, they shouldn't have stopped here because first one and then a second police car turned up with blue lights on. A copper proceeded to have some discussions with several drivers of parked cars.
Now, our hotel is some distance north of downtown Nashville and we had to take two local buses in order to get there. First bus 12 north to Music City Central which is the Nashville's transit centre and then bus 9 north out of downtown to an area called Metro Centre (long story, obviously not our intention).
Anyway, we got a very nice room on the 9th floor (after Di had some discussions with the manager) of the Millenium Maxwell House Hotel with views towards downtown Nashville. Our immediate surrounding area is not so exciting.

After check in, we take advantage of the in house gym and we both realise that apart from a lot of walking we have not kept ourselves in shape on the road. Muscles will hurt tomorrow, but we will be back as it is not often we have gyms in the types of accommodation that we go for (read cheapskates...)

Millennium Maxwell House Hotel provides 2 shuttle buses free of charge (but "tips are encouraged and certainly appreciated", quote from inside the shuttle) for local trips up to 5 miles which covers downtown.

We take advantage of this offer and go downtown to get a meal. We are dropped off at the corner of Broadway and 5th Street, and after wandering a little while we find The Old Spaghetti Factory on 2nd Street.

One other guy, Ron, who was also on the shuttle bus from Millenium Maxwell House Hotel, was also new to town. He was also looking for a meal and seem to follow us, so we invited him to have dinner with us, which he accepted and we dined together and chatted away.

Ron is a retired Police Chief from western Massachusetts, incidentally not far from the terrible mass shooting in Newport just before last Christmas. Ron had set up a consulting and training business in law enforcement and was in town to provide training. He now lives in Cape Cod as his wife wanted them to be there.

Food was excellent, just the right amount and very cheap, $27 for us both including tax and tips. Soup and bread was added to Di's lasagna and to Hans Spaghetti Vesuvius, the latter was a house speciality.

Here are a couple of pics from inside the The Old Spaghetti Factory and yes, you could actually dine inside that tram, but we didn't.

After dinner, Ron left us to explore further while we called for the shuttle to come and pick us up again.
As we wandered towards Broadway and 5th Street where the shuttle would pick us up, we saw this very cute hot dog van at the corner of Broadway and 2nd Street. Note the busker to the left of the caravan.
Here are a couple of night shots from Broadway while we are waiting for the shuttle to come.
First is Bridgestone Arena, the local icehockey arena. There is a game on this Thursday night and maybe we can get tickets...
Music is everywhere here too, yes both country and western, and Broadway seems to be to Nashville, what Bourbon Street is to New Orleans and Beale Street is to Memphis, bars and restaurants and live music everywhere.
Here is some street art to celebrate musicians.
"Legends" seemed to be one of the more popular bars with live music.
As we were waiting to be picked up, an ambulance and later a fire engine arrived with sirens on. The ambulance stopped just were we stood in front of us. Very shiny these vehicles are and they look very modern and expensive inside.
Eventually, we get back to our hotel. This is how it looked in the dark from the outside.
And from our room on the 9th floor, downtown Nashville looks like this at night.
Good night.

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