Day 105 – Chattanooga to Nashville

We were in no hurry to leave Chattanooga early and when we finally decided to check out it was absolutely hammering down with rain outside. We ended up trying out the diner next to the motel (City Cafe), as it gets some good reviews, and well, why not? Brian had some chocolate pancakes with syrup, while I tried their Monte Cristo, which was absolutely humungous – see my comment about take away boxes in the previous post! The sandwich had ham, turkey and cheese and came as an open sandwich on French toast, and lightly sprinkled with icing sugar, which was a bit strange if you ask me! The sandwich also came with LOADS of home fries and I must confess I didn’t do too well with the meal as I was still being a bit careful with my stomach and it was quite a lot of fat to deal with! The café was nice enough and they apparently have over 500 items on the menu, and they are especially famous for their cakes and pies. I had a look at their selection of cheesecakes on the way out and was very tempted, though it would have been very hard to choose as there are so many amazing flavours! It might actually be a good thing that my stomach is still feeling a bit sensitive! Do yourself a favour and have a look at the cheesecakes on their online menu and try not to drool.
The drive to Nashville turned out to be wet wet wet! It was raining for large parts of the drive which is a shame as we couldn’t see the landscape and it was definitely becoming more hilly after days, if not weeks of very flat landscapes, and I like landscape with a bit of character! We checked into the Clarion in Nashville which is another hotel with mixed reviews, and outside the downtown area as the hotels in downtown were ridiculously expensive. The hotel and our room turned out to be very good actually and we were more than happy to spend two nights there. The hotel runs a shuttle service to downtown which is handy, even though it is just over a mile to walk. We caught up on our emails etc before taking the shuttle to downtown and checking out the Country Music Hall of Fame and Music City Centre. From there we walked down to the riverside, but there didn’t really seem to be a proper riverwalk like we’ve been getting used to in other towns. We walked past the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum but didn’t go in and went on to have a look at the Tennessee State Capitol, which wasn’t as impressive as some of the ones we’ve seen on the trip, but kept us out of the pub for another hour or so!
Nashville is of course famous for its music scene and eventually we had to go and find some bars with live music! We stumbled upon Printer’s Alley, which is apparently famous, and had a couple of drinks at Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar where a couple of people were was playing, and it was pretty good. The evening was young though and we had to go and explore more bars, so we bar-hopped for the rest of the night, catching some country, blues and bluegrass on the way, and stopping at Benchmark, Tin Roof and Layla’s. We finished the evening in Acme Feed & Seed on Broadway where we really enjoyed the band until we had to catch the last shuttle back at 9pm. It was a really good night, but I suspect we went home just as things started hotting up!
The main music scene for tourists like us seems to be on Broadway with lots of bars and most of them offering free music. The road has barricades along it that basically widens the sidewalk and you can see people standing around and congregating outside the more popular (or small!) bars and listening to the music, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge being a prime example. Kids are also not allowed inside the proper bars (they are in the ones that do food I think) so you can see people standing around outside bars with their kids as well. The bars on Broadway are all quite expensive and we found the bars on 2nd Avenue cheaper and with good music as well, and we spent quite a bit of time on our 2nd night in Big Shotz. One thing all the bars have in common though is that they serves all their drinks, including cocktails in plastic cups, even though you’re not allowed to walk out with you drinks like in other towns where they serve drinks in plastic cups (Savannah). We had a very enjoyable first day in Nashville, and I really like it here!

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