Nashville airport is an entertainment hub. I’m not sure that it means to be but it is. As I got off the plane a country duet was sitting in the lounge playing for all incoming flights. I picked up my luggage and then sat down to wait for Kathi’s flight. I can honestly say that I have never sat in a rocking chair at an airport before and I don’t imagine that I ever will again! I had quite a few hours to wait because her flight was delayed and I listened to several different types of country music while I waited. In addition all the big music stars have recorded welcome messages etc and they were played over the loudspeaker as each flight arrived. at one point I thought I must look like Granma Clampett from the Beverley Hillbillies sitting in her chair on the porch listening to music. Kathi was shattered when she arrived so we just made for our hotel, got a meal and crashed.
Next morning we set out to explore Nashville. It really is a surprisingly beautiful city. We wandered downtown and got a lot of information from the Tourist info and then headed across Broadway to visit the first of the honky tonks that they recommended.
These open at 10am and start serving beer etc immediately, the singers/bands etc also start then too, so there we were at 10.30 nursing a beer and listening to a very good singer/musician. After one we decided that needed to go and explore the city and come back in the afternoon, so off we went on a trolley tour, which showed us most of what we wanted to see in Nashville and allowed us to jump off and on for 2 days.
One of the places we went back to visit was Rymans, the place that many think of as the original home of the Grand Old Oprey but it was actually its third home. It was a really interesting place to look around and while we were doing so Snow Patrol and Noel Gallagher were setting up for a concert that night.
Unfortunately the weather started to turn quite cold in the last afternoon and since Kathi had a nasty cold we didn’t make it back to Broadway.
Next day we spent quite some time in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Music. We could easily have spent the whole day there but since we wanted to get out to Music Row and see all the recording studios there and we were going to Rymans to hear the weekly recording of the Grand Old Oprey that night our time was limited. We did manage to see most things from all the platinum discs to the costumes to some cars.
The Grand Old Oprey is actually still a radio programme complete with adverts for the different sponsors. It was a little like going back in time. Kathi and I were amazed at the number of people who just got up and walked around the auditorium while the different acts were singing. It seemed really rude. After the show we decided to tour the honky tonks and try and catch up on the election results. Some of the acts we saw on Broadway were really good. One was atrocious. Some of the folk in the various audiences were as much of an entertainment as the acts. While we were listening to the musical entertainment the election results were coming in. It wasn’t long after we arrived in one of the bars that Obama was declared the winner to the complete disinterest of most folk around us. It was quite strange. Tennessee is not a Democratic state but we thought there would be some reaction. I stayed up to hear Romney concede and Obama accept the Presidency .
The next morning we decided to go out to the site of the “new” Grand Old Oprey and we were advised to visit the Gaylord Oprey hotel. They are situated a good half hour outside Nashville. The hotel was huge but antiseptic. It was beautifully decorated for Christmas but quite honestly it could have been anywhere in the world. The new site of the Grand Old Oprey right beside the hotel didn’t have the same ambience as Rymans. Kathi and I came away glad that we had stayed in Nashville and had the opportunity to visit Rymans.
Both Kathi and I have had a great time here. It’s somewhere we would both come back to. Tomorrow we are off to New York and by this time next week I’ll be home. In many respects it doesn’t seem that long since I left.