I met a lot of people in America and I ended up staying in touch with about three of them.
I met a guy in the shared Airbnb hostel in Nashville, TN. He was from Cork and I’m from London so we bonded over our shared part of the world, although he was slightly offended that I’ve never actually been to the Republic of Ireland.
We were both traveling alone so we decided to explore Nashville together.
The American Parthenon
Did you know that Nashville has a full-size replica of the Greek Parthenon? I certainly didn’t.
I’m not entirely sure why they have this Parthenon.
Did someone go to Greece one day, see the Parthenon and decide that it would look really nice in Nashville? Should every city have their own Parthenon? How do the Greeks feel about it?
The Parthenon is a little strange, but it is located in Centennial Park which is really pretty.
I find American Universities fascinating. I’d heard of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta etc. societies, but I still don’t know exactly what they do or what their function is.
Do people live there? Do they really have those crazy initiations? Is it really like Legally Blonde?
I ended up wandering around Vanderbilt University with my Irish friend for about an hour.
We pretended to be students so we could look at parts of the campus, and we got to see the cafeteria, the library and most of the grounds.
When I was in the library I found an old travel journal from the 1700’s and it made me realize that all these fancy ‘travel writings’ and books from the age of exploration are basically longer and more descriptive travel blogs.
They were our predecessors.
The State Capital & The Bell
Nashville is really into their Greek revivalism.
The Irish guy and I walked up the hill to State Capital and on the way, we came across statues, important buildings, and a big ass bell.
The guy decided it would be a great idea to ring the bell. It was not.
The bell boomed on and on, making my ears ring with an all-encompassing sound that could wake a dead president.
We also passed by the Musicians Hall Of Fame, the Tennessee State Museum, and The Johnny Cash Museum.
If I’d had another day in Nashville I would definitely have gone inside some of them. This time, however, I just wanted to do what I’d come to Nashville to do: Drink and listen to country music.
Blues & Country
The District in Nashville is full of live music bars. Most of them don’t have a cover charge, so whilst it is good to tip the musicians they won’t physically force you to do so.
The first bar we went to was a virtually empty place a few streets away from the main strip.
I can’t remember the name of the bar, so if you recognize it please let me know!
The bar had a pretty good happy hour (two drinks for $6!), the place had a really nice alternative vibe to it, and there were two guys playing blues music on the stage.
They were really good too!
After the first bar, we proceeded to the main district where we stared longingly at cowboy boots (they are not cheap in Nashville), took selfies with Elvis cutouts, and visited bars with hilarious names like ‘Nudies HonkyTonk’.
The Nashville strip is similar to Beale Street in the sense that it’s quite touristy and it’s hard to tell how much of a local scene still exists, but the majority of musicians we saw were really good and it felt authentic enough to me.
The Honky Tonk franchise isn’t cheap, but you kind of need to go there for the novelty.
I wish I’d had more time in the south (is Nashville in the south?) but I only had two nights there. Stay tuned for Chicago, Jazz and musicians communes!