There honestly is nothing better than taking a few days off, packing a small bag and flying out to a different city, not knowing what to expect except that it is all going to be an adventure. The two and a half days I spent in Memphis deserve a short story in themselves, one that I need to spend more time writing based on all of the random notes and photos that I took, and all of the impressions that I came away with. In the meantime the photos are all up (see full set HERE) and continue to crack me up every time I look at them because they pretty much all have a story behind them. I absolutely adored Nashville and definitely need to go back and spend a lot more time there. There is no way that you can go to all of the honky tonks and listen to all of the music in a night and half a day. Outside of NYC it is definitely a place I could consider living (although the lack of an ocean nearby could be a problem).
Anyway, I feel like we did so much in so little time... Found an Irish pub two steps away from the hostel in midtown Memphis, befriended the bartender Alan, whose phrase "you guys don't exist outside of here, but in here you exist" pretty much said it all. Powers and Guinness and Magners and a photography tour along the empty Sunday night streets of Memphis... Assigned hostel chores and milk that we were not allowed to touch because it "belonged to Brad", a cab driver who not only offered to find us any drug or alcohol we wanted but also invited us to eat telapia at his house... An amazing tour of Graceland followed by a spontaneous decision to rent a car and drive the 200+ miles to Nashville... Country music radio stations and truck rest stops and finally Nashville, where music reigns everywhere. A room in the wonderful Downtown Hostel, drinks in different bars, bands playing everywhere you go... A 90's grunge cover band who totally looked and sounded the part, country singers, one brilliant guy on a street corner, making up songs as he played, a shot glass snuck out of the bar in the hostel and left undrunk... Empty bars with musicians playing at noon (do they ever really stop?), more street musicians, cowboy boots for sale, blossoming trees, lunch in a New Orleans bar where a man named Fritz played a beautiful rendition of Fire and Rain... Back to Memphis on stand by after missing my flight, making it back to New York at 11pm, wishing I could hop straight back on a plane back to Memphis. There is so much more to it than all of the above though...
Oh... And you can still smoke in bars in Tennessee. Brilliant.
Another link to all of the photos I took below.
Memphis & Nashville, a set on Flickr.