Elvis has NOT left the building.

Trip Start May 04, 2012
Trip End May 20, 2012

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What I did

Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Monday, May 7, 2012

Wow... What a day. We've just arrived in Nashville after a 220 mile trip from Graceland.The trip was great and the Tennessee landscape is amazing. The Tennessess River itself is a jaw dropping sight to behold and the miles of swamps and beautiful farm land are astounding. We stopped at a service area deep in Tennessee just past the river and had our first US McDonalds... It wasn't bad! I had the mushroom and Swiss burger and I must say it was better than the UK alternatives.

So what happened between Beale Street and Nashville? Well yesterday we visited the home of The King; Elvis Presley himself.

Graceland itself isn't huge and to be honest the grounds are pretty humble. Elvis loved his horses so it was nice to see they still keep some on the property (It was only during the tour that we discovered 3 of them were rescues by Lisa Marie and the 4th is a direct decendant of one of Elvis' favourite horses). The walls outside Graceland are low - apparently he wanted them that way so he could meet fans who visited - and the house does not scream superstar at all. We discovered that Elvis lived with his mum, dad and grandma.
The house isn't as obscenely decorated as people would probably assume... Sure it's very Seventies but it was 1977 when he died there. Access to upstairs is banned as it was his private space and the family have kept it that way. The downstairs is just a family home with a little extra Elvis style... I can ramble on all day about it but I guess seeing the pictures is best.
We walked through listening to our audioguides and I could almost see Dave's opinion on The King changing; he had no idea how generous and charity driven he was, how much he loved his family, the sense of humour he had, the fact that he was such a perfectionist he produced all his own records... Dave was finally seeing through the stereotypes we label on Elvis in the UK and see why he was nicknamed The King.
We moved through the house and ended in the racket ball room; this room is insane. Just wall to wall gold discs, jumpsuits, awards, videos and pictures documenting and extraorinary life cut short.
Finally on the tour you find yourself at the Meditation Garden; Elvis, his mum, his dad and grandmother's final resting place... There is also a memorial plaque to his stillborn twin. I'm not going to lie, this was very emotional. Seeing Elvis' grave after knowing so much about his life and work and loving his music for so long was weird but peaceful and respectful. Everyone took photos but the mood was sombre... This was the resting place of greatness and talent; and the people who created that. I had a tear in my eye, said thank you to The King and moved away knowing I was lucky to have experienced the day.

We got back to the hotel and decided to head out on Beale Street again. This was the beginning of the end... 2 Buds, a Singapore Sling, too many Pabst Blue Ribbons, a Wild Turkey and fried catfish saw their way up out of my stomach and into a toilet. We spent the evening in a bar named The Blues Bar on Beale Street, wrote on the walls like locals, watched a band called Ghost Town Blues Band and drank with a couple from Minnasota called Nick and Ashley. Nick and I danced the night away while Dave and Ashley rolled their eyes and took photos... We missed the last shuttle home and had to pay $25 for a cab. An hour later I was head down the toilet talking to God and asking Dave to not let me die... The next morning I was sat eating biscuits, boiled egg and gravy like a trooper and we headed for the open road.

We arrived in Nashville around 3pm and checked in. We noticed straight away the difference between Nashville and Memphis; Nashville has Country music and money.
We decided to go for a swim in the hotel pool and only discovered when eyelevel with the water that the bug to chlorine ratio was leaning heavily in the bugs favour. An hour or so of bug swallowing and dicking about later saw us in a restaurant on Broadway eating fried chicken and mac n' cheese. We found a great bar called Bootleggers and watched a Bluegrass group... Absolutely amazing. One thing Memphis and Nashville has in common is the fact that their bar bands are so good we've told all of them that we've paid over $40 to see shitter, 'professional' bands in the UK.
After drinking a few more PBR's (Pabst Blue Ribbons) and a Jack Daniels with honey we came back to the hotel for a good night's sleep... And that brings us to a whole new day and a new city...

Sian xx
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Bas on

The Singapore Sling still cracks me up... :-)

Ian on

That blues band sound pretty damn good! http://www.myspace.com/ghosttownbluesband
No surprises about the bar bands being better than British so called pro-bands, many of our pub bands are better than them too!

Dean Harrison on

I am loving reading this blog, glad you informed me of this before you left. Cant wait to talk all things Deep South when you guys get back

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