Day 5

Trip Start Sep 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 25, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our free breakfast was deluxe this morning and definitely Southern - sausage and gravy was on the menu. Not sure I can face that at 9am so I stuck to the Raisin Bran.

Today was our first real exploration of downtown Nashville. Starting at the welcoming Visitor Center where we had our photos taken on stage, we knew there were definites like the Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame, but we decided to take one of the city's infamous Duck tours to make sure we started off on the right foot. It meant we could take in the sights and sounds of Nashville, Tennessee aboard a fully restored DUKW amphibious vehicle from World War II. It's half boat and half truck (they have them in London too - remember, Mum?!). This was a perfect introduction to Nashville as they also gave great commentary on the way round. Unfortunately, only Mike J could actually understand our guide but he caught us all up on the info afterwards! (See the video below and tell us if YOU can understand every word!)

The highlight of the trip was when we entered the water and I got the chance to steer the 25 nervous members of public for around 10 minutes. Mike managed to get a picture of me (below). Of course when they found out that I was English, they made sure I knew which side of the river to stay on.

By this time, we were starving (OK, it was me but the rest were up for food too) so we made our way to the Big River Brewing Company where Mike B proceeded to order (completely by accident, so he tells us) a 22-ounce beer ... big enough to fall into and swim around for a while.

In the afternoon, it was getting very hot and humid. Sure enough, a rainstorm came along and we decided to spend a few hours inside the famous Ryman Auditorium, home to the Grand Ole Opry. The tour took us backstage to the dressing rooms and we also got to hear the soundcheck of the band that was to play later on this evening (see video below).

Mike J is soooo excited to be in Nashville - this is his dream come true and he's walking around with the biggest grin on his face. As he says himself, he's "died and gone to heaven"!

Mike and Jenny were so impressed with Ruby Tuesday that we returned for our evening meal before heading back downtown to have our first experience of the Nashville nightlife.

And what a nightlife! It was awesome! Music poured from every bar and restaurant along Music Mile. It was hard to take in so many sights and sounds.We eventually started at a duelling piano bar known as The Big Bang, where entertainers take a seat on stage behind two grand pianos and combine music, comedy and audience participation. I loved it! (Wasn't too sure about the servers wearing t-shirts with "Bang This!" on the front though!) Check out the videos below for a taste of the Big Bang.

We then moved onto our next bar called Legends listening to country rock, and then ended up at Layla's Bluegrass Inn listening to hillbilly and country and watching a man "slappin' da bass" (anyone seen I Love You Man?)!

Tomorrow, more Nashville! Can we take the pace?

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