I have to say that it was absolutely beyond wonderful to have so much calm, quiet time to myself on this trip! I'm an introverted person who needs alone time to recuperate and regenerate. I never feel like I get enough of this time, though. The kids are always with me, and often touching me too. It's quite draining. I like going to work and having the quiet of my office for a lot of my day. I sometimes get to go out to run errands alone in the morning or evening when James is home. Occasionally I get to go out to Starbucks or to see friends. I try to make sure James gets these times too, and that we can sometimes go out as a couple.
But nothing compares to the time that I had in Nashville! I got to stay out late and know that I didn't have to wake up during the night OR in the morning. I only had to worry about packing and maintaining my own stuff. The only person I had to clean, dress, feed and get out the door was ME! Activities didn't have to be kid friendly or be decided by a whole group of people. I got a chance to just be myself. It was a breath of fresh air. :)
Back to the day, though. Joni picked me up at her lunch break and we went to a place called the Copper Kettle. It has something called a Meat and Three, which I hadn't heard of before. It's where you can pick a meat and then three sides as your meal. Pretty self explanatory. And pretty delicious! The day was sunny and the warmest of my time there, so we ate on the patio.
After lunch, she went back to work and I walked over to a coffee shop called Crema. I noticed from the lunch place and the coffee place (and then from my walking around time) that there are a lot of dudes in Nashville! The Copper Kettle had at least six guys working behind the counter (though I did see a girl a little later). Crema had five guys working there and no girls. I'm guessing there are so many because a lot of people come to that city to get music careers going, and a lot of musicians are guys.
After lunch and the coffee shop, I started walking.
[View from the pedestrian bridge.]
[View to the other side of the bridge.]
[Another view from the bridge, farther along.]
[James kept asking for pictures of me instead of just stuff, but I think I kind of surprised myself with this shot.]
[X marks the spot!]
[From the center of the pedestrian bridge, looking back at where I walked up.]
[One of the streets. Broadway, maybe?]
[I liked this Printer's Alley sign.]
[Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. I didn't go inside, though.]
[New opera house.]
I spent the whole afternoon walking around, taking in the skyline, city streets and a few shops. One very noticeable thing about Nashville is that there is live music everywhere and at every time of day. Every pub had bands or singers inside, with varying degrees of talent. When late afternoon came around, there were people playing on the sidewalks (along with suddenly appearing homeless people with signs). I didn't write about it in my first post, but there was even a live band in the airport pub when I arrived to the city at noon!
Funny things I saw on my walk: a set of identical twin older men in matching outfits (shirts that said "Bang This!" on the front and had an orange dot on the back), with matching cowboy hats, long grey hair and grey mustaches, cowboy boots and jeans (I saw them three times that day); two Hooters waitresses playing "catch" with a football outside of the restaurant, with a douchey looking guy who was obviously their manager "directing" them; a bunch of skater boys by the river heckling a guy taking pictures; lots of people in cowboy hats (most of whom had clearly just bought them that day).
Joni met me near the Hard Rock Cafe when she was done working. We did a little Jolie-ing in a cool alley-ish space between buildings:
Then we went to Jack's BBQ for brisket, which I don't think I've had before.
In keeping with James's well researched theory, places where the animal being served (this case, pig) is portrayed on the sign whimsically (flying, eating, etc), then the food is good. If the animal on the sign just looks like its normal self, not as good. Jack's sign is whimsical, thus food = yummy!
We walked around for a bit downtown since we had some time before the Predators hockey game (Joni's friend gave us tickets!). We stopped by the store for Hatch Show Print, which is the place that has always made these iconic concert flyers:
The flyers/posters are made with an old press where you place each letter and roll the ink on. Joni said most people get them made to sell at shows, rather than waste them on telephone polls or bulletin boards. It was closed when we got there, but still cool to see!
This is the Ryman auditorium:
It was originally a church that was then purchased and used for the Grand Ole Opry. GOO (my own abbreviation) has since moved to a larger location. However, this is where a lot of famous people have performed and is still used as a concert venue. Next time I'm in Nashville, I'd love to go see something there!
[Corner of the Ryman and a view up the street.]
[Looking back on the Ryman at dusk.]
Then we headed to Bridgestone arena to see the Preds play. Neither of us are huge hockey fans, but Joni's been to some games and I like sports and have watched quite a few Blackhawks games in the last few years.
They had a funny saying all over the arena, "Hockey Tonkin'", which is very hard to say properly, but a pretty clever little motto.
[Joni and I at the game.]
Earlier in the afternoon, at least three hours before game time, I saw tons of people in Predators jerseys heading for the arena. There were a lot of people there and everyone was very into the game. They had their own cheers when their team got a goal and they did lots of those big screen shots of the audience. People were SO funny with it! Almost everyone was a big ham and it was highly entertaining to watch what people did with their moment in the spotlight. Dancing, kissing, funny faces, signs, surprised faces, kids shoving into the frame, everyone nudging the people who didn't see themselves on the screen at first, people getting shy and covering their faces, etc. It was a blast!
After the game, we were done for the day. It was an amazing way to end the trip and included tons of stuff that I either really wanted to do, or wouldn't have even thought of doing but had a blast with anyway. By that day, I was starting to miss James and the boys more and ready to go home. The time frame was perfect: enough time away that I was able to relax and have fun, but also refresh me and get me ready to get back into real life.
I love adventures!