Let me tell you about my favourite place in the world, where the grass is green, everyone is so lovely, the locals say “y’all” (I swear I had a crush on just about every boy I met or overheard in Nashville), people wear boots and country music is everywhere.
The first day:
I knew we were heading south when the Nancy, the flight attendant buckled-in for takeoff only a few inches behind my sister and I in the back row, said “Can I get y’all to move your purses under the seat?”
It was already afternoon when we reached the city. As the Country Music Lover/Taylor Swift Enthusiast of the family, I had done a HUGE load of research on what to do in Nashville, so all eyes were on me for a something to do nearby. I suggested the Parthenon (a full-scale replica of the original in Athens) which was only a few blocks away in Centennial Park.
It’s not every day that you get to describe something as gargantuan and mean it, but that’s what it was. The sun was shining, there were people playing soccer in the park, and even though we weren’t doing anything in particular, that was just one of the best days. I’d been dreaming of Nashville for so long and then suddenly I was there, and it was real.
We met some awesome people from Texas did that tourist photo-shoot thing where each group offers to take a picture of the other group.
The second day:
…was the FOURTH OF JULY and as a result everything was red, white and blue. The town had the greatest vibe because everyone was on the street to take part in the free events going on and show their pride.
We took pictures outside the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and I burst into tears walking up the stairs because I could hear Hunter Hayes’ cover of Counting Stars playing and I thought maybe he was nearby, then again when we entered the building. I was so happy/excited.
I geeked-out in there, especially when I saw Taylor/Carrie/Miranda related items:
Then we visited the Ryman Auditorium (you can see it in the guitar scenes here), which had beautiful stained-glass windows and old wooden pews. The whole room smelt like pine, and I felt the greatest sense of awe looking around the open space.
That afternoon we tried to find room in one of the bars (not an easy feat on the 4th!) and ended up sitting in “Rippy’s Ribs” listening to a young country trio play covers. Can I just say, OHMYGOSH, this is my dream scenario. End fangirl moment. They were singing all these amazing songs that I knew, songs that you don’t get to hear very often in public when you live in Australia. And they were taking requests. For the longest time, I was thinking to myself, “Go on, ask them to play something. You’ll never see them again. Just do it!” And you know what? I did. And that was a big deal for me…so I’m proud of my brave moment.
When it started to get dark, we stood in the street with an enormous crowd that spanned several city blocks, listening to Striking Matches, Ashley Monroe and Billy Currington perform a free 4th of July concert. And then, THE GREATEST, LONGEST, MOST SPECTACULAR FIREWORKS SHOW I HAVE EVER WITNESSED.
That’s when we met these guys from Pittsburgh, after they walked by saying “Freedom, right girls?” They thought it was the greatest thing ever to meet some Australians, and we thought it was the greatest thing ever that they started a conversation with “Freedom!” They taught me that the Pittsburgh equivalent of “y’all” is “yins”. Aint that something?
We had to walk 12 blocks back to the hotel that night BUT IT WAS SO ENTIRELY WORTH IT.
The third day:
Toured the Grand ‘Ole Opry. Legendary. Pretended to be a superstar. Check.
The fourth day:
Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg. It’s surprisingly idyllic. Learnt a whole lot about whiskey from a man who pronounced it as huh-whskay. Did you know that it takes six days for one drop of whiskey to reach the bottom of the large containers of charcoal for filtering? Now you do!
And that’s it for Nashville. Check back here for more ALYSSA IN THE U.S.A!