Monday, 8 May 2017

In Nashville, Day Two...

I shower, I clean my teeth, I shave and I'm ready. For breakfast!

I take the elevator, press 1 and travel down to the front desk, I turn left and there is the breakfast room. The television is on: Good Morning America. They talk about Trump and abolishing Obamacare, cue images of disgruntled, worried people and big, fat Republicans with bald heads in suits lying to them, telling them it'll be alright, but it won't be alright, we all know that.

Breakfast – a little sparse, shall we say, but it did its job
Breakfast is good. Melon, a banana, two cups of English breakfast tea, two small pastries; there are newspapers and people and all is well with the world. There are paper cups and paper plates and plastic knives, forks and spoons, but I'm not phased by this anymore as last year the Hilton Doubletree offered the same and the year before that a Best Western in East Washington, Indianapolis.

Sunday morning in Nashville – no cars, how pleasant...
My fellow breakfast takers are normal Americans, nothing flashy, just run-of-the-mill people like me and they're all friendly, a little overweight (some horribly so) and willing to engage in conversation. I chat with an elderly gentleman as he pours himself a coffee. I long to see him again just so I can say, "Hey, old timer!" Perhaps he won't take too kindly to it.

Breakfast is a self-service set-up offering the usual stuff, but for some reason I'm not enjoying it as much as I should be, although I should be elated as Sunday is my only day off. Today, as I write this, at 0539hrs on Monday 8th May, it's day one of a big convention I'm attending. In other words, the work starts today.

Crossing the railroad. I love those diesel engines...
I walk into town, it takes about 20 minutes along Demonbreun, over the freeway, over the railroad track where huge trains, so ugly they're beautiful, pull endless trucks of coal or graffitti-daubed containers carrying unknown cargo. It's a straight road, the sun is shining, the skies are blue and there are people jogging.

As I walk I discover a bike share scheme, the same one as in San Antonio so I check it out with a view to a ride, but as always when I first encounter a rack of bikes for rent, it's difficult to understand how to release one. I need a zip code, which I don't have, so I move on into the downtown, which hasn't really come alive yet; it will later, though, as there's an ice hockey game and the city will become flooded with Predators fans in their bright yellow shirts.

The Cumberland River, Nashville
Occasionally I see the odd bum looking particularly down-in-the-dumps but not bothering anybody. I take a few photographs and wander about and then link up with my colleague and we continue to wander around, looking in to shop windows, peeping around the doorways of shops that sell tatty souvenirs and wonder what to do. This continues until lunch time when we end up in Nashville's Hard Rock Café. Here I find an amazing beer: Tailgate's peanut butter stout, so good I order two of them along with Norwegian salmon fillet, mashed potato and green beans. I was slightly annoyed about the ID policy at the Hard Rock (you need to show ID before you can order alcohol) even if, like me, you don't look underage. I didn't have ID but they waivered it and all was well, but when we went back in later I had my passport just in case. On the second occasion I order a burger, which is not, in retrospect, at all good. I won't be having it again, but then I doubt I'll eat in the Hard Rock for a third time.

The hotel pool – that water is very, very cold...
As the day progresses the streets fill with yellow shirts, there are live bands in virtually every bar and the feeling is one of carnival. Nashville is known as the music city, there are museums of country music and every other store front is a live music venue. Groups of people, mostly in yellow shirts mill up and down the main street ahead of the game and we decide to part company and meet up later at the convention centre.

View from room 507 – a skip and a half-finished condo block. 
I take advantage of the good weather, take my book and sit by the poolside debating whether to take the plunge. While the weather is now hot the pool is not heated and it takes me a little while to slowly acclimatise, but I do and end up swimming a dozen or so lengths before drying and sitting on a sun lounger reading Hotels of North America by Rick Moody. It's very good.

Walking towards Nashville's downtown early Sunday 7th May 2017
The sun is hot and I am a little 'tanned' as a result but that doesn't stop me moseying on up to the room to change and head down town where we end up in the Hard Rock for our second visit. I'm feeling tired by the end of the meal and decide to walk back to my hotel – a good 20-minute walk – for an early night.

I write a lot of hotel and restaurant reviews on Trip Advisor, which can be read by clicking here.

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