What an incredible day. We had breakfast at a diner called Arcade. It’s the oldest café in Memphis and one of the places that Elvis himself used to visit! (It was also obviously a Man vs. Food place, as there were a few photos of Adam Richman at the checkout). We had a quick look at the Civil Rights museum afterwards, which was surprisingly sad (even if I had to be reminded of who Martin Luther King was). There was an awesome Dodge parked out front too.
From there we went to Graceland – the place I’ve been waiting for this whole time. We started off with a walking tour around Graceland itself. We got a shuttle up to the estate and were given individual headsets to listen to information around the tour. The house was really incredible. Some of it was so gaudy and crazy and ridiculous… Like a jungle themed room, mirrored ceilings, tapestry walls, etc. I loved it all. It just screamed unorthodox rock star. We got to explore some of the grounds too – including the pasture for the horses, the racquetball room, the park front and the firing range. The upstairs to the house was kept closed out of respect.
The Graceland part of the tour ended with the meditation garden. Elvis had had it built as a quiet place to relax and think. It was also where he was laid to rest, along with both parents, his grandmother and a memorial to his stillborn twin brother. I did actually get a little teared up seeing Elvis’s grave. It’s such a sad place… The words on it were so beautiful too – one of the last lines read “God saw that he needed some rest and called him home to be with him”.
After that we checked out the automobile museum. That was so fucking awesome! My favourite was instantly the Stutz Blackhawk (1973 model). Black with red interior of course. That just suits me all over. It turned out to be one of Elvis’s favourites too, as well as the last one he ever drove through the Graceland gates, which was really quite sad. We checked out his two planes too. You could actually go on the Lisa Marie. Poshest plane ever – it even had gold-plated seatbelt buckles! (More of that gaudy celebrity flash I was talking about). We went round all the other tours, most of which were case displays with music and more information on the key points of his life.
Once the tours were all finished we hit the gift shop. I knew from the start that this was going to be one of my most expensive days and I wasn’t wrong. Including the ticket price I definitely spent over a hundred dollars. I got a shot glass, some gold record earrings and a gorgeous handbag (I know, right? A handbag! Me!) Me and Kel also bought our group’s photo pack between us, since we hadn’t actually had a photo of all of us together yet.
When we got to Nashville it was safe to say we were all a bit horrified to see our first hostel. Derek was in a room on his own (apparently with no window, like a cell), Adam and An were in separate rooms with strangers, and then the rest of us were together. We all agreed it was like being on a school trip. We all had bunk beds (which we even had to make ourselves) and we didn’t have any showers on our floor. And the bathrooms we did have were a trek away round the other side of the floor. This was embarrassing later on, but we’ll get to that. The one cute thing was that all the rooms were named after musical instruments and ours was called Cowbell! Appropriate for my cow love!
We went to the Wild Horse Saloon for tea. Nashville wasn’t a place I was originally majorly fussed on but man, was I wrong! It was huge and had a live band playing. The singer was called Craig Wayne Boyd. He was really great, not to mention pretty hot! He even did a cover of Achy Breaky Heart! Since when do I ever hear that played anywhere?
In between the band’s breaks we had instructors teaching us to line dance. The dance floor was huge, which worked out well because there were a LOT of people there. We’d all just finished learning the moves to one dance (even Adam and Derek joined in, get in the bath!) when we realised our food had arrived, so we didn’t get chance to put them all together. Annoyingly they then played some awesome songs whilst we were eating – including the Cupid Shuffle, Cotton Eye Joe and bloody Footloose! I was half tempted to leave my steak and cheese sandwich to go dance, but food still won out. Afterwards we then got to learn a dance called the Nashville Windup. It took me a while to get the hang of, but now I can’t wait to show off some moves!
From there we went for a drink in a bar called Legend’s Corner. They had a live band playing too, but it was all country and we didn’t know any of the songs. Jayda and Robyn stayed, whilst me, Kel and Tanya moved to a blues bar called B.B. King’s. That was much more like it. Heard some music we actually knew and had a bit of a bop to Robin Thicke. We also attempted to learn the crazy grinding/line dance to the ‘Wobble Song’. During this the clock struck twelve – I am officially no longer twenty-three! This also means no more using blink-182 as my theme song though. Sad times.
We got back and me and Kel went upstairs to try out the showers. I didn’t want to carry dirty underwear around with me, so I took them off in our room and went commando under my dress. I was very aware of it when we ran into people on the corridor, eek! After putting my cream on when I got back to the room I then had to trek round to find the toilets to wash my hands. I bumped into Derek both on the way there and back. I had no glasses on, my mad wet hobbit hair and crazy short pyjamas. Awkward, to say the least. I then had to try climbing up onto the top bunk in said pyjamas without flashing anyone. Not entirely sure if it worked… It’s all fun and games.