One of the coolest road trips we’ve ever taken – a musical pilgrimage that begins in Memphis, Tennessee, passes through Louisville, Kentucky, and culminates in Cleveland, Ohio and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 2,270 miles in 7 days, we covered a lot of ground, heard amazing music, experienced musical, cultural and architectural history, and ate and drank our way around a very special part of the USA. It’s a lot take in, so let’s focus here on part 1 of our journey.
Memphis has an authenticity about it, and it comes through in the welcoming warmth of the people who live there. We can’t recall a shuttle driver, bartender, Uber driver, waiter or waitress that didn’t serve as an ambassador to their beloved city. Every person we encountered had favorites, recommendations and stories to share, and made us feel right at home. It is a special place.
There was simply too much to see and do in the 3 days we had…but we did fit in a lot! Listed below, in no particular order, are the must-see, must-experience choices we made, and highly recommend to anyone and everyone who enjoys (what we consider) the good things in life.
It started with out our great tour of the south. To celebrate 30 amazing years of marriage, we wanted to begin in one of our favorite places on earth, the always happy and happening New Orleans. Second on our list was Nashville (a blog to come), where we wanted our fill of BBQ, Bourbon (I know its really Kentucky, but go with me on the alliteration) and Blues (of the Country sort).
OK, anyway, we knew a stop in between would be a must. Carla isn’t happy in the car that long. So, we’d detour to Memphis. We have a plan! I’m thinking, great, everything we want (the three B’s), and a lot of nights to get it all in.
But as we started Google mapping the route, it occurred to us that without adding much distance we could add an additional ‘B’ – Beach ! After the New Orleans nights and before the Nashville scene, we could get in some R & R for few days (and dry out a bit…LOL). The gulf shore would fit in perfectly, just head east before North. And through all the great choices, one stood out: Pensacola.
So here are the reasons we went, the reasons we loved it, the reasons to go back, and the reasons why you should consider it as well!
We’re thrilled to feature our first guest blogger, our dear friend Jean Devlin…sharing her travel adventures and stunning photography.
When it comes to foreign travel, I try to familiarize myself with basic words and phrases of the native language. My language acquisition hit some serious roadblocks when it came to Czech and the only word I could remember was pivo, which means beer. Fortunately, that really came in handy and better yet, most merchants and waitstaff speak decent English in the city.
Prague is a beautiful city that deserves a visit. Most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other, which is good because though the metro system is simple to navigate, trying to figure out how to pay for a ticket is extremely difficult. Personally, I’d rather be above ground, soaking in the sites instead of riding on a subway anyway. The Vlatva River divides Prague, with the Little Quarter and the Prague castle on one side of the river and the Old Town and New Town on the other.
The Charles Bridge is a beauty and not to be missed and we crossed over it many, many times during our visit. I’ll get into my observations on that later.
OK, so its pretty daunting to even try to write something unique about Rome. What hasn’t already been said about the eternal city? So, I’m just going to write about a few things that simply made me so happy I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world at that moment. And I can close my eyes and remember what it was that made the moments so special. Hopefully, you’ll find some some inspiration here if you’re going, plan to go, or can relate to if you’ve been. And you’ll close your eyes and relive some very special moments.
Our favorite Piazzas in Rome.
Top 7 Survival Tips: Travel with Your Grown Children
Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than time spent away, as a family, whatever age your children are. We all can relive some of our most cherished memories of family bonding and togetherness on vacations, weekends away, hikes, or just day trips. When you have your children all to yourselves, away from friends, electronic devices, and all the other distractions of daily life there are moments to tuck away forever.
Once they’re grown (ours are currently 27, 24 and 18), the moments become few and far between, whether they live at home (two of ours do) or around the world (our middle daughter currently lives in Thailand). So, a long awaited family reunion/vacation for us in Thailand was a simply unforgettable experience. The things we experienced together…from kayaking through sea caves in Phang Nga to private cooking classes in Chiang Mai…were made that much more special because we were together.
There is no debate: Instagram is having a profound affect on the travel industry. Now six years old, Instagram has more than 500 million active users sharing an average of 80 million photos a day. Influencers with large followings are being tapped by destinations worldwide to inspire those followers to visit. Some say it’s causing overcrowding of once undiscovered places, while other feel that tourism brings the awareness needed to protect those places.
In my humble opinion, the beautiful places of the world are meant to be shared and experienced. The special places we all dream about are not ours to own, though we need to find a way to responsibly share them with each other. Travel mindfully, respect the environment, and respect one another’s space, and keep seeking out those unexpected adventures that happen when we wander off the beaten path.
Now that that is said…here are a few of my favorite Instagramers that are inspiring me to grab my camera (or my phone) and get out there.
10 Reasons for Women to Travel Solo in their 50’s
We are honored to feature this post by Julie Beckers
(A Not So Young Woman Abroad) www.anotsoyoungwomanabroad.com
Julie Beckers is a travel blogger and writer from Melbourne, Australia. She loves sharing tips, interesting and juicy stories about her adventures, from witnessing a shooting in New York to stories about cheeky Frenchmen. Aimed at the not so young woman, Julie’s blog, “A Not So Young Woman Abroad” was born from her experiences as a solo traveller who has no desire to “do” any country much less be confined on a “guided” tour. Her blog has been awarded Top 100 Travel Blogs for 2016 and 2017.
For some women, the very thought of traveling solo can be daunting. For women in their 50’s who have never travelled on their own, the thought of solo travel can be down right terrifying. For me it’s the only way to go.
Have a seat at Elvis’s piano at RCA Studio B
The historic places we visit connect us with the past. Ancient ruins, battlefields, museums, and landscapes unchanged over centuries. Art and music in particular can transport us back in time. And the emotional connections we feel with the artist is expressed through the medium they choose. Its a moving, inner connection that we feel deep inside.
Well, I actually had such a moment in Nashville Tennessee. And if you’ve ever been, in general, its a whole big hunk of fun, just join right in and get carried away. The party starts in the early afternoon and just keeps going till the neon on main street light up the night. So much great live music all in one place, a shot of whiskey and a cold beer and we’re all one big, happy family.
The Country Music Hall of Fame is a day-long experience, that takes you through the history of an American institution. They offer three tours: the Hall of Fame itself, Hatch Show Print (the working letterpress print shop that makes iconic show posters – highly recommended) and the Historic RCA Studio Studio B tour.
Ahhh, Nawlins niightlife…if you’ve been, you know what we’re talking about. From the elegant historic restaurants, Preservation Hall Jazz, to over-the-top, anything goes, party-all-night Bourbon Street, it’s all there. And everyone’s invited…
But during those sultry days of exploring the alleys and architecture in the French Quarter, there’s nothing quite like enjoying the classic watering holes, offering cool, refreshing, specialty cocktails and local delicacies in one-of-a-kind gathering places where you’ll share your adventures with new friends on both sides of the bar. Here are our top five: