Well, we have arrived back at our abode and are now enjoying a good old cup of tea for Si and a cappuccino for moi. I only had one the whole time we were away!
Atlanta Airport is very nice but it’s huge and was extremely busy. Our flight was, once again, completely full. We arrived back at Heathrow an hour ahead of schedule but they wouldn’t let us land and so had to circle for about 45 minutes, eventually arriving on the stand one minute before our original scheduled time!
At least we were very quickly through Immigration, because we have the bio-metric passports so we can use the e-passport gates. You just put the passport on the glass and hey presto you’re through. Even our cases arrived quickly. We met our driver and where home within about an hour.
I am pleased to report that for the first time in like ages, our suitcases had not been opened and checked by U.S. Security! Hooray!
The one bad thing about holidays is having to unpack the suitcases and get all the washing on the go. A good lesson there not to take too much in the first place!
We’ve had another great time in the good ol’ U.S. of A, met some wonderful new people and connected again with some old friends, namely Denise and Desiree. We saw some memorable things, suffered in extreme heat and humidity but it was all worthwhile. We drove 1416 miles this year, so not many compared with previous holidays.
It’s time to say ‘farewell’ once again, to sign off the blog for another year and to thank you all for travelling with us and for the comments you posted. It’s always good to know that it’s not just us reading it!
So, until we all meet again, we would just like to say, as always, ………………..
arrivederci, adeus, hejdå, 再见, zoi geen, zai jian, tot ziens, au revoir, tschüss, shalom, ciao, じゃね, anyeonghi gasyeo, poka/Пока, adios, hejdå, tạm biệt, vΘleft, farvel, ya sas, tókša akhé
Surprise, surprise, I didn’t think I’d get to write the blog today but as we arrived at the airport in plenty of time and there’s free wifi I thought I would make use of the time and get it done.
We checked out of our hotel this morning at the latest time we could 12.00, because our flight tonight isn’t until 10.10 p.m.
It was another glorious day and the drive was very pleasant. We decided that we would stop for lunch once we found a Cracker Barrel (CB). We had to drive a couple of hours before we found one but I saw the CB sign from way, way down the road and shouted at the top of my voice ‘Cracker Barrel’. I shouted so loud that Margaret (sat nav) asked me to speak my instructions. It was so funny!
Sadly, this one was not ‘up to scratch’. The service was awful! With CB you can be in eat and out in a jiffy but today it took well over an hour.
The food was good though. Si had his shrimp and I decided that as it was the final day of our holiday that I could ‘let myself go’ a little and I had a burger with cheese and fries! It was just fabulous. We ordered an apple dessert but the poor young waitress who was under great stress got all flustered and delivered us a cobbler with cream and ice-cream. It was huge and we didn’t manage to eat it all.
Si with his shrimp
Sand with her naughty burger!
On the table they have a little game that customers can play while they wait for their food. It’s a form of solitaire!! We both had a go but of course after a few tries Si managed to win the game. Well he would, wouldn’t he!! Bless!!
It was more or less a straight drive here to Atlanta Airport but at the last moment dear Margaret (sat nav), rather let herself down and started giving us instructions in all the wrong direction. Luckily, the signage was very good so we were able to follow that instead.
Road to Atlanta
Saw this interesting water tower along the way!
Town of Effingham!
When we arrived at the Avis Car Rental Returns we were met by a very pleasant young man who found great delight in telling us that his first foster Mum was English and how he loved our trifle, roast beef and yorkshire pudding and what fantastic cooks the British are! Crumbs, that’s a first, most Americans think our food is just awful.
It was a quick trip on the bus to the airport terminal and we waited anxiously whilst they weighed the cases!! I’m very proud to say that both cases weighed in just under our allowance!! Hooray!
For the regular blog followers you’ll know that whenever we come on holiday we usually end up purchasing an extra suitcase to accommodate all the purchases we’ve made during our travels. Well, we didn’t buy a suitcase this time but we did buy a back pack instead to take the extra load. I’ve made a note that the next time we come on holiday to remember to pack a back pack for all those ‘little extras.’ We must have six at home already!!
Thing is, the backpack is quite heavy and poor Si’s ended up carrying two, the new one and his camera bag! Hey ho!
After the bag weighing we made our way to Homeland Security and there was the biggest queue we’ve ever seen at an airport. It must have taken us 30 minutes just to get through. They use the full body scanner here. I made sure to hold my stomach in so as not to give the poor person watching the scanner a shock!
So, we’ve purchased all the nibbles to take on board. Although they give you things to eat and drink there are times when one just needs a few of their favourite things.
The flight coming out from Heathrow was an hour shorter than expected so we are hoping that the 8 hours 10 minutes back will just be 7 hours 10 minutes instead.
The weather forecast for tomorrow looks good so fingers crossed we won’t need the wet gear!
I suddenly remembered a couple of things I forgot to write in the blog yesterday!
First, do you know what they call peanuts in South Carolina? Answer: Goobers!
Secondly, there’s a house in Savannah called the Juliette Gordon Low (JGL) house that is open to the public. The owner was a very interesting lady and I wanted to tell you about her.
JGL was born in Savannah in 1860 and died in 1927. She was the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. After her husband died she travelled to Scotland and met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement. They shared a love of travel and support of the Girl Guides. In August 1911, JGL became involved with the Girl Guides, an offshoot of the Boy Scouts for girls that was headed by Agnes Baden-Powell, Sir Robert Baden Powell’s sister. JGL joined the Girl Guide movement, forming a group of Girl Guides in Scotland in 1911.
In 1912, JGL and Baden-Powell took a trip to the United States to spread the scouting movement. She hoped to spread the movement to her hometown, Savannah, as a way to help girls learn practical skills and build character. She formed the first American Girl Guide troop in Savannah, Georgia that year. In 1915 the United States’ Girl Guides became known as the Girl Scouts and JGL was the first president. She stayed active until the time of her death.
First of all let me just say that some of you may have noticed the blog is missing its sidebar! Why, goodness only knows. I’ll work on that when I get home. I think the humidity has affected it somehow!!
Well, goodness, gracious, I’ve just published this post and the sidebar’s back!! Who knows how long it will stay!?
So, today was our final full day here in Savannah. As the day was forecast to be hot and humid again we decided to spend the day visiting the Savannah History Museum and then the Georgia State Railroad Museum Historic Site rounding off with a walk back to our hotel to make sure Si had as many photos as possible and then finishing off for dinner again at The Olde Pink House.
We walked to the Museums and along the way we came across this brass statue of Johnny Mercer. In 1961, he wrote the lyrics to “Moon River” for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Sand and Johnny Mercer
The Savannah History Museum allows you to walk through the city’s history from 1733, spanning the American Revolution and Civil War, all the way to today! It was very interesting with one item in particular being of great interest, that was ………………. the bus bench from Forrest Gump.
The Georgia State Railroad was constructed in 1853 by the Central of Georgia Railway before the outbreak of the American Civil War and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
The complex is considered the most complete antebellum railroad complex in the United States. The historic railroad structures at the site include a partial roundhouse with operating turntable, partial machine shop, Tender Frame Shop, Blacksmith Shop, Boiler House, Storehouse and Print Shop, Lumber and Planning Sheds, Coach and Paint Shops, and a partial Carpentry Shop.
Turntable at the museum. We rode on the train!
Sand on the train at the museum
Si on the train too – looking thoughtful!
After that we stopped for lunch at The Six Pence Pub again and this time I tried their Cottage Pie. It was very good, just needed a little more gravy. Si had crab cakes.
On the way back and as it was rather hot, we jumped on the tour bus again to take us to Forsyth Park so that Si could photograph the famous fountain. The fountain was added to the park in 1858 and is reminiscent of fountains in the Place de la Concorde in Paris and in Cuzco, Peru.
Sand in Forsyth Park
We arrived at our stop to get off and who was getting on the bus but Forrest himself!! Well, obviously not the real one but a guy just like him. He was so funny.
Forrest Gump on our tour bus!
Sand with Forrest
For those who have seen the film, right at the start it shows a feather falling from a steeple. This is the steeple it is supposed to have fallen from.
Steeple from Forrest Gump
One of the carriages showing people around Savannah
Around Savannah we’ve seen a lot of these fish downpipes on many mansions, they are supposed to be considered good luck!
So, we had dinner at The Old Pink House again! They sat us in the ballroom but it was packed and so noisy we couldn’t hear each other so they moved us to a much smaller, quieter room. The meal was lovely. Si had fillet mignon and I had pecan-crusted chicken breast followed by blueberry pie and ice-cream.
Si with his fillet mignon
Sand with her pecan-crusted chicken
Si with his blueberry pie
And Sand with her’s!
Tomorrow we drive back to Atlanta and then fly home to Heathrow so there will be no post tomorrow. The next time you’ll hear from us will be ‘across the pond.’ See you on Friday!
Well, we thought it would never stop raining but it did! The day started grey and overcast but in no time at all the sun came out and it was hot and humid again.
Brief history of Savannah coming up!
The city of Savannah, Georgia, was established in 1733. It is known as America’s first planned city and attracts millions of visitors, who enjoy the city’s architecture and historic structures. Savannah’s downtown area is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States (designated in 1966).
The Yamacraws, a Native American tribe, were the first known people to settle in and around Savannah. In the 18th century, under their leader Tomochichi, they met the newly arriving European settlers.
In November 1732 the ship, Anne, sailed from Britain carrying 114 colonists, including General James Oglethorpe. On February 12, 1733, after a brief stay at Charles Town, South Carolina, Oglethorpe and his settlers landed at Yamacraw Bluff and, in an example of some of the earliest “Southern hospitality”, were greeted by Tomochici, the Yamacraws, and John and Mary Musgrave, Indian traders. The city of Savannah was founded on that date, along with the Province of Georgia. Because of the friendship between Oglethorpe and Tomochici, Savannah was able to flourish unhindered by the warfare that marked the beginnings of many early American colonies.
The city was laid out in 1733 around four open squares, each surrounded by four residential blocks and four civic blocks. The layout of a square and eight surrounding blocks was known as a “ward.” The original plan (now known as the Oglethorpe Plan) allowed for growth of the city and thus expansion of the grid; additional squares were added during the 18th and 19th centuries, and by 1851 there were 24 squares in the city. In the 20th century, three of the squares were demolished or altered beyond recognition, leaving 21. In 2010, one of the three “lost” squares, Ellis, was reclaimed. Most of Savannah’s squares are named in honor or in memory of a person, persons or historical event, and many contain monuments, markers, memorials, statues, plaques, and other tributes.
Here ends the history lesson!
So, this morning after a quick visit to the Post Office we visited some of the squares and one of which was Chippewa square. The square was named for the Battle of Chippewa and is famous for Forrest Gump’s bus bench. The bench was actually a Hollywood prop and has since been moved to the Savannah Visitor Centre. Also, this diner is where Jenny was working when she heard about Forrest’s run across America.
Forrest Gump at Chippewa Square
Brown Thrasher (thanks to Desiree and Denise)
Denise and Desiree, can you name the bird?
The Owens-Thomas House is a historic home and museum is on the northeast corner of Oglethorpe Square and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, as one of the nation’s finest examples of English Regency architecture.
We also walked down to the water front and saw this huge container ship. At one point we feared for the bridge of the ship as we felt there was no way he was going to make it under the bridge, but of course he did!
Sand on the river walk
On our travels this morning we came across two lovely children with their Mum selling homemade lemonade in aid of a cat charity. We purchased two glasses and told them we would include them in today’s blog. The lemonade was just what we needed, cold and very refreshing. So, Rafi, Lila and Mum Michelle, here you are!
Michelle, Lila and Rafi selling their homemade lemonade!
Today, I think for the first time on our trip we had lunch!! We happened across The Six Pence pub, together with the red British phone box outside, so decided that was the place to eat. The food was delicious. Listed on the menu was ‘Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie) made from beef! We felt it our duty to point out that actually ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ is made from lamb and Cottage Pie from beef. I think they had probably been told that a few hundred times from visiting Brits! To make up for a lack of food photos recently Si took this pic.
Sand at The Six Pence Pub (do you like my crown?)
After lunch we decided to do a bus tour and spent a couple of hours being driven around the historic squares by our tour guide, Anna. She’s only been doing the job for a couple of weeks but she was very good and had us all in stitches.
Anna our tour guide
This evening for dinner we went to The Olde Pink House, Savannah’s only 18th Century Mansion which just happens to be situated next door to our hotel. It’s one of Savannah’s most popular restaurants, offering new southern cuisine in a sophisticated, yet casual setting. The food was excellent and we enjoyed it so much we are going back again tomorrow night for dinner!
The Olde Pink House restaurant
Si with his soft shell crabs
Sand and her flounder!
Si and Sand with their puds!
Tomorrow is our last day in Savannah before we head back to Atlanta on Thursday for our flight home. The weather is set fair so please join us again for our last day’s adventures.
Another hot, humid day ……………….. this morning it was about 95º with humidity supposed to be at 99%. I can certainly confirm about the humidity, we were all drenched during our walk around Charleston.
We met Denise and Desiree for breakfast and then headed into Charleston. It’s such a beautiful city and the historic houses/buildings are magnificent.
Charleston, the South Carolina city founded in 1670, is defined by its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel pre-Civil-War-era houses, particularly in the bustling French Quarter and Battery areas. The Battery promenade and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston Harbor, while Fort Sumter, a Federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water.
We’ve had another lovely day full of laughter, fun and lots of photo-taking. We were so pleased to be able to soak our feet in this lovely fountain, it was very cooling.
Sand and Desiree cooling their feet!
Here are some of today’s photos:
Si and the Gals
Weavers at the Market
Historic homes in Charleston
King Street, Charleston
Kids cooling off
When we first visited Charleston some 20-odd years ago we stayed at a hotel called The Omni, it was lovely. The hotel is still there but under a different name now but we re-visited it just to take another look at its magnificent staircase and chandelier.
The gals are on their way home now to North Carolina. Safe trip ladies and we hope to see you in good ‘ol blighty very soon.
At last some food pics! We decided to eat early today so had Sunday brunch at the hotel.
Si with his roast beef! Makes a change from shrimp and pork belly!
Nothing quite like a good Sunday roast!
Tomorrow we move on to Savannah, another very historic city. See you there!
Well, we were told today was going to be hotter than yesterday and boy, were they right!! It’s been a scorcher and very humid. It felt as though we’d done a three-hour spin class, the humidity was so bad. But hey, we are British, we can cope with just about anything!
Si had us up and out early to visit Charleston for him to take photos and me to ‘do a little shopping.’
Sand at the U.S. Custom House
Si managed a few photos, including accidentally wondering into a fashion photo-shoot for a magazine that was taking place at the U.S. Custom House. The lady in charge wasn’t happy about Si taking pics and actually put her hand over his camera! What! I don’t think so. Si pointed out to her that we were in a public place and he could take whatever photos he liked and he did. This is one of them ……….. very nice too!
After our photo and spending expedition we headed back to the hotel to meet up with Denise and Desiree. We’ve had a fantastic day together.
First of all we visited Middleton Place, which is a plantation built in several phases during the 18th and 19th centuries. The plantation was the primary residence of several generations of the Middleton family, many of whom played prominent roles in the colonial and antebellum history of South Carolina. The plantation is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States.
In 1865, toward the end of the U.S. Civil War, Union soldiers burned most of the house, leaving only the south wing and gutted walls of the north wing and main house. An earthquake in 1886 toppled the walls of the main house and north wing. The restoration of Middleton Place began in 1916 when Middleton descendant John Julius Pringle Smith (1887–1969) and his wife Heningham began several decades of meticulously rebuilding the plantation’s gardens.
Denise at Middleton Place
Desiree at Middleton Place taking that perfect shot!
The plantation is home to various animals including horses, goats, pigs, sheep and lambs, water buffalo (newly discovered records show that Middleton Place imported water buffalo from Constantinople in the late 18th century, the first in the United States), beautiful peacocks and a guinea fowl. We also saw a small alligator in a pond and a gecko. Animals in abundance today!
Alligator at Middleton Place
Gecko at Middleton Place
Goat at Middleton Place
Peacock at Middleton Place
The peacock display was amazing. It occurs to me that I have never seen a peacock, feathers extended, from behind! Well that was a wrong put right today and I have to say what a magnificent view it is too. Also, when feeling threatened he did a magnificent job of vibrating his feathers!
This evening on the recommendation of one of Desiree’s friends we went for dinner at The Glass Onion just down the road from our hotel. The restaurant describes itself as ‘Upbeat spot serving refined, locally sourced soul-food favorites in charming environs.’ Well, it was lovely and the food was great. For some reason and for the third day running, I forgot to take photos of our food! What on earth is going on? I think I’ve become a little too laid back. I send my apologies to some of our blog readers who consider this an important part of the blog.
Desiree, Denise and us two at The Glass Onion
Luckily, Desiree was ‘on the ball’ and brought this oversight to my attention. She saved the day by taking a photo of Si and I eating our bread pudding dessert. Thank you Desiree. I will endeavour to get ‘back on track’ tomorrow.
Me and Si with our bread pudding …. delicious!
For the record, this evening Si and I had fried green tomatoes to start, whilst Denise and Desiree had the water melon salad (we tried that too and it was delicious), Si then partook of ribeye steak and I had Spanish mackerel, followed by us sharing the bread pudding. Denise had shrimp and grits, well she’s a southern gal, whilst Desiree had a ribeye too and both then shared key lime pie.
Some of you will remember that earlier in the blog I was asking what all the fuss was about grits! Well, Denise was telling us that we should be ordering shrimp and grits as they are a totally different ‘kettle of fish.’ We are still not convinced but she’s going to send me the recipe so that we can give them a try.
It’s a miracle that this blog is being written today because after wine with dinner and then Disaronno with my coffee I’m feeling a trifle fatigued!
It’s been a lovely day and tomorrow after breakfast we are all heading into Charleston for some site-seeing and photography. Fingers crossed it will be a little cooler than today! See you all tomorrow!
Boy, was it hot and humid today! I felt sure we would expire in the heat. The day started well but didn’t finish as we had expected!
For our first full day in Charleston we decided to visit Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens. It is one of America’s oldest working, living plantations and has been continually growing crops for over 320 years.
More history coming up!
The earliest known reference to the site is of 1681. It originated from a land grant given to Major John Boone. The land grant of 470 acres was given by Theophilus Patey as a wedding present to his daughter, Elizabeth, and Boone. The original wooden house was constructed in 1790. The house was a two-story, wooden house with a one-story front porch.
This photograph was taken in about 1900 and shows the former house on the grounds.
The house that stands now was built in 1936 by Thomas Stone, a Canadian who purchased the land in the early 20th century. He wanted a “grander style” home than what was there, so he built the Colonial Revival-style house.
On the grounds today, besides the house, sit nine of the original slave cabins which date back to 1790-1810, a smoke house dating back to 1750, the Cotton Gin house 1853 and the grand Avenue of Oaks that was created in 1743 by Major Boone’s son, Captain Thomas Boone. He planted two evenly spaced rows of trees and it has taken 200 years for the trees to meet overhead to form the present-day scenic corridor. He was a man with great vision as he knew that he would not be alive to see his work come to fruition. In fact he died just three years after planting the trees. The live oak trees run 3/4 of a mile long from the entrance to the front house gates. Boone Hall Plantation today spans 738 acres. The oldest oak on the plantation is 600 years old.
Cotton gin (under restoration)
There have been many owners over the years including English, German, Georgian, Canadians and Americans. Mr Harris M. McRae and his wife, Nancy Thomas purchased the property in 1955 and opened the plantation to the public in 1957 and have made great efforts to preserve the original structures and gardens.
Boone Hall and gardens
Avenue of live oaks planted in 1743
Si and Sand at Boone Hall
Sand at Boone Hall
There are various tours and presentations on the plantation but one of the favourites of visitors is the one called ‘Exploring the Gullah Culture’ a unique culture adapted by African slaves.
“Gullah” is a term that was originally used to designate the variety of English spoken by Gullah and Geechee people, but over time it has been used by its speakers to formally refer to their language and distinctive ethnic identity as a people.
Singing a Gullah song
Boone Hall has appeared in a number of films and TV programmes, notably the film, The Notebook, TV series North and South and Alex Hayley’s Queen. Also, the avenue of oaks at Boone Hall were used for the oak trees at Twelve Oaks, the Wilkes family in Gone With The Wind.
Boone Hall holds on average three weddings a week and they were preparing for one today. Also, another newly married couple came to have their wedding pictures taken there too.
The bride and groom!
The wedding venue by the river
We left Boone Hall in beautiful sunshine, but just ten minutes down the road drove into another storm the same as yesterday’s. Jet black sky, torrential rain, thunder and lightening. To make things worse, we suddenly had a notification in the car that there was a fault with the engine and service was needed now!!!! Charming, here we go again!!
Luckily there was an Avis facility close by so we drove there to discover it was a Sears Auto and not an actual Avis Rental office. They said the car would have to be changed over. The only problem was they had two cars of similar type but they were of a lower spec to the one we were driving so we turned both of those down. Eventually, they offered us the only other vehicle available which was a Nissan Infinity of a very high spec. I don’t think the guy was particularly happy giving us that one but he agreed to. Fingers crossed we don’t have any further problems or Avis will be receiving a very strong letter from us.
So, a very stressful ending to a lovely day. Tomorrow we meet up with Denise and Desiree and we are told it’s going to be even hotter than today!! Where’s that cool towel to mop my fevered brow!!??
So, some days you just don’t know how things are going to pan out and today was just one of those days!
Today was a driving day, from Gatlinburg to Charleston, with the drive scheduled to take about five hours. However, that five hours turned into eight hours due to a slight diversion!
I’ve been meaning to post a pic of the current ‘beast’ and this is it.
The ‘Beast’ – at least I can get in and out of this one without the need for a ladder!!
It all started when we had been driving for about an hour when I happened to pick up Si’s mobile and noticed that he had an email from a lady called Denise. Now who’s Denise you may ask and I will tell you!
Some of you will know that Si’s a member of Flickr (the photography site) and way back in May 2012 one of Si’s friends on Flickr, Denise, won the landscape picture of the year in the Sony World Photographer of the Year Competition (sorry Denise if I haven’t got that 100% correct!) and together with her sister Desiree, they were both coming to London so that Denise could collect her prize and her photograph was to be shown in an exhibition at the same time and Si and I went to London to meet them both.
Now both ladies live in North Carolina and when they knew we would be visiting this part of the world said they would drive down to meet up with us here in Charleston and I’m very excited to say that this will be happening this Saturday.
Well, back to my story. The email this morning was from Denise and as she knows I’m a movie buff, was telling us that if we didn’t mind a little deviation from our planned route to Charleston, that we would be within driving distance of ………………….. heads up you Hunger Games fans …………… the location that was used as District 12 in The Hunger Games!! Well, what were we to do, of course we deviated from our route and went immediately to Hildebran in North Carolina to check it out. I am pleased to report that I am now the proud owner of a District 12 Tribute t-shirt! Am I a happy bunny or what!!??
Sand at Peeta Mellark’s Family Bakery
Sand at Peeta’s bakery
House in District 12 of The Hunger Games
House in District 12
Thank you Denise.
The drive from Gatlinburg went through the Foothills Parkway, a very lovely area.
We’ve been a little worried about how the weather was going to be as Tropical Storm Bonnie touched down here earlier in the week and caused flash flooding. Fingers crossed, it all seems okay now although on the way here we had a scary ten minutes as we drove through the most horrendous storm. There was thunder, lightening and the rain was so heavy and hard that cars were pulling over until it passed. However, our British bull dog spirit endured and forced us to carry on regardless! Thankfully, the rest of the trip was dry and sunny.
We are now ensconced in our hotel and looking forward to exploring Charleston over the next few days.
We were up and out early again today ………………… I’m so looking forward to a lie in tomorrow! Today was our last here in the National Park.
We were saying how we hadn’t seen any wildlife during our stay here, well today that all changed! We’ve seen some wild turkeys, an elk and a groundhog, although we couldn’t get a photo of the groundhog.
Elk enjoying a meal
– Eastern Bluebird
Driving through the Park today we saw this fog bank below us in the valleys.
Our first port of call today was Mingo Falls on the Cherokee Indian Reservation (Qualla Boundary), just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At 120 feet tall, the waterfall is one of the tallest and most spectacular in the southern Appalachians. The hike to the waterfall is a round trip of only 0.4 miles in length, but is considered moderate in difficulty. Unlike the hike to Rainbow Falls we did on Monday, someone had been thoughtful enough to lay 161 concrete steps for most of the way to the Falls so making it a much easier climb. These Falls were magnificent and more than made up for the disappointment with Rainbow Falls.
Some of the steps to Mingo Falls
Si and Sand at Mingo Falls (this pic was taken by a very tall man!)
Our next visit was to the Mountain Farm Museum. The Museum is a collection of historic log buildings gathered from throughout the Smoky Mountains and preserved on a single site. Buildings include a house, barn, applehouse, springhouse, and smokehouse.
John E. Davis house at the Mountain Farm Museum – began in 1899 and took two years to build from chestnut trees. A family of nine eventually lived here!
In the late 1920s, the states of North Carolina and Tennessee began buying the land that they would deed to the nation to become Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Although most of the land was owned by timber companies, more than 1,200 families also had to sell their land and homes for the creation of the new national park.
Side view of the John E. Davis house. That’s the kitchen the left
Inside the John E. Davis house
Hinge made from an old horseshoe at the Museum in the Blacksmith’s shop
The Mountain Farm Museum is part of an effort to preserve some of the cultural heritage of the Smokies. The buildings most dating from about 1900, were moved from their original locations throughout the Smokies to this site to create an open-air museum.
Sand at the John E. Davis house
Our final visit today was to Mingus Mill. Built in 1886, this historic grist mill (grinds grain into flour) uses a water-powered turbine instead of a water wheel to power all of the machinery in the building. It still stands at its original site. It was the largest in the Smokies and its wooden flume that carries the water to the Mill is 200 feet long.
The wooden flume
Part of the wooden flume
Sand on the bridge at Mingus Mill
I’m afraid to say that we do not have any food photos tonight! I think everything’s catching up with us ………….. we actually forgot to take pics! For those who like to know these things, Si had fillet steak with ribs and I had filet steak. Everything was delicious. We went again to the Texas Roadhouse.
Thanks for travelling with us through the Smokies, see you tomorrow in Charleston.
We were up before the ‘cock’s crow’ this morning as we were bound for Clingmans Dome here in the Park and wanted to get there before the crowds.
It was Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S. and it has been extremely busy in Gatlinburg and although most of the crowds have all gone home, it’s still holiday time for lots of people some schools have ‘broken up’ for the summer.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934 and there isn’t one straight road in the whole Park. The road to the dome is no exception, it’s like riding a roller coaster twisting right and left the whole way. Just the thing for someone who suffers from motion sickness!!!
A ‘dome’ in Smoky Mountain vernacular is a “rounded mountain or ridge top.” Clingman’s Dome is 6.643 feet above sea level, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains and the third highest summit east of the Mississippi River. A paved, but very steep trail, gaining 330 feet in elevation in a half-mile, leads to a concrete observation tower to the top of the dome. During good weather the view from the tower encompasses a seemingly endless sea of mountain ridges and valleys. The tower provides a panoramic view of 360 degrees and offers a look at the whole of the Great Smoky Mountains and beyond, including five states. It holds the distinction of being the highest point along the Appalachian Trail, a 2,174 miles footpath that runs from Georgia to Maine.
Sand on the Appalachian Trail
The area is made up of Fraser fir trees and this is one of the few areas in the world where they grow wild. Unfortunately, the firs are being attacked by a tiny non-native insect called the balsam woolly adelgid, believed to have been introduced from Europe in the 1950s.
Smoky Mountains from Clingmans Dome
The tower at Clingmans Dome
We met a lovely young man called Thomas from Belgium at the dome. He’s walking part of the Appalachian Trial and then will be meeting his sister in Charleston and travelling on to Savannah. As that mirrors our itinerary there’s every chance we may meet him again!
Si and Sand at the tower on Clingmans Dome
Si and Sand at Clingmans Dome
Our next port of call was the Cherokee Heritage Museum in the town of Cherokee. We met some people on our Coca-Cola tour who told us this was a place not to miss and they were right.
At the Cherokee Museum
It tells the story of 13,000 years of Cherokee history. The Cherokee were the original inhabitants of the Great Smoky region. All of the southern Appalachians were once the Cherokee homeland. In the 1800s, the increasing westward movement of white settlers, coupled with fraudulent treaties with state and federal governments and the discovery of gold in Georgia, led to an escalation of conflicts. At his inauguration, President Andrew Jackson presented a plan for the removal of Native Americans to western territories (now Oklahoma) and in 1830 Congress pass the Indian Removal Act.
In May 1838, Federal troops and state militias began a brutal roundup of the Cherokee for a forced match, now known as “The Trail of Tears,” to unknown western territories.
The Museum was very thought provoking and when we had finished we decided our morale needed a little boosting so stopped off at the Cherokee Casino Resort. Well, we would wouldn’t we! It turned out to be very profitable and one of the Monopoly machines was very generous indeed!
As we are now a week into our holiday we felt it was time to right a wrong …….. Si hasn’t had any ribs yet and regular followers of the blog will know how Si likes his ribs! So, we went to Calhoun’s Restaurant here in Gatlinburg because according to them they have the “best ribs in the USA.” It turns out this could be true, Si said they were excellent.
Si’s ribs (not the best photo in the world ….. no 10 for this one!)
We started the meal with fried green tomatoes. We don’t see them on menus very often, in fact we’ve only had them once before. I’m sure you will all remember the film ‘Fried Green Tomatoes‘ and if you don’t then please get a copy immediately and enjoy. It’s a wonderful film.
I must say that I had the most wonderful beverage, well two actually, called Tito’s Mountain Mule. They were made up of handmade vodka, house made ginger ale, muddled lime and fresh mint. They were magnificent and when followed by Disaronno it’s a miracle this blog is being written tonight!!
Sand and that drink, Oh dear, by the look on my face I think this must be the second one!!
Tomorrow is our last day in the Great Smokies before moving on to Charleston so please join us again as this part of our holiday comes to an end.
There’s nothing I like more than a day spent soaking up history and that’s just what we’ve doing today at Cades Cove in the National Park.
Cases Cove is an 11 mile driving loop ………………. those 11 miles took us 4.5 hours to complete! At least it wasn’t as exhausting as yesterday’s hike!
Cades Cove is an isolated valley located in the Tennessee section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The valley was home to numerous settlers before the formation of the national park. Today Cades Cove, the single most popular destination for visitors to the park, attracts more than two million visitors a year because of its well preserved homesteads, scenic mountain views, and abundant display of wildlife.
Today’s history lesson coming up!!
For most of its history Cades Cove has been a place to visit. But for more than 100 years it also was a great place to live and before that, starting no one knows how long ago, Native Americans visited the cove. They hunted for food, deer, elk, bison and bears. Cherokees camped and hunted in the Cove for weeks, perhaps months, at a time but there is no evidence that they ever lived there.
The Cove was first settled in 1821 by about eight families and the graves of the early settlers can be seen today in the local graveyards.
John Oliver and his wife Lurena Frazier were the first permanent European settlers in Cades Cove in 1818 and were accompanied by Joshua Jobe, who had initially persuaded them to settle there. While Jobe returned to Carter County, the Olivers stayed, struggling through the winter and subsisting on dried pumpkin given to them by friendly Cherokees. Jobe returned in the Spring of 1819 with a herd of cattle in tow, and gave the Olivers two milk cows to ease their complaints.
John Oliver’s Cabin
Primitive Baptist Church settled by some of the earliest settlers in 1827
Methodist Church – the original was built in 115 days for $115 in the 1820s. This one replaced it in 1902.
Gravestones of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and John Oliver and his wife, the first European Settlers of Cades Cove
In 1821, William “Fighting Billy” Tipton bought up large tracts of Cades Cove which he in turn sold to his sons and relatives, and settlement began to boom. In the 1820s, Peter Cable, a farmer of German descent, arrived in the cove and designed an elaborate system of dykes and sluices that helped drain the swampy lands in the western part of the cove. In 1827, Daniel Foute opened the Cades Cove Bloomery Forge to fashion metal tools. Robert Shields arrived in 1835 and would erect a tub mill on Forge Creek. His son, Frederick, built the cove’s first grist mill. Other early settlers would build houses on the surrounding mountains.
Between 1820 and 1850, the population of Cades Cove grew to 671, with the size of cove farms averaging between 150 and 300 acres. The early cove residents, although relatively self-sufficient, were dependent upon nearby Tuckaleechee Cove for dry goods and other necessities.
An old wagon
Cades Cove had telephone service as early as the 1890s, when Dan Lawson and several neighbors built a phone line to Maryville. By the 1850s, various roads connected Cades Cove with Tuckaleechee and Montvale Springs, some of which are still maintained as seasonal passes or hiking trails.
Reminded me of how I felt yesterday on the hike!
Sadly, we didn’t see any wildlife although at one point a Ranger told us that three bears were in the hills.
The Cove is a very beautiful place, a meadow surrounded by huge tree-covered mountains.
Cades Cove Meadow
There was an abundance of butterflies as we travelled round today
Thought the meadow was the perfect place to try out our new selfie stick! It’s a grand item and thanks goes to my good mate Toni and her hubby Colin for finding it in the first place! Cheers you two!
Si and Sand in Cades Cove meadow
Oh my goodness …. two soppy old geezers!!
Tonight for dinner we decided on Italian. We went to a restaurant recommended by the hotel. The food was okay but not exceptional. They say they serve the “Best Bloody Mary in Town” so of course I had to try one. Well, it nearly blew my head off! The staff were very friendly and the man who greeted us was once a circus performer, an acrobat and had toured the whole of the U.K. That was some years ago and he now writes songs and plays music at Octoberfests.
Sand and her Bloody Mary!
Si and his Beef Tip Linguini
For the older generation reading this blog, he also told us that he had met Peter Noone from Herman’s Hermits on a few occasions and proudly showed us the photos. You just never know who you are going to meet!
We are now going to rest our weary blistered feet ready for our next Park outing tomorrow. See you there!
So, today we decided to take our first real hike of the holiday and go to Rainbow Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Officially, the round trip we were told was 5.4 miles! Strange that, my Apple Watch told me the round trip was a total of 7.83 miles! We were not the only ones commenting on the fact that the trail seemed a lot longer than it should have done.
When we arrived at the trail head the world and its mother were there too and everyone was clambering for a parking space. We drove further on down the road and managed to find one but it was quite a hike back to the start.
Parking at the trail head!
The day started overcast and as we made our way up to the falls we were very grateful that the sun had not appeared as I don’t think we would have made it to the top if it had. The downside was that as the sun was not shining at the Falls there was no rainbow. If it hadn’t been for the humidity that felt like 100% the hike would have been much easier. By the time we reached the Falls we felt as though we’d done a 10 hour hike in the Rain Forest! We were glowing profusely!
Sand suffering from the humidity!
The climb to the falls was up hill all the way. We climbed approximately 1500 feet. The highest point is 4285 feet above sea level and according to the map we had the hike was classed as ‘strenuous’ although officially they say its ‘moderate’ with a difficulty of 8.77. All I know is that it was hard going with fallen rocks, tree roots, mud and water along the way. I now know why Si didn’t mention the classification to me before we left!!
Si on the trail up to Rainbow Falls
On the way up the trail someone told us about an owl sitting in one of the trees and sure enough there he was. At one point he swooped down into a stream and grabbed a bite to eat.
Owl on the trail
Once we arrived at our destination there was a little disappointment with the Falls themselves. Perhaps we’ve been spoilt by the beautiful ones we’ve seen in other National Parks. Everyone told us on the way up how wonderful they were. They were certainly pretty but not as magnificent as we had expected.
On the trail
On the trail to Rainbow Falls
Small fall on the trail
A few photos showing the hard life of a photographer on the trail trying to get that one perfect shot!
Some fauna on the trail ….
It was a relief to get back to the hotel for a clean up and then dinner. Tonight we ate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. A restaurant based on the film Forrest Gump. The food was great and we managed to answer most of the questions when tested by the waitress on our Forrest Gump knowledge.
Si and his favourite shrimp!
Crumbs, that corn is nearly as big as me!
Because we ordered two particular drinks with our meals, we are now the proud owners of two ‘special’ Bubba Gump glasses. Exciting or what!? Just got to get them home in one piece!
I think we will sleep well tonight! See you all tomorrow.
Today was our first long drive of the holiday, four hours from Atlanta to Gatlinburg but after stopping for breakfast, petrol and site seeing it turned out to be six hours but we can now officially say we are back on the ……………….. holiday road!
Press to play and sing along!
Of course, this is not Si but I thought he looked like him!
I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog about the scare we had when we were driving from Coca-Cola World to Margaret Mitchell’s house. We turned on to a road and suddenly there was a sign that said we were driving the wrong way! Well, you can image, we ground to a halt immediately in complete panic just waiting for a vehicle to come along and smash into us and then suddenly another car went past us going in exactly the same direction. It seems the sign had been turned round and was facing the wrong way. Not funny!
At one point this morning we were driving in seven lanes of traffic so it was a relief when we saw a sign on the side of the road that indicated a Cracker Barrel establishment was just a mile away. We didn’t need to be told twice, we were off that highway and in there for breakfast. It was 9.30 and the place was heaving with people eating breakfast. It’s a country store and restaurant and you can buy a rocking chair if you wish or a jar of jam.
Cracker Barrel is one of those establishments that no matter where in America you stop to eat in one, you know exactly what it’s going to look like inside and the food will be great and good value. I had one of the healthy breakfasts while Si had one of the most unhealthiest! Are we surprised?
Sand and her healthy breakfast
Si at Cracker Barrel with his unhealthy breakfast!
His breakfast included grits! My goodness what is it about grits? Answers on a postcard please!
We stopped at various points in the Great Smoky Mountains on the way to Gatlinburg to take photos but we will be going back over the next few days so there will be more to come.
Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains
Sand in the Great Smoky Mountains
The Reservation is at the southern end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The State line runs across the National Park and this sign is at Newfound Gap
We are staying at the historic Gatlinburg Inn. It was built in 1937 and has accommodated U.S. Presidents and Hollywood stars since it was first opened. We are going to try and find out who has actually stayed in our room over the years.
Tonight we went to the Texas Roadhouse for dinner. Our very dear friends Dot and John first introduced us to this great eatery a few years ago and as soon as we saw one here in Gatlinburg we just knew that was where we would be having dinner. The food as always, was wonderful.
Si at the Texas Roadhouse
Sand having dinner at the Texas Roadhouse
Skinny Lime Margherita
I had a Skinny Lime Margherita to drink which was made up of Tequila Gold, triple sec, lime juice and a hint of orange, it was delicious but not the kind of drink to have on an empty stomach!! Good job Si was there to guide me back to the hotel!!!
Tomorrow, less food photos and more from the Great Smokey Mountains!
Well, we are now into Day 3 and I’m getting into my blogging stride! It takes a while for the old grey matter to start functioning again. A year’s a long time in the life of the elderly!!
So, today we headed out for our VIP Tour of Coca-Cola World. It was truly magnificent. Our tour guide Steve, originally from Miami, was very knowledgeable and it made the whole tour a truly memorable event.
Confederate Colonel John Pemberton who was wounded in the American Civil War, became addicted to morphine and began a quest to find a substitute for the dangerous opiate. The prototype Coca-Cola recipe was formulated at Pemberton’s Eagle Drug and Chemical House, a drugstore in Columbus, Georgia, originally as a coca wine. He may have been inspired by the formidable success of Vin Mariani, a French coca wine.
John Pemberton inventor of Coca-Cola
In 1885, Pemberton registered his French Wine Coca nerve tonic. In 1886, when Atlanta and Fulton County passed prohibition legislation, Pemberton responded by developing Coca-Cola, essentially a nonalcoholic version of French Wine Coca. The first sales were at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains, which were popular in the United States at the time due to the belief that carbonated water was good for the health. Pemberton claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence.
The exact formula of Coca-Cola’s natural flavorings (but not its other ingredients, which are listed on the side of the bottle or can) is a trade secret. The original copy of the formula was held in Sun Trust Bank’s main vault in Atlanta for 86 years. On December 8, 2011, the original secret formula was moved from the vault at SunTrust Banks to a new vault containing the formula and the vault is on display for visitors to see at the World of Coca-Cola museum.
The Coca-Cola vault that holds the secret recipe! Note the Coca-Cola bottle on the fault handle!
As Coca-Cola has been a sponsor of the Olympics since 1928 they have an exhibition at the museum and one of the highlights for us today was when Steve arranged for a torch from the London 2012 Olympics to be brought out so that Si and I could hold it and have our photographs taken. It was very exciting.
The 2012 London Olympic torch! (We forgot to remove the audio headsets!)
Us with the Coca-Cola bear!
The first Coca-Cola six-pack (on the left) was sold in 1923!
Sand at Coca-Cola World soda fountain (again, forgot to remove the headset!)
How about this then! Si with hair!
Sand with the statue of John Pemberton
We then went to visit the Margaret Mitchell house (author of Gone With The Wind). Being a big movie buff this was very exciting for me. In fact, Margaret and her husband only rented an apartment within the building. The building has burnt down twice and been renovated but the apartment where she wrote the book managed to survive. It was quite small and even when she made a lot of money through the book and movie she never actually owned her own house.
The Margaret Mitchell apartment is the three windows on the left
She wrote GWTW in 1926 when she was laid-up at home with a broken ankle and having read the local library and becoming bored, it was suggested that she may like to write a book. She wrote the book never intending for it to be published. At one point when a publisher came knocking about her book she denied ever writing one. She considered it not worthy of publication and thought her own writing was awful. She was eventually persuaded to let a publisher look at her manuscript and the rest as they say, is history.
Once it was published in 1936 it became an overnight success and she became an instant celebrity and earned her the Pulitzer Prize. The film version, also lauded far and wide, came out just three years later. More than 30 million copies of her Civil War masterpiece have been sold worldwide, and it has been translated into 27 languages.
Margaret wrote most of GWTW at the desk in the window
Scarlett’s portrait from the movie hung in Rhett Butler’s bedroom
The original door to Tara, Scarlett’s home as seen in the movie
Scarlett’s home, Tara, from Gone With The Wind
Sadly Margaret died on the 17th August 1949 at the age of 49 after being knocked down by a speeding car. She only ever wrote the one novel.
Dinner this evening came in the form of fish and chips!! Oh dear, boring! But there really weren’t many restaurants from us to chose from and so we ended up in Fado Irish pub. I have to say the meal was delicious. I, of course, had the smaller lunch portion whilst my ‘dear one’ had the dinner portion which consisted of two pieces of fish plus chips and coleslaw!! The bread pudding dessert with ice cream was pure delight. We shared that!
Si’s dinner tonight
A question for the ladies reading the blog ………………. what is it about men and them never listening to what their good ladies tell them!!?? I went out of my way to purchase sun-tan lotion with insect repellant because I knew that coming here with the high temperatures and humid conditions would equal mosquitoes. I’m very prone to mosquito bites so covered myself from head to toe yesterday, Si didn’t and of course what happened ……….. we were no sooner in the woods and bing, bang, bosh, he’s bitten half a dozen times! Today, he’s covered in lotion!
I’ve been meaning to post this photo of the courtyard at our hotel here in Atlanta. A lovely place to sit for a drink at any time of day!
The courtyard at our hotel
Before we came to Atlanta we were told there wasn’t really much to see here but our experience has been that in fact there’s lots to see but we will have to save everything else for another day as we are off to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park tomorrow.
We were greeted this morning by a slightly overcast sky and there had been a shower. Not what we wanted to see! However, in no time at all the skies had cleared and were blue with brilliant sunshine and it soon heated up. At the moment it’s a barmy 93º.
After breakfast we headed out to the Atlanta History Centre to explore Georgia’s past. It was fascinating. They have many exhibitions, historic houses and 22 acres of gardens and trails to explore. The one exhibition that stood out was about the American Civil War. It was very moving and the artefacts on show were just mind blowing. There’s a total of 1,400 original Union and Confederate items on show and is one of the largest Civil War exhibitions in the country.
Roughly 2% of the population, an estimated 620,000 men, lost their lives in the line of duty. Taken as a percentage of today’s population, the toll would have risen as high as six million.
One of the houses we visited was called the Swan House. In 1924 Edward Inman who was heir to a large cotton brokerage fortune that was amassed in the post-Civil War “New South” era together with his wife Emily, hired an architectural firm to design a house and gardens for them. They moved in in 1928 but just three years later, Edward, at the age of 49 died from a heart attack. This left Emily and their two children with the large house and 28 acres. Emily lived in the house until she died at the age of 84 in 1965. It was at this time that the Atlanta Historical Society purchased the property and opened it to the public. Most of the items in the house belonged to the Inman family.
The house and the furnishings underwent a four-year $5.4 million (£3.72 million) restoration in 2004. There are living history characters in the house who play the parts of the houses’ former owners and servants and they keep in character the whole time.
The magnificent staircase at Swan House
Now, you Hunger Games fans sit up and pay attention for the ‘hot news’ of the day …………………. Swan House was used in the filming of Catching Fire and Mockingjay as President Snow’s mansion!!!!
President Snow’s House in The Hunger Games
Sand on the porch of the Wood Family Cabin at the Atlanta Historic Centre.
We went for lunch at the Swan House Restaurant. It’s been a restaurant for 50 years and apart from two things added in the past few years, the menu is still exactly the same! It was full of mainly ladies who ‘lunch’. The most popular item on the menu is called ‘Swan’s Favourite’ and is a chicken salad served in delicate hand-made timbales with their famous creamy frozen fruit salad and Swan Coach House cheese straws. It may sound strange but it was fabulous.
The Snow House Restaurant
Simon at the Snow House Restaurant with the Snow House favourite!
This evening we went to see the Atlanta Braves baseball team play the Milwaukee Brewers. The 1996 Olympics were held here in Atlanta and the Olympic stadium is currently the Braves’ home. This will be their last season as they are moving to a new stadium. On the entrance road to the stadium they still have the Olympic rings. As you can imagine, it’s a huge stadium and was mostly empty tonight. It’s a shame, the Braves are not doing very well this season. There wasn’t any atmosphere at all. Not like a football match back home where regular abuse is thrown at the team if they are not ‘up to scratch.’ Baseball is a very family-orientated game and there were lots of babies and young children there tonight. I was amazed at the amount of food and drink consumed during the game.
Simon at the Atlanta Braves’ Baseball Game
Unfortunately, very dark clouds rolled in and ‘rain and thunder stopped play.’ Most of the fans got up and left at that point and sadly, the Braves, were losing!
It sure has been hot and humid today, not that we are complaining of course. Tomorrow we are off for a VIP tour of the Coca Cola factory and if we get time, to visit the home and museum of Margaret Mitchell the author of …………………. Gone With The Wind!
We awoke to grey overcast skies in the UK but my weather app was telling me that when we arrived in Atlanta it should be 82º …………… I think we can cope with that!
The car arrived on time to take us to Heathrow and turned out to be the same guy who drove us last year! We arrived at Heathrow T5 in plenty of time which was lucky really as earlier in the day the M3 had been completely closed!
Unlike Virgin Airlines where you can drop your bags off at anytime, with British Airways (yes, flying with BA this time) it’s timed so we couldn’t off-load the bags until 1.00 p.m. and decided a spot of lunch was in order while we waited!
We ate in Carluccio’s and very nice it was too. We both had Venison Tortelloni, yes that’s what is was, not tortellini, (handmade fresh tortelloni filled with wine braised venison), it was delicious. Simon had a soft drink, Limonata, (he’s driving later) and I had a Gin Giardino (gin, elderflower, Prosecco and fresh apple juice served with a slice of cucumber) and very lovely it was too! Here’s the first of the food photos!!! Well, it wouldn’t be the blog without a few food photos!
I must confess to having two cream teas yesterday! One in the airport lounge and another on the plane. Well, it seemed rude not to!
Had to make the usual Duty Free run for perfume (a girl can never have too much perfume!) and on to the lounge to sit and relax until our flight was called.
I think we must have done well over our 10,000 steps (that’s good as we missed our spinning class!) as the aircraft was about 10 miles across the airport (well, not really but it sure felt that way the amount of time it took us to reach it).
It was a good flight and although we were told it would be 9 hrs 10 minutes it actually turned out to be only 8 hours so that was a bonus.
Those of you who have travelled to the US will know that there’s usually a long queue to get through Border Control and you have your finger prints and a mug shot taken. Well, here in Atlanta they have ‘booths’ were you do all those things yourself and then you end up with a ‘receipt’ confirming who you are and on the ‘receipt’ is a very grainy grey face shot (not a pretty sight!)
Once the bags were collected (only two I might add and well under our allowance!) we got on a bus to take us to the car rental facility. ‘Hold on to your hats’ comes to mind here! We had a very pleasant lady bus driver who obviously liked her speed! We were taking 15 mph bends at 50 mph! It would have been funny if it wasn’t quite so scary. We were holding on for dear life. There was a young lady with us on the bus and she said she was going to report the driver as she was positively dangerous.
We decided on an upgrade when we get to Avis, they did us a very good deal on a Ford Escape, that’s an SUV to those in the know! For our regular blog readers, you will remember that was the vehicle we had about three versions of on our ‘big trip’ back in 2013. Photo will follow at some point.
So, here we are at our hotel. We arrived at 10.30 p.m. local time so that was 3.30 a.m. to us and we were worn out. Still, we’ve had a sleep of sorts and it’s now 5.09 a.m. and hence I think it 10.09 a.m. so decided to catch up on the blogging.
Tonight we have tickets to a baseball game so looking forward to that. As for the rest of the day we haven’t decided yet but I think a nice big breakfast is ‘the order of the day.’