Tuesday, 31 December 2013


We left Atlanta first thing in the morning to make the most of our day in Nashville, better known as Music City. We drove by Chattanooga made good time arriving in Nashville before lunch. Prices for hotels on New Years Eve were very expensive. We managed to get a reasonable deal at the Best Western Music Row. It was a good 1.6km walk from downtown but did not charge astronomical fees for parking. As we walked towards Broadway, we say many cars being towed away.

Nashville is the heart and soul of country music. Prior to our road trip through Montana and Wyoming, I had not really appreciated country music. However, after having no choice but to actively listen to it during our last time, I have come to enjoy it very much!

Destinations for today

Hello Music City!

Its country music city alright

Boots for babies

They obviously take their music very seriously

Grates surrounding the trees

Glass panels at the bus stop

We were starving so we stopped at the first place that could seat us straight away
After a quick lunch complete with live music, we visited the Ryman Auditorium. It started life as a house of worship, designed so that sermons would project to the crowds. The wonderful acoustics make it a great concert venue. It is probably best known as the former home to the radio show, the Grand Ole Opry, thus earning it the nickname of the Mother Church of the country music. Many of country music's greats have performed here.

Ryman Auditorium

The mother church of country music has one of the best acoustics of any concert hall

The old church pews restored

A lightning visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Hatch Show Print was followed by walking down broadway. We enjoyed the festive mood and the live music spilling out from the various establishments. By this stage, many road side stalls had already set up and the smell of food was wafting deliciously through the air! We admired the enormous variety of gloriously crafted boots. Of course, the one that I had my eye on came in at a charming price of $1,100. With a big sigh, I had to let it go. I couldn't quite justify it no matter how unique the boots were! As per usual, we console shopping woes with food. Today, it was apples dripped in caramel and coated with peanuts and chocolate. Mmmm....the whole family fought over the 2 apples for the next 5 minutes.

Unfortunately, our grand plans of staying to usher in the new year never quite eventuated. We were exhausted and it was freezing! We rushed into the Hard Rock Cafe to warm ourselves and to eat. We walked around for a little bit more to enjoy the atmosphere before making the long trek back to the hotel.

2013 has been a year filled with many challenges and many changes. However, amongst the lows has also been moments of joy. We are grateful for all that we have been given and for our experiences both good and bad. It is not always easy to remember that life is here to shape us into the people that the Creator intended us to be. I pray that 2014 will bring joy and peace to all, and that we are able to approach the year with love, humility and a servant heart.

caramel coated apples

So hard to make that first bite!

Oh so delicious

Getting ready to usher in the new year

Oma can't wait to get out of the cold and get some food into her stomache

The music note getting ready to go up

A drink to celebrate the new year

Monday, 30 December 2013


We left South Carolina bright and early at 7am to return to Georgia, "The Peach State". We had a 5 hour drive to Atlanta, the capital. We picked the most reasonably priced hotel closest to the World of Coca Cola. There was hardly any traffic on the roads into the city. We thought that it was very quiet for a Monday. And even as we walked towards Centennial Oympic Park, the streets seemed to be devoid of people. We discovered where they all were...lining up to enter the World of Coca Cola! The line fortunately, moved relatively quickly. Before we knew it, we were in! The children were excited, Mummy had given them permission to drink all the coca cola products that were available to try. If you are not yet aware, I am a coca-cola tragic and visiting this place is a dream come true! We filled ourselves with facts on coca cola as well as a multitude of coca cola products. It was so much fun! Walking out with sugar overload, we continued on our high by browsing through coca cola merchandise. Heaven! One of the small regrets that we have is that we do not have enough time to really see all the sights that we wanted. However, as we're unlikely to come back to this part of the United States for some years, we had to squeeze in as many cities as we could.

We're here!

The home of my favourite drink! Did you know that the logo is recognized by 94% of the population?

Let's join the line. Just like a ride at a theme park

Through security and another wait.

We're in! 

The dispensing urn. How coca cola used to be sold prior to bottles and cans.

One of the very first Coca Cola "ads"

A short film (another way to hold the crowds)

The 6 minute clip shows a family of polar bears, used in coca cola advertising

When the movie finished, the screen lifted up to show a passageway...

...into the world of coca cola!

Like at any other museum, Elliot takes his information gathering very seriously

Did you that there are only 2 countries where coca cola is not available? Cuba and North Korea

Trying to draw the famous logo

A serve of coca cola was only 5 cents, and stayed at that price from 1886 until 1959! It went up to 6 cents...

The beginnings of delivery

Coca cola vending machines world wide

Where the secret recipe is kept
The bottling process
Christmas Editions

What can you make out of recycled coca cola packaging?!
Coca Cola pop art

Add caption

Funky bottles

The children were really looking forward to this section

The cola varieties were grouped by continents

And then by country

It was busy so you've got to squeeze your way in!

Little Jonah managed ok by himself.

A special flavour for the season

Yes he is drinking water, plain water

One last cola product, this one to take home
Merchandise paradise!

Which magnet to get?!?!?!
We each got a take away bottle

Shopping completed!

There were many things that we had to give a miss. As we were in the world of Coca Cola for longer than we expected, the Georgia Aquarium will have to wait until next time. Also having to wait were the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site and Ebenezer Baptist Church.

The aquarium was right next door but we simply didn't have time to go in

Dinner was a casual affair at Ruth's. We sat in the bar section content to sip our water. As we were there before 6:30pm, we were able to get certain dishes at half price. Bargain! The beef sliders were delicious as were other dishes. We did something that was rare...ordered more food! The walk home through the Centennial Olympic Park was lovely with the park lit up with Christmas decorations.


Half price food!
We ordered more food!

Dessert was big. That round thing was almost the size of Jonah's face!
Atlanta at night
It seems like every city wants to have its own "eye"