We’re in Tennessee! It was quite an arduous task getting here (multiple flight delays and missed connections), but it was sweetened by getting bumped to first class. Did you know they have real glassware in first class??? And you can just ask for snacks and drinks whenever you want??? WHAT. Priorities, clearly. Anyways, I digress. Andy was a little bit less cooperative this time on the plane. Still not crying during landing and takeoff, but he cried at other times more so than last time, and with a more robust cry at that.
We arrived a few hours behind schedule, but it didn’t really matter anyways, because our only plan was eating at the hotel. We stayed at the Inn at Opryland (we’re now in the big Gaylord Opryland resort!) and ordered room service. I’ve never really had room service before, so I was excited. This made up in part for the fact that I was a little sketched out that the rooms were exterior access. We ordered wings and a pulled pork sandwich. It was glorious.
Early this morning, we headed over to the resort so that Kelvin could get going with his countless meetings and meals. Meanwhile, Andy and I went off in search of a bus. We had to ask around, but we finally figured out that the 34 picks up at the Magnolia Canopy. It takes about 30 minutes to get downtown if you’re going express. And it only costs $1.70/ride! I knew I was going to be riding the bus quite a few times today, so I got an all day pass ($5.25 for unlimited rides). The bus was relatively on time, but as luck would have it, we only made it a few more stops before the bus broke down. Thus, Andy and I spent about 45 minutes sitting at the Gray Line Tour bus depot waiting for the MTA to send another bus. Highlight of the trip? After Andy ate, i was burping him without a burp cloth (fail), and then I heard a high school student behind me say “Uhh, your baby spit up.” It was all over my arm, and his clothes, and part of the carrier. That was a bit of a scramble…We finally made it downtown around 10:30 (almost two hours after we left), and our first order of business was getting tickets for a tour that day at Hatch Show Print (more on this later).
After all that was done, we waited for what seemed like a very long time at 6th and Commerce to catch the 7 to Pancake Pantry! This place came really highly reviewed, and it did not disappoint! There was a line up, but it moved pretty quickly. Plus, I got to meet some really nice people! I ended up ordering the sweet potato pancakes, and I all but inhaled them, thus the lack of picture of the actual pancakes. They were insanely fluffy with a full cinnamon flavour. Good thing I ordered that glass of milk to balance it out. Oh, and make sure to use that cinnamon cream syrup (but don’t put too much, or your pancake will literally fall apart).
By the time we finished, there wasn’t much time before our tour at Hatch Show Print, so we hopped on the bus and headed back towards downtown. This place was the COOLEST. I loved learning about the history of the print shop in all its iterations and seeing the presses at work. Andy was not impressed with being in the carrier (he had been in it for quite some time by that point) and so he caused a huge scene. Not cool.
After the shop portion of the tour, we moved into a classroom to learn a little more. We also got to make our own print, though I’m not a fan of its blue and orange colour scheme. If I could do it again, I might ask just to have the print on plain paper so it’s just the one colour. I perused the store for quite a while after the fact, and picked up a few prints. We got a discount too for going on the tour!
By this point, we were pretty pooped. Andy needed a break and so did I, so we headed down to the waterfront in search of a nice shaded place to lay out the blanket. I stopped into Southernaire Market to pick up a berry medley and an iced tea, and off we went. We walked and walked but alas no shady spot was to be found. We ended up taking the free Music City circuit bus to the Bicentennial Mall. After perusing the Farmers’ Market, we plopped ourselves down near this sunken terraced courtyard and hung out for an hour or so. What did I learn about Andy today? He gets HOT. So it was crucial for us to spend some time where he wasn’t in the carrier.
My phone was close to dying by now because of all the google mapping I did, but the Visitors’ Centre saved the day! I went to the one at Bridgestone Arena, and they have a charging station and two iPads for internet access! So key. I stayed til closing (at 5:30).
Plans were made at this point to meet Kelvin for dinner, and so we took advantage of the little pocket of time we had before he was slated to arrive, and we walked all the way out to Crema, on Hermitage Blvd. I ordered myself a Cuban, and man that coffee was ridiculously delicious. And the place was really hip. So hip that they didn’t have a change table (fail). Changing of the diaper happened outside on the grass, behind the building, by the dumpsters (#sketchy). I picked up a few pounds of coffee as souvenirs, and then walked the 13 minutes back downtown. When Kelvin finally arrived, with some coworkers, we headed to Jack’s BBQ for dinner (I know, it’s not the best BBQ, but we wanted somewhere downtown). After a quick stroll to burn off some of those calories, we returned to the hotel.
Apologies for the brevity of the last few events, but it’s 1 am here, and I am super tired. Forecast tomorrow is looking like thunderstorms. If this is the case, I’m staying at the hotel. It’s big enough for days and days of exploration.