We started our day out with a little stress over our car. Because we have driven so many miles we decided to get an oil change but when we took it in and only after the oil had been changed did the low oil light pop up. Baffled and confused we spent a good half hour or more trying to fix this odd problem, we eventually reset the light after call Subaru but the threat of something wrong with the care has been looming over our heads ever since. Quite the unnecessary stressor on our shoulders. To remedy the stress we got Starbucks… lots of coffee and visited the Nashville Parthenon.
The Nashville Parthenon houses a huge statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom born from Zeus’ brain. The gigantic temple modeled after the Greek Parthenon houses the statue surrounded by imposing grandiose columns.
Her shield alone was 15 meters in diameter, so you can tell just how huge this statue was in person.
Also the doors are the largest set of bronze doors in the entire world.
Our next roadside stop was at Andrew Jackson’s, the former president of the United States, home. The home, titled the Hermitage, is a huge mansion tucked away in many acres of green lush fields. We didn’t have time to actually tour the place but we looked at all the pictures and admired the scenery from afar.
We drove all the way through Knoxville and into Gatlinburg where we were meeting my grandparents from North Carolina for a short but pleasant while. We expected to be staying in a quaint small little town at the foot of the Great Smokey Mountains but instead we encountered a series of three cities that where extremely odd and quirky tourist traps. These strips of odd sights including many Ripley’s Believe it or Not places, a gigantic fake Titanic, and even an upside down building next to a Hollywood wax museum.
We are going into the park tomorrow morning and its allure is great, just beyond the nearly sickening amount of tourist attractions which have gathered such ridiculous numbers of people who have swamped the streets and shops. Right outside our hotel room is a beautiful river that runs from the mountains down the beautiful sloping hills. It is a taunting foreshadow of tomorrow. We have found that this trip has been hard because we have been mostly deprived of nature. Unlike our past road trips which are mainly National Parks where we hike and adventure among wildlife and majestic landscapes, but this trip we have mostly been in cities or only brief stops in nature. So tomorrow is a well anticipated return to nature, pristine, unpopulated, and uncrowded nature. Hopefully we will encounter some wildlife there as well.
We met our relatives and after a great catching up and sharing session with them we headed out to dinner at the Cherokee Grill which was excellent. It was just so great being able to sit down with them and just catch up for a short time. We talked for hours over dinner and I really was so glad to see them again and I love that this road trip has let us see so many of our relatives we do not normally see.
I decided to try Catfish while still in the south and had Southern Fried Catfish with Baked Mac and Cheese with spinach which was excellent. The catfish was tender, moist, and the batter flavorful and crispy. The mac and cheese was excellent as well, warm and comforting, just as southern comfort food should be. Everything was very good but the waiter was an extremely fast talker and turns out very rushed in everything he did, not just his speech. Otherwise it was great and I would definitely eat there again if we weren’t simply passing through.
We walked around the crowded town and discovered a free Moonshine tasting in an eccentric little place full of the powerful alcohol that was so popular during the prohibition period. It was a cool old southern place filled with old cars, mason jars, shelf after shelf of moonshine, and a whole sea of rocking chairs.
It was just a short visit but we cherished every moment and look forward to the next. Tomorrow we head through the Great Smokey Mountains and up to Cincinnati Ohio for the night.