Finally my little mid-west bus adventure was coming to an end, or maybe it was more like an intermission, alas I had reached my destination and was ready for some best friend time. Honestly there's not much that draws me to visit Nashville, the Huffington post was able to list 22 reasons, but I only have one and that's my best friend.
I got in later than expected, thanks to a little Megabus delay, but somehow still wound up waiting for my friend to come save me from the bus stop. We stopped for a late dinner of tasty Mexican before heading back to Shane's apartment where I was welcomed and made to feel at home. Since my last visit (nearly 3 years ago before all this travel) Shane's living quarters have vastly improved. From a drafty house and random roommate to a classy apartment and Beth (another friend from High School) these conditions were much preferred. Unfortunately (for him) Shane had to work during my visit but fortunately (for me) his apartment has a pool.
Seeing as the only thing on my Nashville agenda was to see Shane I had no problem spending my days at his apartment, running, yoga, swimming and reading. That and eating because everyone knows the most important part of travel is food, but Shane had us covered, he was able to share his lunch hour with me and we ventured out nearly every night of my visit, for different delicious food. A few of the highlights included catfish at Edleys BBQ, Wood lands Indian (close to Shane's and BYOB --> always a highlight), and amazing pizza.
Okay so I didn't just sit by a pool for five days, we did manage to squeeze in a few other activities. I love being outside (duh) so we made a return visit to Centennial Park which houses the Parthenon replica and some beautiful walking trails, it actually has improved since my last visit a few years ago. On Friday I also ventured downtown to check out Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park (is that name long enough, honestly) which was cute, lots of history which frankly I didn't take the time to read.
Other than park hoping and eating Shane had a few activities planned for us. Friday night was spent with some of his friends at a BBQ/cookout party and baseball game, despite the threat of rain. Before this summer I'd never heard of the Nashville Sound, but the game was fun and it's cute little stadium they call home.
Finally, the weekend rolled around which meant more free time (for Shane) and more Shane time for me. The weather was questionable when we woke up on Saturday and as much as I kind of wanted to lay in bed (or at the pool all day) we decided to venture out. Shane made reservations for us to rent a canoe for the day, venturing down the Harpeth river. I have a love/hate relationship with water based activities, it's not like I've ever had a bad experience on water but something about it just doesn't appeal, this day however was perfect. We woke up earlier enough to beat the crowds and had large parts of the river to ourselves, the weather was perfect neither too hot nor too cold and thankfully we didn't have to work too hard. Seeing as it was Shane's day off we spent the afternoon relaxing poolside before getting ready to hit the town.
Shane felt obligated to show me 'Honkey Tonk' which is a must for some and more a of a no thanks for others, I'd probably fall into the later category, personally. We started the night with a bottle of wine and amazing pizza at Desano's and then made our way to East Nashville (I'm totally making this up because I don't remember) to meet one of Shane's friend at a [dive] bar. We didn't last long before that party ended and we headed downtown to Broadway, apparently the place to be in Nashville. My lovely host Tim in Louisville told me I must visit Honkey Tonk so that's where we went, along with the rest of the city. There was a ridiculous line to get in, but there was also an abundance of dumb drunk people which allowed for a few gaps in the line and quick entry for us. Country music, crowds of drunk people, bachelor and bachelorette parties, what else could I add to this list to make it sound terrible?
Despite the cons Shane and I managed to have a wonderful night. Two rounds of free drinks, one from the bartender another from a bachelor party (we're skilled) didn't hurt either. Eventually we'd had enough and found a taxi home where we ended with leftover pizza and chips and salsa, traces of which were on the porch the next morning, don't ask me how or why those got there. My second visit to Nashville was another success but I only have Shane to thank for that. Not only welcoming me into his apartment but also giving up his bed and car keys to make my stay more enjoyable, I couldn't have picked a better bestie.
My visit was filled with some alone time, a sprinkling of tourist, lots of good food, and most importantly best friend time. Living a life of continual transitions, not knowing where I'll end up a few months down the line I've learned to really cherish the time I do catch with friends and family. So on that note, I need to go work on some Europe plans!
I feel like this is one of those states that is forgotten, known only for it's most popular city, Nashville. I too never thought it'd be on my list of places I've been but my best friends relocation changed my plans.