Shakespeare in the Park
Perhaps one of the neatest parts about living in Louisville is there is always something to do.
Thursday evening, Carol (my housemate) and I went to Shakespeare in the Park – part of one of the longest running, FREE Shakespeare festivals in the nation! There was something oddly beautiful about sitting in a park in Old Louisville, surround by giant trees, sipping on my vodka and lemonade. As the actors and actresses came on stage to tell the story of Henry V, the sun began to set and light the display with golden light. Trumpets were played, jokes were made and the fireflies came out during the final battle scene. It was brilliant as the stage lights lit up the canopy of leaves overhead, creating such a theater setting like I have never seen before. It was truly magnificent and I will be going back.
That was perhaps my highlight during a very busy week at Peake. I’ve been given the task to write two major and two minor features of Box Pro Magazine – thrilling, but a lot of work, especially when sources don’t respond to you. Plus, videos, other stories and features for both the web and Club Solutions Magazine, social media, and some hooliganary here and there makes for a full schedule. But don’t get me wrong: I really enjoy it!
On my way to Nashville!
But Friday morning reminded me of one of the glorious reasons why working at a magazine instead of a newspaper or TV station is so grand: I get holidays off. And what do I do? ADVENTURE.
Friday morning I journeyed three hours south, past Mammoth Cave and the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, to the city of Nashville, Tennessee (even though I really don’t like country music … like at all). But it wasn’t just to visit: I got to meet up with my friend Rachel (who I met in England; she lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee) and her husband Justin! I haven’t seen Rachel since I left her at the bus stop at Lancaster University, her and Aubrey waving as I rode away to Heathrow.
Well, I must admit my adventure began almost immediately, for a couple of reasons:
1) I was staying at a hostel. Hostels themselves are full of new people and experiences. As soon as I arrived, I was greeted warmly.
2) Fifteen minutes in, I met a British guy who was from London. We chatted for a good thirty minutes, and I couldn’t decide whether I was thrilled to get a taste of England or was going to be sick because I missed it and everyone in it so much.
3) Nashville is an hour behind Louisville. Found that out the hard way.
4) Walking a mile and a half is always something special.
5) One word: PARTY.
The whole street was a party.
After meeting up with Rachel and Justin, we spent some time walking the main stretch on Broadway that Nashville is known for. A huge festival was going on, meaning crowds every where (I’m great at navigating crowds, though this one was a bit of a pickle sometimes) and also meaning a chance by Dippin’ Dots to break the world record of most ice cream scoops scooped in five minutes (Free ice cream? We were so there. Oh, and they broke the record. And a British guy was announcing the competition).
Deciding we needed a break from the crowd, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around, passing the state capital and a neat statue of some sort, going to a farmer’s market, and eating a huge calzone in a dumpy Italian restaurant (but the calzone was delicious). That evening, we went back to grab a spot on the riverbank for the fireworks.
Now, let me make it known: We got there four hours before the fireworks. Four. Ok? Four hours, and yet we barely got a spot. How early do people get there??? By the time night fell, it was so crowded you could hardly walk anywhere (which was unfortunate because I had gone to see my childhood neighbor who now lives in Nashville – we sat in a bar with old, country music played by some AMAZING musicians – and then had to venture back in the darkness, surrounded by thousands of people). However, despite the suffocating closeness of people and the fact nearly all the fire codes were being broken, the fireworks were the BEST I’ve ever seen. I mean, we were so close ash was falling on us and my ribcage was reverberating with each bang. Apparently, it’s the second best show in the nation, which I won’t argue with (and I’ve seen some big shows before). Plus, we could watch the Coast Guard working to put out fires on the far side of the river.
A replica of the Parthenon in the middle of Nashville.
Saturday brought new adventures: a trip to the Parthenon replica (so out of place, but it was orginally built for a world exposition and only remains standing today because it was so popular), tons of walking (Rachel and Justin met a friend for coffee so I explored), Belmont Mansion and the Belmont University campus (beautiful, stunning, glorious), Which Wich (an fun sandwich place that involved writing on paper bags to order your food), Belle Meade Plantation (my first plantation; it is known for its horses and produced the line that both Secretariat and Seabiscuit came from), Ticket to Ride game in the lobby of Justin and Rachel’s hotel (I lost…which is pretty typical) and finally, my first DELICIOUS experience with Thai food.
Saying goodbye to Rachel and Justin, I spent the rest of my evening talking with some girls I met at the hostel. Sunday was another early start as I headed out, deciding to stop at the Lost River Cave. The best part about it wasn’t the fact I was in a boat in a cave, but that in the early 1900s, there was a night club in the cave’s entrance, complete with big bands and swing dancing (I wanted so bad to swing dance there)! It was beautiful and a great hidden gem. Sometimes, you have to be spur of the moment to find wonderful things.
Overall, my favorite part was visiting with Rachel and Justin. Even having been apart for a year, we started right back where we were. There’s something about that type of friend that is truly special.
Now another week at Peake. But with writing, sales meetings and more, I’m sure I’ll be kept on my toes.