Memphis, Tenn, USA - Day 2

Well I never imagined I wd ever visit "Gracelands" but today I did! It was superb. We had a whole day tour of the Town and of the Elvis Presely experience.

First visit was to the Sun Studios where not only Elvis but Johnny Cash, Jerry-Lee and so many other rock n roll stars started their careers. It's set in a pretty run down part of town - but Memphis is a town of great contrasts. Lots of wealthy people and big houses, but lots of run down poor places too - a sure sign is not only the shut and boarded-up buildings right in the "Downtown" area but the number of references to the poor and needy people of the place - mainly blacks I guess. We saw statues to both Elvis and the great king of the blues - B B King - and of course visited the famous Beale Street - still full of cafes, bars and restaurants with live music and soul/southern food. Then on to Gracelands.

I've always quite liked Elvis, but it was just fantastic touring his home (quite, quite tasteless) and viewing some of the fantastic costumes he wore, seeing the dozens of gold and platinum discs; seeing the guitar shaped pool (surprisingly small) and of course paying tribute at his graveside. Wherever you go on the site there are videos of "The King" playing and his music is all around. He was a true pioneer of the music revolution of the 50's and 60's and it was an exciting and memorable experience. The gift shops were full of the most amazing tat, kitch and poor taste...but we did buy a Gracelands mug....well one has to have some sort of memento eh?

This evening a nice whiskey sour on the roof of the hotel with a sunset view over the Mississippi and the Dolly Parton Bridge - "Dolly Parton Bridge?" I hear you ask. Yep. So nick named because its two bow shaped arches are entirely reminiscent of....

Tomorrow it's back to Calhoun Georgia by way of Chatanooga - well I've always loved trains.

But now back to the lobby, perhaps another whiskey sour or two and a chat with the resident pianist - John - an erudite graduate in church music, who can successfully mix J S Bach with Johnny Mercer in his lounge medley. Now there's talent.