By the time, we arrived in downtown Memphis, the skies had cleared but the air was bitingly cold. We walked briskly down Beale Street, the famed night time centre of entertainment, and hurried towards the trolley. It was to be the best decision ever of the day. This was especially true for Elliot who had left his jacket behind at the hotel! The trolley was warm with the seats heated. Ahh…it was respite for frozen extremities. We did the rest of our downtown Memphis sightseeing from the comfort of the trolley. We saw our first glimpse of the mighty Mississippi River. It was so wide!
|Beale Street. Oh so cold...|
|Home of the blues and rock and roll|
|Memphis takes its music seriously as well|
|And I guess we know who's home is around here|
|Let's get on the trolley, quick!|
|Ahh...finally its warm enough for the lips to function for a smile|
As the trolley completed its loop, we alighted and braved the short walk to the luxurious Peabody Hotel. We had some parading ducks to see. The tradition started in the 1930s and has continued ever since. The ducks, who lived up on the roof of the hotel, marches down to the fountain in the lobby at 11am. At 5pm, they would march back up to their rooftop home.
|Finally a shot of all 5 ducks together! 1 male and 4 females. They swim fast and it was hard getting a good photo in the dark lobby!|
|The famed ducks!|
Lunch stop was meant to be at Rendezvous, the famed BBQ place to be. President Obama, George Bush and Justin Timberlake all have their ribs flown out to them from here so it must be good. Malcolm had been dying to get to Memphis, the home of the pit BBQ. To his dismay, Rendezvous was closed for renovations until Jan 10. Another family who discovered the news at the same time literally cried…Malcolm consoled himself with the a local’s opinion that as good as the food at Rendezvous was, the food was not true pit BBQ cooking.
Thus it was that we found ourselves at Corky’s, where we had originally planned to have dinner. Corky’s was voted the best place for ribs by the locals so it had a lot to live up to and it delivered! Mmmm, the ribs were moist, meaty and tasty. As we were full, we decided to order just one dessert between all of us. The waitress recommended the banana pudding. How good can a banana pudding be?!?! Apparently, it can be very good. I made the unfortunate error of stopping to take a sip of water. That was enough time for the entire pudding to disappear! We ordered a second pudding which was ravished at similarly astonishing speeds.
|Let's eat ribs! We had to ignore the Mcribs that was right next door at McDonalds...|
|Big reputation to uphold|
|That's the only shot I managed to get of the banana pudding. Don't even ask about the photos of the ribs...|
It was time to visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. As we entered the carpark, we were pleasantly not charged for parking! Bonus! We bought our AAA discounted tickets and waited for a shuttle to actually take us into the 14-acre estate grounds. As we got on to the shuttle, we were given an audio guide each. The children loved it, especially young Jonah who is now a certified Elvis fan! The house was smaller than I expected and the décor highly amusing. Glass lined stairways into the basement, green shag carpet on the walls, fabric lined room, and the list goes on. What I loved most though, was the insight into Elvis as a person, and interesting facts about him, his career and his family.
|Their best Elvis pose. Jonah had not learnt about the hip swivel yet|
|The front of the house|
|Elvis den downstairs with 3 tvs|
|And right next door, a room lined with fabric|
|Exhibit to highlight his prolific career|
|Their wedding outfits were on display|
|As were his performing outfits|
|The resting place of the King, right next to his parents who he was close to|
As we were still full from lunch, we opted for a light dinner that was provided by Homewood Suites.
Yesterday I mentioned that one of the locals had commented that no one lived in Memphis by choice. As we drove into the city, we did notice many buildings and parking lots in states of disrepair. Many shops were either empty or had iron bars on the windows. It was not uncommon to see homes with windows that were boarded up or broken. We were not sure if it was simply that we had driven past a particularly bad or poor neighbourhood. However, even in the city itself, many shops were either empty or seemed to be in a poor state. In contrast, on the way towards Corky’s and Graceland, the streetscape changed to one that seemed to more “normal”, busy with cars, shops and people. Whilst we didn’t wish to disrespect the opinion of the local, it was also difficult for us to judge a city based on what we saw over 2 days. I suspect, though, Memphis might be a city really struggling economically. Either way, we have enjoyed our stay in Memphis.