Walking in Memphis: Photo Diary

When we arrived it Memphis we raced to Sun Studios, and managed to make it in time for the last tour of the day. Aside from Willett Distillery, it was possibly my favourite 'tourist attraction' we took the time to visit. 

Before it became Sun Studios, it was known simply as the Memphis Recording Service.

Big Elvis' year book. 

The Million Dollar Quartet: the iconic photograph taken at an impromptu jam session at Sun Studios of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis on 4th December 1956.

in his element


Whisky and cokes flowing
Beale Street was really fun. We pitched up at B. B. King's Blues Club, which may be a bit of an obvious choice, but we only had one night in Memphis and we felt we couldn't miss such an institution. It didn't disappoint, the calibre of the musicians playing there was awesome, so much so I was cajoled into going on stage to spend $20 on a Preston Shannon CD, which we listened to all the way to Natchez. 

The perfectly preserved motel where Martin Luther King was shot on 4th April 1968. The National Civil Rights Museum stands nearby too.

Excited for the Graceland tour.

Graceland, Elvis' home, is definitely worth a visit, even for the non-Elvis fan. We opted for the cheapest tickets, and so missed the cars and aeroplanes, which I'm slightly gutted about, but it was still an awesome way to spend an afternoon.

Very minimalist, was old Elvis.

Looking suave.

Seeing how many awards Elvis won in his lifetime was astounding, and I'm actually halfway down the corridor for this shot, so there's pretty much the same again behind me. Mind blowing.

It might be a bit of a tourist trap, but god damn, the ribs at Charles Vergo's Rendezvous are hands down the best I've ever had. It's a cool little place too, tucked down an alleyway and down an alarmingly vertiginous set of stairs, full of memorabilia of their 60 years in business, with slightly churlish waiters who will grossly underestimate your ability to polish off an entire plate of ribs. But, as you can see, I was totally in my element:


Nashville: 12 South

I love staying in Air BnBs. Sure, luxury hotels are nice (she says, as if she's ever stepped over the threshold of such an establishment) but Air BnBs lend themselves so well to much more authentic city sightseeing, or so it feels to me. Of course, this only works if your hosts are awesome and leave extensive lists of recommendations and nuggets of local knowledge (and preferably a couple of local beers) but luckily for us, we struck Air BnB gold in Nashville.

Armed with a long list of recommendations, we set out for 12 South one afternoon, and liked it so much we returned for dinner and drinks that night. Below are a few of my recommendations from the area, and if you're going to be in Nashville, you really gotta go check out 12 South.

Somewhat controversially, I am not an ice cream person. It's too bloody cold, I find the flavours are never strong enough and typically, I would just much rather eat a chocolate bar, a doughnut or an entire cake. However, Jeni's ice cream was something else. It was so good, so creamy, so flavourful, that I just found myself idiotically wondering if they ship internationally. Quelle surprise, they don't. (Although they do ship all across the states, and have a few other stores dotted about the country, so if you're American, I'm jealous)

Jeni has made me an ice-cream convert. Definitely worth a trip.

Look at those flavours! 

happy as a clam

Five Daughters Bakery
Sadly we got here late in the day - after filling our bellies with ice cream at Jeni's round the corner - and most of the doughnuts were gone. I just had time to take a couple of awkward pictures, and then we bought a couple to take home and enjoy later. It is the cutest little place though, and I wish we'd had time to go back and sit down and properly enjoy the doughnuts in situ. However, the doughnuts spoke for themselves, and really were as good as that drunk couple from the bar the night before had promised.

cutest little bakery

apple cinnamon cronut and root beer doughnut. oh my god America I miss you. sugar coma followed.

I am a massive burger fan. I can give you a dozen recommendations for a great burger in Edinburgh if you're looking, because I've been to them all and I have a constantly evolving pecking order in my brain. I have however, just come across the devastating news that in Scotland it is no longer legal (!) to serve a burger which has not been cooked through, so that forced farewell to beautiful, juicy, medium has me looking back on Burger Up with even more fondness. 

A buzzing little restaurant on a corner, no reservations are taken so we pitched up and waited for a table outside, beer in hand and enjoying the sights of the neighbourhood. We didn't have to wait for long, and soon were tucking into bloody good burgers. They cook the meat to your preference, so mine was a beautiful red medium-rare, the like that I will now never experience again in my own country. It was damn good. Not quite up to the ultimate burgers of all time; Almost Famous in Manchester/Leeds/Liverpool, but it was a lovely spot for a great burger. Clearly so great I didn't manage to photograph it at all, too busy stuffing it in my face.

12 South Taproom
America is really killing it in the craft beer world. There are just so many of them. When we sat in 12 South Taproom looking at the menu, it took us a good 15 minutes to come to a decision. There were so many beers from Tennessee alone, before we even got to considering looking further afield in the country. Not only is the beer list impressively extensive, but it's a really cool place, with a massive outdoor seating area that I did not want to leave. The perfect place to while out an afternoon in the sunshine, or stop off for a couple of beers after dinner. If you're a beer fan in Nashville, it's not to be missed.


Nashville Photo Diary



People in Nasvhille are so friendly. Country music is so pervasive, that even a non-country fan will end up leaving a country-convert. Expect bachelorettes, whooping and singing along to classic country hits on broadway, 'serious' country and craft beers further from the main drag. There is, bizarrely, a complete replica of the Parthenon, 2344 years younger than the original Greek version, but still pretty old at 119 years. The Civil Rights Room at the public library is well worth an hour of your time, where you'll be slapped in the face with the fact that the 60s really wasn't so long ago, and that America's racism problem so clearly, so sadly lives on. The Country Music Hall of Fame will furnish you with every nugget of country music trivia you could possibly ever need, along with a close up look at Taylor Swift's Romeo & Juliet dress and, more importantly, lots on Cash & Dylan. Head to 12 South for all things gourmet ice cream, craft beers and good, strong, overpriced coffee, and to pose by the I Believe in Nashville sign (NB. photos will not turn out quite so well if your skin is the same colour as the wall)

Nashville, we loved you. We'll be back one day for sure.