USA Travel Blog #1

Jetlagged Adventures in NashvillE

September 6: From Amsterdam to Nashville

On September 6, my journey kicked off early at 5 AM (CEST) as I headed to Amsterdam Airport. From there, I embarked on a flight to Atlanta before hopping onto another flight to Nashville, Tennessee.

The flight was tiring but smooth, filled with two movies, video games, and attempts to get some rest. Finally, around 2 PM (local time), I landed in Nashville. Things went well at the car rental, where I had the freedom to choose a car for the next 82 days. Naturally, I went for a cool Mazda CX50. I stashed my bags in the trunk, got in the car, and headed to my hotel.

But here’s where things took an unexpected turn. When I arrived at the hotel, I saw people messing with hotel room doors. It was strange, but it didn’t click immediately. When I reached the reception, they told me that all reservations had been canceled due to a problem with the electronic door locks. In a bit of a panic, I had to find a new, affordable hotel near Nashville for seven days, which wasn’t easy. After about half an hour of searching, I found a place called WoodSpring Suites Nashville Airport.

I drove to the hotel, checked in, took a quick shower, and, despite feeling jet-lagged, decided to take an Uber to explore Broadway in downtown Nashville. Fortunately, there wasn’t much traffic at that time.

Broadway, Nashville

Broadway in Nashville welcomes you with the sounds of Rock & Roll and Country music as soon as you arrive. I’m not exaggerating when I say that about 4 out of 5 buildings on Broadway are bars with live music, many named after famous (pop) Country stars. It’s a lot of fun, but, as I’d soon learn, it can be overwhelming.

After walking around Broadway for a bit, I ventured into a small boots & hats shop called Big Time Boots. I had deliberately left my hat in the Netherlands because it wouldn’t have survived the plane journey. So, one of the first things I wanted to do was buy a new hat. But not just any touristy hat; I wanted a unique, custom-fitted one. I needed advice from someone who knew hats inside out. I entered the shop and noticed a group of bachelorette party girls getting all the attention from one of the staff. Finally, after a patient wait of 15-20 minutes, I had my chance to chat with one of the store’s experts.

I was searching for a hat that was different from what I had back home, something eccentric and personalised. Eventually, the employee showed me a hat that matched what I had in mind, though I was a bit unsure at first. After trying a few others, we came back to the first one. The choice was clear. He took the hat, gave it a good brush, and put it in a steam machine to shape it perfectly for my head. As he didn’t like the shop’s feathers he generously gifted me one from his own hat. He assured me not to feel guilty, as he had plenty of feathers for his hats at home. I was genuinely thankful. After spending about 2-3 hours on Broadway, I was exhausted and took an Uber back to the hotel.

I noticed a 7-Eleven near the hotel, so when I got back, I hopped in the rental car and drove just a short distance, less than half a mile, to grab some groceries, a couple of beers, and two pizza slices. I wasn’t too hungry, but I needed something to eat. After quickly eating back at the hotel, I tried to stay awake until at least 8 PM.

Spoiler alert: that plan failed. I fell asleep around 7 PM, and you won’t believe what time I woke up.

September 7: Battling Jetlag and Busking on Broadway

Jet lag hit me hard as I woke up at 4:54 AM, unable to fall back asleep. By 5:30 AM, I surrendered to my wakefulness, diving into emails and a movie. Later, I met Dick Marcus, the Regional Sales Manager from Vintage Guitars to collect a Vintage Historic Series Electro Acoustic guitar , which they had ready for me to use during my journey. (For those of you that didn’t know already, I’ve been a Vintage Guitars endorsed artist since early 2023!)

With my Vintage guitar in town, I went to downtown Nashville and tried busking on Broadway for about 30 minutes. It was a fun experience, with some passersby taking my business card, taking pictures and a few tossing dollars into my guitar case. Afterward, I explored the city, chatting with locals, including a street musician named Lisa who played the Melodica.

To refuel, I had a delicious spicy chicken sandwich and burger at the Lucky Bastard Saloon on Broadway. Later, I grabbed groceries and returned to my hotel, succumbing to jet lag once more.

September 8: Exploring Nashville and a Surprise Find

Another early start led me back to Broadway for one more busking session. I visited the historic Ryman Auditorium, playing my guitar there for about 45 minutes before being asked to move due to an evening performance. Before I left I had a nice chat with a Dutch couple who took a memorable photo of me in front of the Ryman.

Afterward, I went boot shopping because an Americana singer can’t live without western boots, right?! There are quite a few boot shops on Broadway, and after visiting a few, I found a small store offering a three-for-one deal. To make a long story short, I ended up with three pairs of boots – quite a successful shopping spree!

I had also marked out a few places on Google Maps to visit, one of them being the Antique Archeology shop. This shop is owned by Mike Wolfe, known from the History Channel’s American Pickers. I’ve been a fan of the show for years due to the intriguing American history and vintage treasures it features. The shop was about a 50-minute walk from my hotel, and I decided to enjoy the stroll instead of taking an Uber. Upon entering the shop, I was surrounded by Americana artifacts, including items from the show. It felt like walking through a captivating museum! Since I would be flying back to the Netherlands in November, I couldn’t take anything too large with me. However, I didn’t want to leave empty-handed, so after one last browse through the store, I chose an old license plate from the state of Tennessee as my souvenir. It had been a productive day, and after dinner, I returned to the hotel to call it a night.

As I wrapped up the first couple of days from my Nashville journey, I was getting really excited about what was coming next. This city had already shown me so much with its great music and surprising finds. But trust me, there was even more to come.

In the next blog, I’ll delve further into Nashville’s cool spots and got ready for a super important meeting with one of my musical heroes. It was a day to remember, and I couldn’t wait to share all the details with you.

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