The home of Elvis was not what I was expecting it to be and the ducks that live in a hotel and the goats that hang out in a bar were a surprise. But what wasn't a surprise was the delicious food and the southern hospitality, which both lived up to their reputation.
It was nice to have a bit of a break from flying, as we picked up a Greyhound bus to Memphis from Nashville. It was only 3 hours and only cost us about $18, so cheaper and less hassle than hiring a car. You get lots of different types of being on the bus, which is one of the reasons I like it, but this bus seemed to be full of English people - we just can't get away from them.
If you want to be kept up to date on my new travel posts like this, then please subscribe to the blog mailing list (it takes 30 seconds) and you will get sent the new recipes straight to your inbox. Your email address won't be passed on to anyone and you will never be spammed. Click here to sign up
We were staying in an Air BnB again and this one might have even topped the previous one. Again, it was a little far out, so we had to get cabs in and out of the centre, but we got a huge garden cottage again with all the comforts of home, and more.
We are easily pleased, but our kind hosts left us a big basket of munchies. Sure, not the healthiest of things, but very much appreciated. I only ate the ritz biscuits stuffed with peanut butter because I was intrigued and we don't have that kind of thing here. How amazing are they!
Also what was very much appreciated was a fridge full of water and beer. I have never had hosts leave us beer before - maybe that counts as the breakfast?
Some interesting art too!
Surprise, surprise, we were hungry! Being in the south, some good southern food was on the agenda and we had heard that Charles Vergos' Rendezvous was the place to go if you wanted ribs! I have always said that if I felt the need to eat meat again, then I would, as I am not restricting myself and I honestly thought when faced with ribs in the south I would have some, but I didn't, as there were other delicious options!
Claire and I are both obsessed with pickles, so we thought we would get a side order of them and were definitely not expecting this. There is like a hundred pickles here and it almost broke my heart to eat them, but I didn't want to face the consequences of eating all of those.
I thought about getting the BBQ ribs, but then I saw the BBQ bean platter and thought that for me, it is all about the BBQ sauce anyway - the meat is just something that the sauce comes on, so I went for the beans and I was not disappointed. Firstly, hello huge portion!
Oh, and it came with pickles too. "Yaaaaay".
Random observation - there are plug sockets by the trees in Memphis. For all your emergency charging needs.
After a dinner of feeling like I was going to burst with pickles, we headed for Beale Street, which is the main streets for bars and music in Memphis.
We went on a Wednesday night and apparently that is the night that all the local bikers meet up on the street and hang around roaring their engines. It was insanely noisy, but a pretty good atmosphere.
Just like in Nashville, I was there for the music and looking forward to the change from country music more towards blues and that influence was heavily noticeable here.
To be honest, I much preferred Nashville in terms of a night out, as it was more my scene, but Memphis definitely has some interesting bars.
When I say interesting, I mean that there is one that has goats living in it. Yes, goats. They have their own helter skelter and just go up and down in it looking very bemused. After the initial "Ooooh, this is amusing and random", I felt really sad for them. They have such a small enclosed space and the music is so loud and they just look scared and jittery. Not really a life for an animal.
Continuing on with the weird theme, the next morning we went to the Peabody Hotel is see the ducks that live there. To be honest, I wasn't convinced this was a real thing and I thought someone was winding us up, but we went there for 11am which was apparently the time where the ducks arrive for the day.
We stood behind a red velvet rope and were greeted by the duck master. Let's just talk about him for a moment. He is the most enthusiastic man in the entire world and he really loves ducks. Like, really loves ducks.
He explained that this is a tradition dating back many years which was started as a practical joke by one of the members of staff a long time ago and they have just always carried it on. Ducks live in the hotel (although the set of ducks is changed every 2 months) and at 11am every day the duck master goes and get them, they walk along the roof, get in the lift and go down to the lobby, greet their visitors, walk along the red carpet and get in to the fountain. They stay there until 5pm, which they walk back along the carpet and go back up the lift.
Sure, this was very random, but it made me uncomfortable as I can't help but think this is cruel. Sure, this guy loves ducks and I am sure he is very nice to them, but they are being kept in a hotel. Even if they do swap them round every 2 months, they are still being kept for 2 months.
What we were really in Memphis for was to go and see Elvis and Graceland and that started with going to Sun Studio, which is a really famous recording studio that was opened by rock pioneer Sam Phillips in 1950 and Elvis and Johnny Cash are just some of the stars that have recorded there.
We had a 2pm slot booked to go and visit Graceland, but once we got there we realised that they had a strange queuing system and 2pm would actually mean 3:30pm. But there are other things to see apart from Elvis' house and there are about 4000 souvenir shops where you can buy everything Elvis related that you can possibly think of. Like, if you want to deck your entire house out in Elvis stuff, then that is place to buy it!
There is a car museum there which houses all of Elvis' cars and he had quite the collection. This was my favourite and it would have been the perfect car for our wedding, as it is our wedding colour.
We headed over to the house (you have to queue for ages to get on a bus to go over the road, which is really frustrating) and my initial impression was "is this it?". I am not sure what I was expecting, but as it was called a mansion I guess I was expecting something a little more epic.
We had our own mini iPads and headphones for the tour and of course we rocked that look!
What I did enjoy about the tour was that it was almost like stepping back in time, as all of the furniture and decor is as exactly as Elvis had it before he died - they haven't changed anything.
I am not sure I could cope with this kitchen, but it is nice to see that Elvis had a blender. Probably to make his peanut butter smoothies or something.
That wallpaper. Oh my!
This is the "Jungle Room", which is mentioned in the "Walking in Memphis" song.
Graceland is the final resting place for Elvis and his family and they have made a meditation garden around it, so it's nice and peaceful.
Overall, I wasn't very impressed with Graceland. At the end of the day, it's just a house that someone lived in. But, if you are an Elvis fan then I imagine it is much more than that. I am glad that we went, is it is the thing to do in Memphis, but if you don't have much time and you aren't a very big Elvis fan, then don't feel bad about skipping it.
Walking around a time capsule house is hungry work, so we headed to Huey's which had been recommended to us earlier that day as the place to go to get a burger and you all know how much I love burgers.
Notice all the toothpicks on the ceiling? Yeah, I thought that was odd too.
This place has been voted the best burger in Memphis for the past 15 years and it's easy to see why. I do love my burgers, but I needed some vegetables, so I ordered some as a side. They were very welcomed, but covered in salt. Why do they have to put salt on everything? If I wanted salt, I would add it myself. Gah! I take veggies seriously.
Oh, hello sweet potato waffle fries. I think I was starting to look like a sweet potato fry at this point and although these were good (they can with a crazy good cajun mayo dip), they were super greasy, so I only had a couple.
We did a little souvenir shopping (I am getting Dave a t-shirt from every city we go to) and then headed back to our little cottage for a quiet night in front of the TV, as we had to be up at 4:30 the next morning to get the train to New Orleans.
Before I settled down in front of the TV, I headed out for a run as there looked like there was a storm rolling in and I didn't want to get caught in a full on storm. It was a rainy run though, which I love as I find it kind of cleansing. Did you know there are actually lots of benefits to running in the rain too? A Helly Hansen expert has shared some of them with me:
- You can put in a more intense workout – your body will remain cooler in the rain so there will be much less risk of suffering from heat exhaustion, meaning you can push yourself further.
- You exercise more muscles – rain usually creates surfaces that are slippery or more difficult to manoeuvre, which your body compensates for.
- When it’s wet, busy paths can suddenly become deserted offering much more space to train in.
- There is a certain satisfaction to finishing a work out in the rain knowing that a lot of others simply wouldn’t have bothered.
If you are running in the rain, then good rainwear is important and Helly Hansen is my favourite. This W Aspire Jacket is really light weight and quick drying, so it keeps you cool and it protects you from the wind and rain too. I love the colours as well.
Also, these W Rohkun running shoes have such good grip, making them perfect for wet weather running. I fall over a lot anyway, so I need good grip when I am running in the rain.
I would put Memphis as my favourite place in the U.S., but the people are really friendly and the veggie food was much better and with much more choice than I was expecting. It is a must for all Elvis fans, but even if you don't like the King of Rock n Roll, there is still plenty to see and do. Just maybe avoid the goats and ducks!
Let’s stay in touch!
****This post is sponsored by Helly Hansen. Helly Hansen are giving away some fantastic prizes if you share with them your photos of yourself enjoying the outdoors in the rain. Just upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #WeLoveRain.****