I write this as we speed down Interstate 40 towards Memphis as in the car seems the only time there is to write in the last 10 days. Our days seem to be so packed with experiences that there is no time to record them. While not a typical day as they are all different, I would like to take you through one day.
We are in Louisville Kentucky staying near the airport at one of the Hilton Tru branded hotels. This brand is a new experience for us: it is modern with new decor and reasonably priced for us retirees. Think Ibis Styles with larger rooms and huge bathrooms it you’re familiar with that brand. Having never been to Louisville, Anne has been diligently researching the city for places of interest. Since neither of us are followers of the “Sport of Kings” horse-racing, the city’s connection to the Kentucky Derby holds no major attraction for us. However Anne has discovered there is a family museum here. The “J B Speed Art Museum” established in 1927, now known as the Speed by locals. What a find. Situated in the grounds of the University of Louisville, the museum is housed in a modern airy building, which reminds Anne of the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane. Famous works on display included a Rodin sculpture and Renoir, water lilies of course. I did ask for a family discount, but luckily Sunday was free.
“Our” museum in Louisville
Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky
In their own words, “ Whether you’re an art aficionado or don’t know a Dali from a Degas, you can find fresh inspiration and meaning at the Speed Art Museum. With modern architecture, expanded programming, interactive exhibits and inviting outdoor spaces, the Speed offers countless opportunities for everyone to create their own connections and experience art at their own speed.” “ The Speed acknowledges that indigenous peoples were the original stewards of the land and resources on which the Museum is built. ” Their description of their museum, acknowledgement of indigenous people added to its name, our name!, was very enticing and did not disappoint.
Fabulously airy sections, modern, quirky, fun, traditional, surprising, and extremely accessible – not overwhelming as some museums can be. Most rooms only have a few pieces in them. They invite you to reflect and connect, bringing different perspectives to a certain topic.
“Vocho” by Margarita Cabrera
“We the People” by Nari Ward
Close up of the laces making “We the People” by Nari Ward
Part of the Parlor, 1619 from Grange, a house located in Devon
“The Three Shades” by Rodin, sculpted before 1886
Cherry Tree quilt attritubed to Virginia Mason Ivey, around 1860
Close up of Virginia Mason Ivey’s Cherry Tree pattern
Dress by Dakota Sioux artist, 1880-1890
There was also a huge interactive section
The Speed Art Museum could rival Anne’s favourite modern art gallery in the world, Brisbane’s GOMA.
Anne’s artistic viewing needs sated for now, we head south.
Interesting location for a roller coaster as we leave Louisville.
Louisville Storm Chaser roller coaster
The interstate road system is great for covering distances in a day, but not as interesting as the back roads we prefer when on the motorbikes. We stop for coffee in Elizabethtown Kentucky, a small town that has worked hard to spruce up its centre. The coffee is good and a restaurant beckons for lunch. We have found that each place we visit has something to offer or a story to tell.
Beautiful mural brightens an abandonned shopping centre
Refreshed we continue south towards Nashville, we had hoped to visit Mammoth Caves National Park but all online enquiries showed no availability for the day to tour. These caves are the biggest system in the world. Over 420 miles / 675 kilometres have been mapped to date on five levels with a tiny fraction open to the public. The caves are so big that for many tours, you have to be bussed to a separate entrance miles / kilometres away. We decided to head there anyway and were rewarded with being able to secure some freed up tickets for self guided tours that afternoon. No fantastic stalactites or stalagmites for us but an introduction to an amazing cave system. We see mining from 100 years ago and evidence of human activity dating back some 4,000 years. The weather is also warmer and for the first time in a 10 days, the sweaters are off.
The original entrance to Mammoth Caves.
Audubon Avenue looking towards Rafinesque Hall.
Yes this did fall from the roof!
The Rotunda, a feature in the roof of the cave.
We had decided that Nashville, famous for its country music heritage should be on this trip. Anne used to enjoy country music while driving in the bush, she had swapped to country from learning Italian on tapes which Anne found she concentrated on more than the dirt roads! Our driving has us running a little late for an evening of Bluegrass music at the world famous “Station Inn” in Nashville. Anne discovered this place, which has been running since 1974 the same year we met, during her research. Playing live music seven nights a week with excellent reviews, it seems a good place to start our country and bluegrass music education.
The Station Inn is situated in the “Gulch”, so named as it was once a depression in the ground that contained a railroad yard. After WW2, the decline of the railways saw the area fall into decline. Development around the turn of the century has seen the “Gulch” develop into an upmarket area surrounded by new high rise apartments and offices
6:45pm sees us standing in a queue/line on our first warm evening on this trip, I do love the warmth, while waiting for “The Station Inn” to open. No tickets are sold, first come first served cash only entry, although for Sunday “Jam Night” entry is free. Will we even get in? We have no idea of the capacity.
Looks like we arrived too late
Getting closer but can this place take us all?
It’s been a long day already, so you’ll have to wait til the next blog to find out what happened next…
While not a typical day, one can see how there is no time left for blogging, well after all we are the 2 slow speeds.
– Anthony & Anne