We arrived at our hotel in Nashville just as the rain started. But by the time we’d checked in and stashed our stuff, the sun had re-emerged. So we set off to acquire lunch.
After fortifying ourselves with Cheeseburgers in Paradise and margaritas at Margaritaville, we set off exploring the downtown area. Street performers, Elvis statues, bars, and restaurants lined the streets around the waterfront. We visited the Johnny Cash museum, stopped for salt water taffy, and picked up a couple of souvenirs. Because our hotel room had a small fridge, we found a little grocery store and bought a few things to fix a light dinner.
The sky was cloudy and rain was in the forecast, so I decided to go for my run a little early. I went through Printers Alley toward the waterfront, and ran along the Cumberland River for a mile or so.
On the way back, I passed the Davidson County courthouse, a huge columned structure a block away from the river.
I ended up only running 1.5ish miles, but I realized it’s difficult to get longer mileage in an urban downtown area like this. So I was pretty satisfied with my efforts and returned to the hotel.
The next morning, we decided to try a longer route, possibly crossing the river via the pedestrian bridge and making the loop around. But as we rode the elevator down, a passenger suggested running to Centennial Park, about two miles away. The park itself is a mile loop, so we could get in an easy five or six miles if we wanted. That sounded good, so we headed out in the opposite direction from what we’d originally intended.
The route went in a straight line from our hotel to the park. Lots of intersections and stop lights, little shops and restaurants on either side. And then there was the Hustler store, which is exactly what you think it is. On Church Street, no less.
When we got to the park, we realized we’d run to the Parthenon! I had no idea why Nashville had a complete replica Parthenon in the middle of the city, but I’d heard about it and there it was.
Instead of running the mile loop around (we’d both been running the day before and elected to take it easy) we meandered through the park and around the Parthenon. It’s absolutely massive, apparently an exact replica of the Greek version (well, before Napoleon blew it up), and its history is much more fascinating–and much older–than I expected. A plaster and wood version was originally built in 1897 for the Centennial celebration. It was supposed to be temporary, but the public loved it and it stuck around. By the 1920s it was crumbling, and the city rebuilt it using permanent materials, which is what stands there today. A massive Greek Revival Parthenon in the middle of Nashville. It even appears on the registry of historical places–definitely not what I had expected.
We stopped for water near Vanderbilt University and began the return trip. But before long it became clear that the temperature and humidity had sucked some of the energy out of us, and we ran-walked the last mile and a half back to the hotel. A shower and iced coffee hit the spot.
Tomorrow is my 31st consecutive day of running, and I’m not sure what’s in store yet!