Joined May 2017 Message
  • Day13

    Leaving Nashville & Arrival at Home

    November 3, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    4.20pm - 02.11.17
    Sat in Nashville airport, think we got here a bit too early but it is always better to be safe than sorry plus you never know how long it will take to get through security (it took less than 5 mins!!).
    Our flight doesn’t leave until 5.35pm but we should be able to board in about 30mins.

    We didn’t get up until gone 9 this morning as we knew we had until 12pm to check out & we did 80% of our packing last night. We both had plenty of room in our suitcases & both were below the baggage weight limits. We checked out & left our suitcases at the hotel & went for a wander. We called in McDonalds for lunch as we wanted something quick & easy. I spoke to Dad & Nic, i’m impressed with Dad as he answered my video chat ok!

    Just been able to check in our hand luggage, as well as our main luggage - bonus! At least we won’t have it with us changing flights now.

    Red Eye Flight
    The flight from Nashville to Atlanta was straight forward & quicker than expected which gave us plenty of time to get off the plane & get to where we needed to go for our next flight in Atlanta, in fact we may have had time for a spot of duty free shopping 😉

    The flight home was fine, one thing I noted is that compared to Virgin, Delta are not as good regarding my nut allergy. All 3 Delta flights were informed & an announcement was made on only 1 of these flights. They didn’t compensate on the fact I could not eat the food either. But hey ho, never mind, thankfully all was ok.

    I think I managed about 90mins sleep coming home, Mel didn’t get any sleep - she managed to get through 2 films, unheard of for her! I managed to watch 1 film coming home which left me a distraught, blubbering wreck (just ask Mel - think she found it quite amusing!) I watched ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ - I thought Marley & Me was bad, it had nothing on this film. Oh my god the tears, think I got through a whole pack of tissues!!

    Mel also got addicted to 1 of the in flight games, was a bit like Pac-Man but with a chicken, trying to outrun sheep & she got to level 30! She now holds on the high scores records!

    At one point there appeared to be an emergency on board, as the flight attendants were all gathered searching up & down the aisles with torches. We don’t know for sure but believe someone was taken ill.

    9.30pm - 03.11.17
    We were a bit late coming into Heathrow, due to ground fog at the airport. We didn’t rush getting off the plane & timed it right as we only had to wait a couple of mins for our baggage to be at the carousel.
    Julie was also a bit delayed too due to an accident, so we could just relax at the fact we were back in UK.

    We called in for food at Pizza Hut on way home, by then I was starving!! Then both Mel & I were dozing of in the car for the rest of the journey. Julie finally got some peace & quiet!

    I haven’t done too much since getting home, mainly napping. I will unpack tomorrow!!
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  • Day11

    Final full day in Nashville

    November 1, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Currently sat in the Wildhorse Saloon, listening to a band do their sound check.

    We went to the ‘Patsy Cline’ museum this morning. It is on the floor above Johnny Cash museum & has a similar lay out & feel to it. I came away feeling really moved & not going to lie I did tear up a couple times. I didn’t quite realise how much she achieved in her short life, I still can’t believe she was only 30 when she was killed in a plane crash. She seemed much older & wiser than her years. There was lots of memorabilia, Patsy was a keen scrapbooker so all her personal photos & memories had been scanned so you could look through them all on an iPad. You got a real feeling about the kind of person she was. Her daughter Julie was in the museum chatting to guests, so it goes to show how closely the families work with the museum & the respect held for the person & their personal artefacts.
    When we left the museum we popped into the ‘Goo Goo’ store - not that I would ever be able to eat any of their stuff as they contain nuts, mainly peanuts & we all know peanuts are evil.

    Sat in the Hard Rock cafe. Ordered steaks for lunch & non alcoholic cocktails (it is still a bit early!). We ended up leaving the Wildhorse as there was nothing due to happen until around 6pm. We thought they held line dancing throughout the day & would have been nice for Mel to line dance in Nashville, I may have even gave it a try, but obviously today was not the day! So instead we went for a walk after lunch along the pedestrian bridge, the views were really nice.

    Lunch in the Hard Rock cafe was nice, we had the Oreo cheesecake for desert, was yummy but I couldn’t eat it all!
    After lunch we just wandered, went in shops to get gifts & bits for home. We called into Alan Jackson’s bar - ‘AJs Good Time Bar’, there were a couple singing & it was nice to sit & chill.

    We caught the 6.15pm shuttle back to the hotel & then decided we really should start packing. At 8pm we popped to the bar for a drink & listen to the acts playing there ‘Brassfield Alley’ & ‘Brianna Alomar’. I really enjoyed both acts, easy listening & very talented, especially Brianna as she is only 16. Would be nice to see if either of them make it big in the future.

    Oh we found out why Wildhorse was so quiet & bands sound-checking. Tonight was the final of the NashNext competition to find Country’s new next star.

    Back to more packing & bed, sad that the holiday is at an end.
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  • Day10

    More Tours & Exploring

    October 31, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 10 °C

    As I was so slack with yesterdays blog, I thought I would get started on this one nice & early!
    We are currently on the shuttle to downtown Nashville again. Considering we were not late back yesterday it was gone midnight before I got to sleep, we were reading & chilling, we had the TV on in the background & got through Pretty Woman and Hocus Pocus.

    It looks like it is going to be a nice day, like yesterday the sun is out & we have a bright blue sky. Can still be chilly in the shade but still nicer than the weather we were having in the UK.

    Sat in the sunshine waiting for the Trolley.
    After getting off the shuttle downtown we decided to do the ‘Old Town Trolley Tour’, the trolleys go around 12 miles of Nashville in a continuous loop stopping at 15 stops along the way. Our first stop was the ‘Parthenon’ as we had free admission tickets, although we stopped here 2years ago we never went in. I’m glad we went in this time. The history of the building & what it was initially there for was fascinating. Inside hosts loads of photos from this time period & how the building was constructed. There are also art collections, I wish I could paint! Up the stairs inside is the huge golden gilded figure of Athena - which wow, is impressive!

    After leaving the Parthenon we jumped back on the Trolley & our next stop was the ‘Belmont Mansion’. This was an interesting tour & much of the original decor & furnishings still exists or has been replicated to look as near as it did at the time. I suppose I hate to admit where I take after Dad as I do find it interesting looking round old houses & museums! One fascinating fact from the tour is that the carpets in the house are made by Axminster carpets! To which me & Mel pipe up ‘ooh that is just down the round from where we live’. Small world! I knew Axminster carpets had a good reputation but I didn’t realise their reputation was THAT good to furnish an historic mansion!

    Ooh trolley is here....more later!

    Sat back on the shuttle to return to the hotel.
    We completed the full route of the Old Trolley Tour, with our couple hop off & ons as indicated above! Was a really nice route & the 3 drivers/guides we had over the course of the tour were really informative. After getting off at the final stop we were starving so we headed over to the ‘Sun Diner’ next to the Johnny Cash museum for food. We both have omelettes & had a bop along to the music. I thought it was a quaint typical American style diner.

    We ended up just wandering & popping in shops along Broadway killing time before the shuttle. One thing I have noticed more this time than the last time we were here is the number of homeless people & beggars. I always feel really guilty walking past them but I would hate to give to one & not another. I would rather give some money to a homelessness charity or shelter.

    Ready for bed! Just watched the film ‘Over Her Dead Body’ - a Paul Rudd film I haven’t seen.
    When we got back to the hotel we finally used the swimming pool, was actually really nice & relaxing. At one point we were the only 2 in the pool, must be quiet season as hardly anyone has been using the pool. After our swim, we went to the whirlpool spa, oh my god it was lush! The worse thing was getting out & going back to the pool as that seemed freezing in comparison.

    Last full day in Nashville tomorrow 😢 better make the most of it!
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  • Day9

    Museums & Music

    October 30, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 7 °C

    Bit late writing today’s blog!

    We purchased the 3 day shuttle ticket from reception & caught the first bus at 9.55am into Downtown Nashville. We got off at the Wildhorse Saloon & then walked along Broadway just taking in the atmosphere. Our first stop was the Visitors Centre where we purchased City Passes. These entitle you to free admission into 4 attractions, free entry to the Parthenon, free entry to Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame & 25% off a Gray Line Tour.
    Monday appears to be a quiet day in Nashville so a few attractions are closed.

    The first place we decided to go was ‘Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum’ - it was really interesting to learn more about the musicians that have played on some of the biggest records of all time. Part of the museum is home to the ‘Grammy Museum Gallery’, this part had lots of area where you could test out being a musician & try different instruments. One thing I learnt today is that i’m a crap drummer!! There was another stage where we had a sing along as Ray Charles’ backing singers.
    Again we were lucky that museum was fairly quiet so we got to really take our time & interact with the exhibits. We must have been there for about 3hrs!!

    Leaving the museum we called back into the Ryman auditorium shop as we didn’t get chance to look around yesterday. By now we were hungry so we called into ‘Tootsies Orchid Bar’ for lunch. It is so nice to be able to relax with food & drink listening to good live music. We were probably there a good hour or more.

    Our next stop was, yes you guessed it the ‘Johnny Cash Museum’ - come on it had to be done! Actually there were several new exhibits since the last time we visited 2 years ago. We must have been there 2.5hrs! I never learn, as once again I watched the video for ‘Hurt’ knowing full well it makes me tear up every time I see it!! I love this museum, he was so talented.

    By the time we left the museum it was 6.20pm, when we checked the bus schedule we realised we had just missed a bus back to our hotel & would have 90mins to wait for the next one so we called into the Wildhorse Saloon for a drink. Only cokes mind! No cocktails or alcohol today.

    Tomorrow we plan on heading back Downtown & doing a Trolley hop on, hop off tour.

    Night y’all 😴
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  • Day8

    Nashville TV show tour

    October 29, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 0 °C

    Sat in bed writing the blog for the day! Today has been a fairly quiet & relaxed day. We were going to get up & go for a swim but it was a bit cold & we couldn’t be bothered!!

    I had emailed them, but not heard back so we tried to ring the Gray Line tour company to confirm all was ok with our tour today but none of the numbers worked. We chucked on some clothes & went to reception, the lovely lady there phoned the company on our behalf & even arranged for them to pick us up here rather than the Opryland resort. Bonus!

    We then came back to the room to shower & change, we decided to go out for brunch before the tour. We walked over the road & went in the Cracker Barrel store/restaurant but it was heaving so we decided to go there another time. We then found some shops to have a look around. One store had lots of cowboy boots so we tried loads on & both ended up buying a pair! As we were in there a while we were running out of time for food so went to McDonalds (it actually had a live singer inside!). We got food to go & legged it back to the hotel as we only had 20mins to eat before having to be outside ready for our tour pick up.

    We were picked up about 1.10pm & our driver/guide Brian had to make another couple stops to get other passengers. Brian was a great guide with lots of Nashville knowledge & facts about the show. He drove us all around Nashville pointing out loads of filming locations & the scenes filmed there. We saw the homes used for those of the characters: Juliette, Rayna, Deacon, Gunnar etc. We had a 45min stop at the Ryman Auditorium - which used to be the home of the Grand Ole Opry, was interesting to find out history of the building. We also stopped at The Bluebird Cafe but unfortunately did not get to go in, still it was fab to see it, looks tiny from the outside & you wouldn’t think so many big country stars were discovered &/or play there regularly. The other stop was Two Old Hippies, a rather expensive store where apparently most of Scarlet’s clothes come from.
    It was a great tour & we were out for over 3 hours.

    When we got back to hotel we chilled & faffed around trying to decide what to do! In the end we went back to Cracker Barrel & had pancakes for tea! They were yummy!

    The next three days we plan on buying the 3 day shuttle pass & spending our time in Downtown Nashville, we just have to decide what attractions to see!
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  • Day7

    Shopping & General Jackson

    October 28, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 4 °C

    Currently sat on the General Jackson showboat waiting to set sail for this evenings ‘Nashville Nights’ cruise.

    We have had quite a leisurely day, spent most of it at the Opry Mills, shopping!! We found a fab clothes shop called ‘Maurices’ it catered for both our sizes which was perfect as we both saw lots of stuff. The assistants set us up with changing rooms with our names on. I don’t think I have ever liked every single item I have taken into a changing room before! I thought bugger it, i’m on holiday, I have the money on my travel card so lets treat myself. We must have been in there way over an hour. Mel bought a lot of stuff too.

    After our splurges we were both hungry so we decided to eat at the Aquarium restaurant. We had a lovely meal, both of us decided on fish & chips, then for desert we shared key lime pie, all washed down with cocktails!!

    From there we went over to the Grand Ole Opry shop as we didn’t have much of a chance to look properly yesterday. We both got a few items there.

    Then we just wandered around the mall again, just browsing shops. We spent a bit of time in one of the shoe stores just trying on cowboy boots, I was very tempted buy a pair & may have to go back!

    We didn’t go back to the hotel to drop stuff off, we just walked straight over to the General Jackson to board.

    Been back at the hotel 30mins or so.

    So, review of General Jackson, we weren’t overly impressed, to be fair on a summer evening &/or if you were eating it might be different. We didn’t eat because surprise, surprise we weren’t overly keen on the menu, so we were up on the balcony looking down at the stage & those dining below. So for us there was a lot of waiting around as we left just after 7pm & the entertainment didn’t start until about 8.45pm. We did wander outside on the deck but was too cold to stay there too long, we also popped to the gift shop, but for the most part we were sat around drinking our huge & bloody expensive daiquiris!

    The entertainers were talented & sung a wide of songs but we struggled to make out the words to most of what they were singing, whether that was down to the audio or where we were sat I don’t know. I swear there were so many costume changes their wardrobe backstage must make Carrie Bradshaw’s look tiny!!

    So it was a good experience but i’d choose the Opry over it any night of the week.
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  • Day6

    Nashville - Tussauds & Grand Ole Opry

    October 27, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 5 °C

    I had a good nights sleep & was awake by about 7.30am. We didn’t rush to get ready as the only plans we had were for this evening.
    We caught the complimentary shuttle over to the Opry Mills (a huge shopping mall!), we went to guest services first to pick up our passports of offers, looked like there would be a few we would be able to get use out of!

    We decided to go to Madame Tussauds first (it only opened earlier this year) & as we are staying at the Opryland we got free entry - bonus! It was quiet which meant we had plenty of time to pose & do stupid poses with the waxworks. We went into a recording booth & now have 2 songs of us singing on CD. We had fun! As we got in for free we decided to buy the photo package.

    After leaving Tussauds we were hungry so went to the food court for lunch, i’m somewhat ashamed to admit we went to Burger King! We then wandered around the shops some more but didn’t actually buy anything (we are saving that for tomorrow/Sunday!). Mel bumped into her friend from back home who is also on holiday in Nashville (small world!). We then came back to the hotel to chill for a few minutes before getting ready for the Opry tonight.
    We are currently waiting for the shuttle, it better hurry up as we have the VIP tickets for before the show!

    Been back at the hotel a while now. Wow, what a night at the Opry! Thankfully we got there in time to pick up all our tickets, we then had to wait in the designated place for our VIP ‘Behind The Curtain’ tour. Our guide Judy was great as she took us back stage & explained what happens before a show. We got to see some of the artists arriving & in their dressing rooms getting prepared for the show. Just before 7pm we were ushered onto the stage, it was an amazing experience to actually be on the stage & witness the red curtain rise, to look out & see the audience and see an artist perform.
    We got to be on the stage for the first couple performances, then we were escorted back to our reserved seats where we watched the rest of the show from the audience.

    There were a lot of acts on the line up, if i’m honest, Mel & I weren’t particularly impressed before hand as there weren’t really any contemporary acts like last time, however, it was a great night. Admittedly there were several bluegrass & older artists but they were all so talented & you could see they loved being up on the stage.
    There was even a comedienne called Jeanne Robertson who was very funny, she had spoken to us all backstage & seemed really nice & down to earth. The artist I really liked & would check out is Mark Wills, I loved both songs he performed.

    We left the Opry to find that the heavens had opened & it was pouring down with rain (it was just like being at home!!), we got soaked walking to the shuttle.

    It was a fantastic night, now looking forward to sleeping & seeing what tomorrow will bring.
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  • Day5

    Last day in Atlanta on to Nashville

    October 26, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    Currently sat in Metro Cafe Diner waiting for breakfast or should that be brunch?! We have both gone for our old favourites: Buttermilk pancakes for me & waffles for Mel.
    We were up a bit later today as we knew that we weren’t in a hurry. Had a panic when we saw a bill for the room had been put through our door, then realised it said it had been charged to an agent.
    Was time already to pack our cases, little ones still in the big cases as we haven’t had a chance to properly hit the shops yet. Our flight is at 4.50pm but we will make sure we get to the airport with plenty of time to spare, our cases are in left luggage at the hotel. So we will just wander for a couple hours.
    I did Facetime Sally (Hi Sal!) for a quick catch up, nice to speak to her, Amie & see Honey.

    Feel so stuffed!! Pancakes were lovely but I couldn’t finish it all although I did give it my best shot!

    Sat in departures. Was good to get here nice & early so we could relax without rushing.
    When we finished our brunch we went for a wander as it was another beautiful day in Atlanta. I’m glad we got to do the tours & tourist bits that we didn’t get the opportunity to do last time. Atlanta you were great, now looking forward to Nashville 😁

    Got all checked in at ‘The Inn @ Opryland’ ok. Got ourselves settled in our room which is directly opposite the swimming pool which means we might actually have to try it out! We went for food at the ‘Opry Backstage Grill’ which is in our hotel. The drinks were lush & my food was nice but we did say we would try other places for food & maybe just go there again for drinks.
    We are now back at our room watching ‘Hairspray’ & enjoying a sing song.
    We have the Opry tomorrow night but think we might go to the mall during the day, we will see where the day takes us when we get up I suppose!
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  • Day4

    Another tour & being tourists

    October 25, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 7 °C

    Had a busy day! Just got back to the hotel.

    I was awake by 7 so spoke to mum,dad & Nic back home, then read for a bit. We were out of out of our room by 9.45am and got to the lobby in plenty of time to wait outside for our lift. We had arranged a private 3hr tour with D-Tours, who would take us around Atlanta & show us locations from Walking Dead/Hunger Games.
    Our guide Dan was really chatty & friendly. Our first stop was the bridge with the iconic skyline from the first ep of WD where Rick rides the horse into the city, we then proceeded to visit Rick & Morgan’s homes, the alley where Glenn rescued Rick, the intersection with the tank scene, the building where Meryl was handcuffed, Terminus (which was all set up for ready for filming of the new AntMan - sadly I did not see Paul Rudd ☹️), Goat Farm - District 12 from Hunger Games, the hospital where Rick woke up, Sherifs building, CDC building, President Snow’s mansion. We managed to get photos in most locations & Dan was very informative with his knowledge.
    I was surprised to see how much filming is currently going on in Atlanta, we passed several places where production trucks & trailers were set up. But Marvel are doing a lot of filming. Robert Downey Jnr & Benedict Cumberbatch were seen filming only this week but unfortunately not by us!

    After our tour which finished at 1pm, Dan kindly drop us off by Centennial Park. We went for some lunch in a cafe then decided to visit ‘The World of Coca-Cola’. This was actually really interesting, we found out all about the history of the drink, how it started & developed through the years. There were several exhibits such as: The Vault, Bottling, Advertising, Cultural impact, 4D cinema, Meet the polar bear. Probably the most interesting room was the tasting room, here you could taste around 100 varieties of drink from all around the world then have been developed by Coca-Cola, some of the flavours were lovely. Others were hideous, especially one called ‘Beverley’ from Italy, it really was vile! Mel nearly wet herself when she saw my reaction after tasting it, especially when I said ‘God, I need something else to drink, to get the horrible taste of Beverley out of my mouth’!!
    We must have spent a good 2.5hrs there.

    The next stop was the ‘Georgia Aquarium’, we didn’t get there until 4pm but as it is open until 9pm we knew we would have plenty of time to get around and actually we were really luckily as it was quite quiet. Wow, what an aquarium, I can quite understand why it is rated one of the best in the world. It isn’t often i’m speechless but the huge tank housing the whale sharks really is a sight to behold. There are different exhibits such as: Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, Cold Water Quest, River Scout, and Dolphin Tales. We were able to see the dolphin show & the sea lion show, you could see how hard the trainers work & the bonds they build with their animals.

    After leaving the aquarium we walked through Centennial Park to make our way back to the hotel but we decided to stop for food at ‘PittyPat’s Porch’, we ate here 2yrs ago and it was really nice, hence why we decided to eat here again. We both had cocktails (had to be done right?!), I had a steak & Mel had chicken. Was really nice but we were too stuffed to get pudding!

    Can’t believe we have to leave Atlanta tomorrow already, however i’m looking forward to Nashville and what we have planned there!
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  • Day3

    The morning after & Walking Dead tour

    October 24, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Thankfully we managed to get our accommodation sorted. Mel finally got hold of our rep who said she would get on the case straight away. She phoned us back within 30mins to say she had spoken to the hotel & everything was sorted. We went back down to reception to confirm & they added the nights on to our room keys, phew!!!

    We then decided to go for a stroll to get our bearings & to get some fresh air to calm down. We passed the restaurant we ate at on our last tour & thought we might go there another night. We didn’t go in anywhere as we were tired, so we went back to hotel.

    We tried to find the new episode of Walking Dead to watch, but none of our UK apps would work & we couldn’t download the USA apps. I’m sure there are ways around it but we couldn’t be bothered to look. Think we were both in bed with the lights out by 9.30pm, we did watch some of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ but all the bloody ad breaks got annoying so we turned it off. We fell asleep listening to the rain (not actual rain, the TV had a sleep sound channel!), it was very calming but I did wake up in the middle of the night & thought bloody hell it is raining hard out there!!

    I was awake just after 7, caught up on my messages from where we we sending help to Virgin about our accommodation! Then had nice shower & got changed. As we are on the Walking Dead Zombie Tour today we decided we would have to watch the new episode of the Walking Dead somehow so I paid to download the ep to iTunes, which we watched before leaving the hotel.

    Actual spoiler free conversation whilst watching the episode:
    Mel: How does Father Gabriel keep his dog collar so white?
    Me: He must use Daz

    We are currently sat in the Atlanta Movie Tour shop, waiting for our tour, we got here an hour early as we walked & we didn’t know exactly where we were going! But as a plus it is a beautiful day out, bright sunny day & blue skies. So should be a great day!

    Current sat in Nic & Norman’s bar in Senoia waiting for food & drinks, we are starving! 🍔🍟🥛

    The Big Zombie Tour 2 was fun, we paid to upgrade to the VIP tour which meant that Cooper Andrews (who plays Jerry from the Kingdom) was on our bus, plus the meal & transport to & from Senoia. I think we were possibly the only people on our bus not attending Atlanta Walker Stalker Con which is being held this weekend!

    On our way from Atlanta to Senoia the bus showed an episode from S3 of Walking Dead as we would be visiting some of the locations in the episode.
    We got to Senoia aka Woodbury with about 45mins to spare so we were able to explore & we went to see the outskirts of the Alexandria set.
    On the bus, Copper & our tour guide (Hilltop) Josh were happy to answer questions & tell us about their experiences of filming the show. We pulled up by several filming locations, & got out at two. The first was the building where the walker fighting ring was set up by the Governor & the second was where Rick & The Governor meet, plus where *spoiler without giving too much away* Daryl & Meryl say a final goodbye. We got some cool photos with Cooper!
    Plus it was just interesting driving around as it is such a beautiful scenic part of Georgia.

    Senoia is lovely & quaint, although you can see all of the Walking Dead influences & tourists it doesn’t seem to have lost its charm which is lovely to see. I do wonder how all the residents feel about it all though.

    Just eaten & the food was lovely, we both had chicken burgers & fries, and we were starving! We didn’t eat a proper meal yesterday so was good to have some decent food.

    Back at the hotel, absolutely shattered! The tour was well worth it though, i’m glad we finally got to go on one! Copper signed photos for us all & made an effort to come & chat to us all. The tour was very organised & I would recommend the company to anyone visiting Atlanta.

    Right hot chocolate & sleep as we have another tour in the morning.
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