United States
Atlanta Station Number 4 Fire Station

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7 travelers at this place:

  • Day2

    Whistlestop Atlanta

    June 8, 2017 in the United States

    Just one day to experience Atlanta is a big ask. Atlanta is a huge sprawling city with seemingly no gravitational centre. We are staying downtown in a cavernous Hilton with an atrium the size of an aircraft carrier. Conventioneers come and go and the feel of the hotel is of transcience and anonymity.

    After settling in we headed out to the cultural area in downtown which centres around the Olympic centennial park. It was just a short walk of 3 or so blocks but the heat and humidity made it a little uncomfortable even at 10:30. The sketchiness of the neighbourhood didn't help. We were reassured by our cheery Uber driver who brought us from Atlanta's huge airport that the area is safe. 'But always stay together' she worryingly added. She told us that there are quite a few shootings on the highway from road rage and then barged her way across 3 lanes to the angry hoots of fellow drivers as if it provide us a practical example.

    As we passed the back entrances of huge, chain hotels who we talk to be homeless people were actually hotel staff on a break drawing heavily on their cigarettes and staring sadly at the floor.

    The centennial park area is pleasant enough, bordered by large but empty roads. Kids played I. The fountains and it seems a great place to meet people, chat and eat your packed lunch. We stopped for a coffee and sweet ice tea at a local cafe. Goodness knows how much sugar is added to the tea but it certainly gave me a much needed shot of energy. We didn't have time for the massive Georgia Aquarium with its Whalesharks and Manta Rays and didn't have the interest for the Coca Cola Experience and its uninspiring promise of 300 different flavours of Coca Cola form all around the world to sample. I've had enough sugary soft drinks for today. Our Atlanta based friend Malcolm recommended the National Centre for Civil and Human Rights which shared the plaza and we went there instead which we describe in another posting.

    After the museum we headed across the road to the CNN headquarters. Inside its huge 70s atrium (which seems to be a thing in Atlanta corporate architecture) we watched snippets on the big screen about the UK election while we tried Chick-fil-A. A somewhat ordinary fried chicken sandwich which is extremely popular in the US and recalled with mouthwatering detail by our informative Uber driver. It was ok, a little dry but I enjoyed the waffle cut fries which actually tasted of potato.

    After CNN we tried to get a birds eye view of the city and we went to the Sundial building which housed the Westin hotel. Sadly, the viewing gallery was closed and we decided to head back to our hotel due to ours and our phones energy being depleted. After an hour or so top up for both we headed to the top of our building and its 70s style bar and restaurant, gold glass elevator, smoked glass and all. We were granted a look around by the manager with less than Southern style friendliness and wandered around taking in the view. It was surprisingly green, in fact incredibly so. Trees covered every space from horizon to horizon broken only by clumps of tall buildings and neighbourhood housing. It was rather like a mega city that was slowly being reclaimed by nature. Quite unexpected.

    We decided to head out to Buckhead for dinner in search of Sushi. We took the metro called MARTA to Buckead station and wandered around what we hoped would be a quieter and less anonymous district but proved the same as downtown only with Mandarin Hotel hotels and Hermes boutiques. After a rather good cocktail in a local bar and a couple of beers we secured a table at a local French restaurant which was pretty excellent especially the gougeres and oysters.

    The certainty of a hung parliament at home left us with a feeling of dread that the white wine went some way to alleviate. Perhaps unsurprisingly not one American that we spoke to knew we were having an election in the UK. And judging by the probable turmoil that lies ahead it was something I rather envied.
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  • Day3

    Two Great Men in Atlanta

    June 9, 2017 in the United States

    Woke earlyish and did a little writing while Richard snoozed. Breakfast buffet style, had to try the grits (awful), added some cheese (still awful) and biscuits with country gravy which are plain scones with a savoury cream sauce on top (odd but tasty and satisfying).

    Packed and on to pick up the car that's going to take us all around the southern states. We made our first stop in the Sweet Auburn district of Atlanta. Sweet Auburn is an African American district on the edge of downtown Atlanta famous for being the birthplace of Martin Kuther King Jr. Back then it was prosperous and middle class and a very pleasant area before being recently abandoned and haunted by crime and homelessness. A block of Auburn Street is dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr including his home, local church where he preached and a museum containing his and his wife's tomb.

    Though dated, the exhibition was done well, but the real feel of the man came from seeing his house (surprisingly large and middle class), the area he played in as a kid (in the yard of a next door fire station) and his local Ebenezer baptist church where you can hear an example of his sermon featuring his electrifying style of delivery.

    The poverty in the area was palpable though. Stopping at a local gas station we were helped to fill the car by a black guy who we took to be working there, albeit dressed shabbily, but was just looking for a few dollars in a quiet but desperate way. We were happy to oblige. Meanwhile a car pulled up next to ours and a black guy in impenetrable shades screamed a stream of consciousness into his phone peppered with the 'n' word as almost every other word. It was truly shocking to hear but I think it is just part of the language for some people.

    Onwards to the presidential library dedicated to Jimmy Carter. I've admired Carter for some time and whilst not perfect he seemed dedicated to promoting peace amongst nations that other world leaders thought too difficult to even try to achieve. His wife also was a great advocate of mental health and wellbeing and he graciously dedicated the library to her and the achievements she had made in that field.

    Set in densely wooded grounds the low rise building consisting of interlocking circles set a contemplative scene that was stimulated by the walk through his early life and achievements.

    So a morning well spent learning about two great men and their huge contribution to change through non-aggressive means. And perhaps a massive contrast to the appalling political state of affairs we are suffering both in the US and UK currently.
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  • Day2

    In the air & arrival into Atlanta

    October 23, 2017 in the United States

    12.30pm
    In the air! Our flight was delayed by 30 mins, not bad considering this is our first delayed flight.
    Spent my £20 voucher on plenty of drinks & snacks for the flight, so Mel & I won’t starve!
    Have a banging headache so have just had a drink & taken some painkillers, it is probably because i’m overtired, not sure if I will be able to sleep on the plane, so will probably read or watch a film.

    6.10pm (UK time)
    I have actually managed to get some sleep on the plane, which makes a change. Attempted to watch Spiderman: Homecoming but found I couldn’t keep my eyes open, plus I think it is a film you need to see on a bigger screen. So instead I have been watching some stuff I downloaded onto my tablet before leaving.
    Mel is actually having a kip next to me! In what I believe is a first, Mel is actually colder than me & had to get her blanket out! 😮

    I spoke too soon, Mel has just woken up so we have decided it is snack time, cheese sandwiches it is!

    Don’t think we will be doing too much in Atlanta tonight, depends how long it will take to get through customs & get a cab to our hotel. We need to try & watch the new episode of Walking Dead before our tour tomorrow.

    4.30pm (US time)
    In a cab to our hotel! Going through customs was much quicker than expected, we were through in about 5 mins, then just had to wait for our luggage.
    Weird to think it is 9.30pm back at home, been up for around 17hrs. Will be nice to get to hotel & get checked in.
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  • Day2

    Hotel shenanigans

    October 23, 2017 in the United States

    So in my last post I said it would be nice to get to hotel & check in.

    I spoke too bloody soon, got to Sheraton hotel & guess what....no record of our booking. Mel was close to breaking point whilst I was staying fairly calm, we balance each other well like that. One stresses, one holds it together.

    We had all our booking paperwork from Virgin but nope, no booking, no mention of us on their system. Whilst at reception we tried to call the rep, but no answer. So we had to pay a $50 hold on a room for one night to try & get things sorted. Got to room, I video called my sister, then we took to social media, e-mail, FB, twitter, messenger you name it!! Thank god Mel brought her mobile, but not looking forward to the bill!
    Finally got hold of rep, who is now trying to make contact with Sheraton to get things sorted, so fingers crossed whilst we await a phone call.

    I came on holiday to take a break from all the stress, not to bloody add to it!!
    On a plus side the room is very nice, hopefully we get to stay in it!!
    Now, perhaps an alcoholic drink would calm us down...........
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  • Day4

    Another tour & being tourists

    October 25, 2017 in the United States

    9.30pm
    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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Atlanta Station Number 4 Fire Station

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