American Update #6 – Nashville

Welcome to Nashville… ‘Music City’.

I like this place. It feels a lot more like a City than Atlanta did. Whilst the latter seemed fairly empty and lifeless, Nashville has a bit of soul, and a downtown area that actually has shops and bars to wander about in.

One of the cool things was walking past the various bars and hearing different styles of music wafting out all throughout the day. It seemed like everywhere that sold alcohol had some sort of band or musician playing. I ended up in a couple, and what was more amazing was that people in the bar were actually listening and enjoying the whole thing. At home you either go to see a band specifically or else it’s somewhat of an annoyance. Maybe if we had more traditional Celtic music without it having to be an ‘event’ then that might be a bit different.

One of the rather strange things about Nashville is that they have a full-size replica of the Parthenon from Athens, Greece, that sits in their Centennial Park. Apparently there was a temporary structure built for a celebration there at some point in the past, and it proved to be so popular that they turned it into a permanent fixture.

Having been to the real one a couple of times, I felt like I had to see what this was like for myself, and embarked on what I thought was a ten minute walk from downtown. An hour later I found it:

Inside they even had a reconstruction of the statue of the Goddess Athena, which is thought to have stood inside the Parthenon in this position. This was pretty interesting, since you haven’t been able to get inside the Greek Parthenon for a long time due to restoration works, and so it was a pretty impressive way to get an idea of what the inside might have been like.

Sitting flat in a park, it was never going to have the same mystique as that of the Acropolis, perched high above the city, and it would be easy to cynically dismiss it as an American attempt to appropriate a bit of ancient culture, but the reason they chose this particular building is pretty interesting. Nashville is apparently known as the ‘Athens of the South’, and so it’s fitting for that reason alone… but they also want the structure to be a symbol of education and knowledge, just as the ancient city of Athens was known for its perspective on the world. Pretty cool really.

I only could make it up to Nashville thanks to the wonders of Couchsurfing, so I have a lot to thank my wonderful hosts for. Dan lived in this brightly coloured house in Nashville, which apparently the neighbours aren’t too chuffed about.

I think it’s brilliant.

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