We reached the Music City at around 3:30 pm on Christmas day. Unfortunately, it turned out that our rental car company (Hertz) had run out of cars to rent! I had to spend 15 mins on the phone and with counter staff arguing, eventually getting them to refund me our money. We then got a car from Avis and proceeded to drive to my friends' (Luis & Vivi's) house. Driving through I-40 and 440, I felt somewhat nostalgic and pointed out the route I used to take to Vanderbilt in the past. We reached home in about 20 mins, and were greeted by Luis, Vivi, their son, Niko, and their dog, Jake!
It was nice to see them all after ~ 18 months and we spent the evening chatting about various things. Eventually, we all got a bit hungry so Vivi made a quick, Indian dinner (thanks to ready-to-eat packs!) for us and we called it a day. The next morning, we woke up, got dressed and went to the Pancake Pantry (a Nashville tradition!) for breakfast. As always, it was a 45 min wait before we got seated so we were starving! The Wife ordered some pancakes and I had the Grill Cook's Medley. I don't know if it was just me fantasising, but I thought the quality of the food had dropped a bit since the last time I had been there. Even so, we finished our food quickly, and then went to the Ganesha temple in Bellevue. This was a temple that I used to go to fairly regularly during my Ph.D. days in Nashville, and it had not changed one bit...even most of the priests were still the same!
For a while now on this trip, the Wife had been craving some South Indian food, so after our temple visit, we went Woodlands, a vegetarian restaurant that was especially renowned for its South Indian fare. Both of us had dosas there - the Wife a paneer dosa and I had a rava masala dosa, both of which were delicious! The Wife then wanted to do some shopping so we went to the Green Hills Mall where we spent the rest of the afternoon just browsing around various stores. The Mall had expanded a bit since I had been there last so there was some novelty there for me as well. As proof of her shopping exploits, the Wife bought a turtleneck sweater on sale there. Then, we headed home for a short rest and to freshen up as we had made plans to meet some of my Nashvillian friends at Bosco's for dinner.
We spent some time chatting with Vivi, and playing with Niko and Jake before heading out to Bosco's, a favorite haunt of mine during my Nashville days. We met with Petra, Archana, Roberto and Rey, in addition to Luis, Vivi and Niko, there. Just like ol' times! It was a very enjoyable night and we finally made it back home close to midnight, exhausted....AGAIN! ;-)
For the 27th, Petra and Paula had organised a party at their house in honour of our visit. That was to be the main event of our trip! ;-) That morning, we woke up and had some Subway sandwiches for breakfast, and then went for a quickfire tour around Nashville. First, I took the Wife down Nolensville Road and showed her the old apartment that I used live in. Then, we went to Vanderbilt and walked around campus as I pointed out important areas and buildings. We were lucky enough that the Physics building was open so I was able to show the Wife my old office and lab!
Then, we went to downtown Nashville and drove around for a while, stopping by the Cumberland River for some pictures of the river and LP Field (the home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans!). Soon, it was time to head over to Petra and Paula's, and we had an
awesome time there meeting all the friends who were there for dinner the night before and Ines, Antonio and their son, Adrian. Amidst chatting, eating some munchies, enjoying a fondue dinner, and eventually playing some Guitar Hero on their PS3, time flew by and we got home close to midnight and went to bed immediately.
The next day (the 28th), we had planned a brunch with friends especially because a few of them were only returning back to Nashville early that day or late the night before, and wanted to meet with us. So, we woke up, got dressed, had some breakfast at home with Luis and Niko, packed our bags and headed to the Cheesecake Factory for brunch with friends. We got to meet Kathy, her fiancee, Ray, Fiona, Petra and Paula there and had some delicious, although fattening food for brunch! The Wife had some pizza, I had spicy pasta and we shared chocolate cake for dessert. The portions were huge as always so we boxed some of everything for consumption later in LA. Then, we bid adieu to all friends and drove back to Nashville airport, returned our rental car and boarded our flight to LA, the final stop of our marathon trip around the US!
You can see the complete pictures of our Nashville trip here.