There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

28 July 2016

the Athens of the South

The Greek architecture rose grandly above the trees of Centennial Park in Nashville. The goddess Athena towers over the masses below, holding onto scholarly education and symbols of victory.
The exact replica of the Parthenon in Greece is a symbol to the city being rebuilt after the Civil War, and to celebrate becoming part of the Union 100 years before. A city that moved on and focused upon the education of it's people rather than wallowing in the destruction and loss of life.
The sense of freedom and rebirth was strong here in Centennial Park. From statues of great past leaders to the revolution of the steam engines that helped to power this city forward, I sit on a park bench and take it all in.

A lone turtle seems to watch me for a moment as I am in thought.

26 July 2016

the youth of American Music

I could hear the music wafting from the park across the street, and the food trucks were lining up for the lunch time crowd.
I snag a greasy blue cheese and bacon burger, find some shade at the base of a tree, and enjoy some free music from the youth of Nashville.
Music, I dare say, is more entwined into everyday life here than most other places. It allows youth the freedom and creativity to express themselves, escape the hard times of every day life, and let them be able to be themselves.

Which, as I sat listening, was quite the amazing expression of hope, love, and happiness.

22 July 2016

Seeing Avalon from Le Golf Cart

Currently there is a fourteen year waiting list to get a car in the city of Avalon. That may seem crazy to some, but for the golf cart industry, the environment, and Catalina Island itself, that waiting period could easily be longer.
This is the preferred mode of transportation, and I'm ready to follow the map and explore Avalon for the next few hours.

I climb the hills to scenic harbor views.
I twist and turn through the narrow streets, weaving past the rich and famous as well as a park full of backpacking enthusiasts. Families out for a morning stroll, tourists taking the obligatory selfie with their loved ones.
Eucalyptus trees fill my senses as I make my way on a cloudy day through the small island town.
 No Pressure.

14 July 2016

under the influence of Nashville

I land at the Nashville airport around midnight, yet the humidity has not released it's grip on the city. It's still hot as balls.

The next morning, I step outside and within five minutes, I need another shower. I find a row of bicycles for rent, and pedal my drenched and sweaty self towards downtown. I have a new city to explore.
Self proclaimed to be the birthplace of country music, Johnny Cash, and the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville has live, free music around every corner. It creates a fun vibe throughout the city as you walk up and down music row.
Southern pride is palpable among the people here, regardless of race, creed, or color. Nashville's Pride parade consumes blocks of downtown real estate. President Jackson is immortalized in statue, building and street sign.
I find a record store with hidden vinyl gems. It takes me in and let's my body escape the heat for a moment, as I absorb the easy going vibe of this city.

13 July 2016

Catalina

An hour after leaving the dock in San Pedro, the boat pulls into the Avalon harbor. Tourists pull their luggage along the sidewalk towards the sleepy town. I watch the boats bob up and down with the gentle waves as they reach the shores of Catalina Island.
Island life puts everything into slow motion ; thoughts, actions, movements. I hear that Marilyn Monroe worked in the candy shop on Main Street when she was sixteen.
The history of Hollywood's riches are found in the homes on the Island's hills and the yachts in the harbor.
It's a quiet place, safe to walk and full of charm.
 I make the most of my day here with a few adventures, but let's start with a general overview filled with walks along the beach and stunning west end scenery.