We’ve been super lucky the past few years that we’ve been able to go to Florida for the Christmas holidays and this year was no different. However, we did decide to shake things up a bit by stopping in Atlanta for a few days to nurse our jetlags and just to see the town. And we did quite a bit of touristy sightseeing thingies!
First stop: South City Kitchen, for what better way to celebrate being in the US again than buttermilk fried chicken? It was awesome! Just waay too much, but nothing new there. Our hotel (the Artmore) was super conveniently located right by a metro stop and the High Museum of Art (more on that later). It was super cold the day we arrived in Atlanta btw.
Luckily the next day the weather was sunny and even a wee bit warm so we decided to walk to Downtown. We passed Margaret Mitchell’s house and made a brief stop at Starbucks where I had instant oatmeal for the first time in my life (not bad for fast food) and then we happily traipsed along Peachtree Street until we hit Baker Street and eventually World of Coca Cola. I used to drink coke quite a bit, but I kind of gave up on it after my stint in LA (not a high-fructose corn syrup fan) but it’s still awesome to see the museum/experience/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. The bit about the ‘secret recipe’ was a bit tacky, but the bottling factory is pretty nifty, as are the ads, and the memorabilia. It’s a strong brand and it’s quite entertaining where they came from. We also absolutely loved trying out the different drinks that Coca Cola sells in different markets. Some of them are super sweet, some of them are funky coloured and others are quite tart. All of them carbonated which makes your stomach a bit bloated. Time to get some fresh air! Luckily there’s a nice park nearby.
After trying to find a nice lunch place, Paul thought it would be a good idea to try Buckhead, a more fancy area, where indeed we found some super nice food at Yebo (I had a bobotie bread bowl, yummy!). Apparently the idea was that you ordered several ‘small dishes’, one was plenty. I also got a new pair of Vans (since I’d left my ancient Vans with lots of holes in them in Australia). But the day wasn’t over yet because we had also picked up some tickets to that night’s Atlanta Hawks vs the LA Lakers basketball match. I’m not a huge basketball fan, but it’s was a good way of staying awake, and it is kind of a party to go to these kind of things in the US. Also, we’d never seen the Lakers play in LA, and I a basketball game was the only one of the ‘American sports’ games that I hadn’t seen live yet. I think Atlanta won, but we didn’t really care so much.
The next day we went for a slightly different kind of entertainment by visiting the High Museum of Art which has a pretty awesome collection of all sorts of things but our favourite was the modern and contemporary art collection. After that, I convinced Paul that the Trader Joe’s was ‘just around the corner’ so we set out to walk there, but it turned out the Piedmont park is pretty big, so it was a slightly longer walk than anticipated. However, I did get to score several bags of chillied mango (if anyone knows where to get them in NL, I’d be much obliged) and we got to sit in the sun afterwards as the weather had improved quite a bit. Then, in the evening it was already time to find an even warmer place, namely Pensacola Florida!!!
We had a really fabulous two weeks in the sun there, got to hang out with Paul’s friends, surfed a bit, partied a bit, had lovely food, and we even got to stay out at Margaritavilla one night (Christmas present from Paul’s parents). We had been there for lunch before, but the rooms are super nice too. And I got to walk into the shower with my surfboard, which is always a bonus. Paul also bought some water repellent trousers made of recycled plastic bottles and of course had to try them out in the sea ;).
We also got to visit Bellingrath Gardens, a bit estate in Alabama which has some of the coolest christmas light shows ever. On the way there we also stopped at Fairhope, a cutesy little town on Mobile Bay. It was quite hard to find the town centre, but our search was rewarded with some lovely little shops to browse. On New Year’s Eve we decided to try out Pensacola’s nightlife, which started with the Symphony in the main theatre, from which we descended into less high culture via World of Beers and a food truck to the Pelican Drop in the main square, which was good fun (and much nicer to do in a warm place such as Florida than out in the Dutch cold). It was an excellent way to start 2014 🙂