First things first- I have a new weiner: murfomurf. Come on down to give me your across the pond addy. That means that Rae will get your mug since she's on this side of the creek. :D The email is Scooby_dooby_doo_2002 aht yahoo daht com. [Usual disclaimer- replace the aht with @ and daht with . ]
We went on Vacay with D's mom a few weekends ago to Chattanooga, TN. We had a good time and did most of the touristy things to do in the town in 3 days. I know right?
We went up on Thursday night after work so that we could wake up in TN on Friday to make our 10:30 aquarium tickets.
We got there early and since our hotel had a crappy breakfast, we were hungry. We found a little spot called the Blue Plate. It was awesome and had the best servers evar. We got this little hottie named David. He was a great server, got us great food fast, and gave us the DL on Chatty. He gave us tons o' places to eat, and I think we lucked out with him. More on him later.
They have a sea horse exhibit down stairs, but to get to the real show, you ride what could possibly the the world's LONGEST escalator. This was taken from the top.
It took ages to go all the way up. But the cool thing is that you go from the top to the bottom of the aquarium like following the water to the ocean. They had some wicked large catfish in a tank. There was a diver in there feeding while we were there, and the fish was as big or BIGGER than the huge man diver. UM NO. I would NOT be in that water. No way, no how.
We have been to the Atlanta aquarium, so we have seen a lot of these fish before, but they had the coolest otters EVAR! They were HUGE and very playful. The TN aquarium wins over ATL because they have a better otter viewing area. I got great shots of them.
Of course, we were also in the middle of about 1000808 school kids- we went right when schools were about to let out, so they were all on friggin' field trips! ACK.
This was in their butterfly garden.
After the aquarium, we went across the Walnut St. pedestrian bridge to explore the North Shore because hottie David said there was a good lunch place over there.
I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm terrified of bridges. I hate driving over them, hate walking over them. H.A.T.E. them. Like I freak out and have panic attacks on bridges. Soo...yeah. We WALKED across the pedestrian BRIDGE to the North Shore to explore. They walked; I crept. I also cried. I really d.o. n.o.t. do bridges. I finally got across the damn thing.
It was worth it I guess because we crossed to find a great little ice cream place called Clumpies. They make all their own ice cream. FAB! I had lemon cream, D had butter pecan, and Moms had....something? The best part about clumpies besides the homemade everything was a shirt I tried to get D to buy: it said simply, "Creamy." I thought it was funny. He thought it was inappropriate. That's why I thought it was funny, but anywho.
We walked around a little more, but we had to hoof it back across because we had tickets to ride the aquarium's River Gorge Explorer boaty thing. D and his Moms got all cracked out on the time and rushed us down to the dock (yeah, another bridge to get to the dock...ugh). They thought the ride started at 3pm. I knew it was 3:30 and kept asking if we could slow down or sit down. NO! WE HAVE TICKETS! So we finally get there and they realize what I've known all along: we're WAAY early. Of course, you know, it was my fault that we were early then. We did get to sit down in the shade finally on the dock and waited for the boat.
It pulled up and was like a yacht big to me. It was crazy fun to ride that boat. It goes up to like 55 mph on the water and comes to a complete stop in seconds and on a dime at that! We stopped for every boat, float, and barge in the river that day- many many splashes!
This is where I want to live when I grow up.
We cruised through the river gorge and it was really pretty. It was just nice to be out on the water after being off of it for so long. I grew up on Lake Oliver here in Col, but when I got to be a teen, it wasn't cool anymore. I can't tell you the last time I was on ANY river on a boat. Riding up top was really cool too.
That night we ate at the Market Tavern per David's suggestion from that am. It was 'lish! I had a bison burger (locally raised!) with cheese and they had chicken and fish- my burger was so good that after they ate their foods, they ordered another bison burger to share. :P This place was big on fresh, local, and fabulous. The burger bun was a roll from a local baker. Yum. They also had cupcakes from a local bakery: amaretto, strawberry, mocha, and red velvet. We got all but the mocha- we're not coffee ppl. The red velvet was so good that D and I split it at the table and had to order another one to take with us.
The next day, we had 3 attractions to hit: Ruby Falls, See Rock City, and the Incline Railway. It was a threefer pass, so we were set.
We hit Ruby early because it was Racin' at Ruby and we are NOT race fans. That started after lunch, so we wanted to be in and out before the race nuts got up the mountain. It was an interesting place. I would NEVER go again. It's a privately owned attraction, and I don't like how they keep the caves and falls. They take HUGE groups through the caverns with 1 tour guide for like 50 people. She can't keep an eye on them. You know if you touch the formations, they die. Folks kept leaning and touching stuff. I was going nutzo. And it's a half mile in to the falls....you get like 5 minutes at the falls before the lights go out. And then it's a half mile out at break neck speed. You could tell the whole time that it was a money machine and not a true attraction for the beauty of the formations. It felt like they were pimping the falls. I didn't like it at all.
There weren't even any bats in the caves. What's a cave without bats?
Since we had walked a billion miles before lunch, we went to the Incline Railway next. We got on at the top and rode down and back up. It was intense. That was one crazy train ride. The little speakers said that it had served to get expectant moms down the mountain to the hospital to give birth. I loved that.
We saved Rock City for last, and I'm really glad we did. After the obvious capitalism of Ruby Falls, Rock City was like an untended wild space for me. I loved it. That's where the title of this post comes from.
If you don't know about Rock City (how?), it's this crazy place full of paths and gardens in, around, and through huge rock formations. The thing I can remember the most about Rock City from my childhood is Fat Man's Squeeze. I'm officially a squoze fat person now. I got through the needle, but Fat Man's Squeeze was really squeezy. I got in there ok, but half way through, I couldn't go any farther....ruh roh. So I wiggled down to my knees and crawled the rest of the way out on my hands and knees. It was very ladylike I assure you. Ah hem.
I love the icon of the red barn with "See Rock City" painted on it. LOVE IT. I also love that Neil Gaimen made it a holy place. :D
I even walked on the swing along bridge. ACK. Had to keep telling myself, "it's not a bridge, only a weird path..not a bridge....not a freakin' bridge....not a bridge...just keep swimming swimming swimming..."
I don't know about seeing 7 states...but they say you can.
As it was the weekend of freakin' fears and bridges (also don't do heights):
Best place at Rock City:
And I should have taken a shot of the outlook I had to go out on to get this picture:
It was like a concrete slab poured on air with a rail sticking it to the side of the mountain. I couldn't do the standing up out there, so I kinda crawled out there and got on my belly to take that shot. Great picture- terrible experience taking it. I feel ill just talking about it. I should note that neither D nor his Moms would come out there with me. [Another note: D doesn't have multiple mothers. He just calls his mom "Moms" for whatever reason.]
When we went back down the mountain, we found a tunnel to go through on the way back to the hotel.
And we went barhopping. Best Long Island Ice Tea in TN.
Thanks for reading the longest post on planet earth! I took lots of cool photos. More of them can be found on my flickr. :D