Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday five: walking in Memphis.

Cities are so hard to write about. You (and I mean You, The Reader) have either been and have your own memories, or you haven't been but you have your own preconceptions.

Our experience probably rarely matches your actual or perceived notions about a particular tourist destination, and surely you read some of these posts and wonder why the hell we only spent two days in Seville, or why we drank so little beer in Prague, or why we didn't have a tailored suit made in Hội An... or why we squandered two days in one of the most musically historic places in the US.

"Memphis is the blues capital of the world, we like to say"
- Justin Timberlake

That's the beauty of travel, though. We all experience places in our own way, in our own time, using our own priorities to guide us.

Our priorities for cities center around frugal exploration. So with that, here are five awesome-to-us things that we did in Memphis, in no particular order...

1. The National Civil Rights Museum: one of the best museums we have visited over the last 26 months. (The ticket lady told us to plan two hours - we ended up spending four.) The exhibits taught us so much and also raised so many questions.

"we may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now"
- MLK Jr

"all I was doing was trying to get home from work"
- Rosa Parks

2. Beale Street. Best wandered at 8:30am on a Sunday morning, in our opinion.

"America's Most Iconic Street"
- USA Today National Poll

"I never use that word, retire"
- B. B. King

3. Breakfast at Elwood's Shack. Patrick's pulled pork burrito was perfect and my egg biscuit was just right.

"pulled pork jokes never get old"
- Joel Edgerton

4. Driving in Memphis. We didn't take tours but we did drive past some iconic music spots... It was particularly interesting to be there the weekend after BB King passed away.

"everybody wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to die to get there!"
- B. B. King

"If you're not doing something different, you're not doing anything"
- Sam Phillips

5. The only cool Wal-Mart on the planet. It was necessary - Patrick's streak of breaking French presses continued with the rock-solid one from REI, and Nashville's REI wouldn't replace it. (He's not allowed to touch the crappy new Mr. Coffee press.)

"Wal-mart... do they like make walls there?"
- Paris Hilton

Things we did not do in Memphis:
""there's soot under my boy's nails, you don't get that from a clean burning fuel!"
- Hank Hill

"you don't get the rich smokey flavor either"
- Bobby Hill
  • Graceland - because Nepal needed our $32 more than Lisa Marie
"I'll stay in Memphis"
- Elvis
  • Another cheap-to-most-people-but-pricey-to-us motel - instead, we opted for TO Fuller State Park, campsite #35 which was only 20 minutes from downtown and perfect for two nights
"Reverend Fuller sought to improve the lives of African Americans
by fostering a sense of black pride and stressing the importance of education

- Tennessee Encyclopedia
  • Go to Jackson - any of them, and there seem to be many in that area - although with all the signs it was impossible not to sing the song for a week afterward
"see if I care!"
- June Carter

More photos here...

So that was our Memphis tour. Have you been? What would you recommend for our next visit?


  1. Great tour of Memphis! I've never been anywhere in the south except Atlanta and Louisiana, so I'm enjoying being transported there through your posts!

    1. Thanks Marlynn! It was definitely a fun trip - many more posts to come! :)

  2. I've never been to Tennessee but would love to visit one day! Thanks for sharing, and I totally appreciate your focus on frugal traveling. Have a wonderful 4th!

  3. I've never been to Memphis, but I've always wanted to see it. I don't think I would have been able to pass up Graceland, though...I mean, I just want to see it....once....

    1. Me too, maybe when I'm not traveling so frugally. It was bad timing too - Nepal had just had the earthquakes, and we had such a wonderful time there last summer so we wanted to give back instead of touring Graceland this time around.