After another complimentary bowl of fruit loops at our hotel in Birmingham, it was time to hit the roads, travelling East to another State – Georgia. Destination – Atlanta, the home of coca-cola. Nothing of note for this drive, apart from the quite heavy traffic and close your eyes and hope you’re in the correct lane driving.
Atlanta is big, Atlanta has roads like a bowl of spilt spag-bog, Atlanta has traffic like Melbourne (doesn’t go anywhere) and it amazes me how they managed to get people to and from their Olympic Games. Luckily our hotel was not far from where we entered and in a pretty good street for restaurants, etc. Right across the road from the famous Fox theatre where a lot of top musicians play or have played. We never got to have a look inside but it was very nice looking and booked out for a wedding the weekend we there. Would no doubt be a good spot for a wedding, pity some of the guests were staying at out hotel – The Hotel Indigo, because they were a pain.
In fact, check-in at the hotel was one of the worst check-in experiences. Starters, the hotel shares a drive with another hotel, there is no parking out front, there is a very small drive at the back – full of cars parked any old ways. I joined the crowd. No bell-hop or valet to meet you. Something like a queue at check-in, for which we were early. No problems with having to store our bags and get the car self-parked but Jim must remember that when he books hotel under first name Jim, it is not the same as James. Hotel reception does not know of surnames and checked me in as James – James Macdougall that is, who had a smaller room and now my credit card payment – always make sure you read before signing. We had walk around and were impressed with what was around – this is the Uptown area with a lot of new places and you can see work has been done. Then a return for check-in part 2. The wedding guests chatted to someone else in line, then slowly creeped ahead and checked-in before we could grab our room. Perhaps it would have helped if one of the reception attendants acknowledged guests and did something apart from click buttons on the computer – she did not receive good feedback when I completed the survey (unlike the Tutwiler in Birmingham, who even thanked me for my survey and comments). However, all said and done, the hotel is in a good spot, was easy to get to, self-parking is easy and rooms were okay (apart from the smallest bathroom in the world, however they explained when the hotel was renovated it had to be kept to the historical originals).
This Hotel is also close to Georgia Tech who were playing football in town that weekend. If you ever get a chance, a college town when playing a home game of football makes for a very busy and interesting place. We walked by the football arena to make our way down to the sight of the Atlanta Olympics and home of Coca-Cola world (think of Willy-Wonka factory). The game wasn’t on until that night but things were getting set-up, including the scalpers.
The Olympic area was good for walking around – so safe, clean and smelling of coca-cola – and traffic (pleased we walked). The aquarium down there was apparently voted the best on Tripadvisor, there are several stadiums, the Civil Rights museum, and the World of Coca-Cola. If you have seen Willy-Wonka – this is so much like that, all that was missing were the oompa-loompas. Starts with a pep-up talk getting you excited and then you can visit various parts such as bottling, history, ads from the years, and the secret room where the secret recipe is kept locked away – you just had to be there. Maybe one of the highlights was a room with drinking fountains where you can try over 300 varieties of coke – we were sure we saw a few Charlie’s drinking until they’d float away. And a gift store, matched only by the Jack Daniel’s gift store if you ever get there.
We also took the chance to visit an area known as Ponce City Market – about half an hour walk from where we were staying but when we saw the traffic we were so pleased we walked – there was a round of the Red Bull billy cart race in town and streets were blocked and traffic was like when there’s an accident near the Burnley tunnel. PCM is also new and is in an old factory and was also well worth the visit – Caroline even managed to do some shopping where Jim sits outside watching the world go by. Some great eating places here, where you don’t mind queueing for about half an hour to get a chicken sandwich and beer (think zinger burger).
We were happy with our couple of days in Atlanta, worth a visit if you ever think about it. Spoilt only by a cancelled show I had booked tickets for back in August for Caroline’s birthday. We weren’t the only ones who turned up at the theatre disappointed – maybe not as much as those stuck in traffic that was not moving as they tried to make their way to Taylor Swift who was playing down that same Olympics area. One last thing, we went to a bar and caught the end of the Georgia Tech football on TV – there were a few opposition supporters inside as well (Florida State who were unbeaten at the time) and listening to the cheers from different parts of the pub was like stereo – but when Georgia Tech stole the game in the last seconds the atmosphere in that bar was maybe greater than when Wayne Harmes plucked the ball just before it crossed the boundary in the ’79 grand final (well, almost greater).
So another State and city ticked as take off for a drive to Athens, Georgia.