1 5 t h – 1 8 t h D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 7
After a seamless experience through Heathrow airport with a visit to the lounge accompanied by free food and drink, quickly leading on to our board without a queue in sight. The flight a little long (9hrs30mins) with 2 films, 2 dramas and 2 CD’s down alongside an hour of study, we arrived in Atlanta, GA. tired.
Technically the middle of the night but rewinding 6 hours, we picked up our hire car after being stung by an extra 200 dollars, before losing our shit over directions and eventually arriving before midnight US time (this would have been 6am uk time). With our bodies not knowing what was going on we felt hungry and headed down to find the ‘marketplace’ inside the hotel selling fresh food. All we got were cheetos and a bag of peanut m&ms. Night done.
Atlanta was our home for 2 days and our introduction to it; one word – IHOP. I’m also pretty sure we’ve been scammed out of an 80 dollar valet parking bill that we never used however we did manage to park our car in the dingy multi-storey across the road for only 7 dollars so win win? Moving on to the IHOP, the crispy bacon, over easy eggs and ‘happy holidays’ phrase being thrown around perked our spirits with a drizzle of strawberry syrup that had so many e-numbers in I had to check Jason’s status to drive. So with the first fully American taster out of the way we headed to our second location where we were checking into the Marriott at Stone Mountain national park. Turns out our sat nav attempts to take us down the dead ends and assumes we can float across lakes so I decided it was time to go back to basics and pull up at a gas station… with a snapple in hand we approached the cashier to pay and politely ask for directions over and above ed Sheehan and Eminem that seemed to be playing live inside the music was that loud. ‘Matey’ was called over to help us with our request and led us outside before proceeding to explain the two right turns we had to take, only to knock on our car window a few minutes later and insist he drives us there himself. Following the white dodge, we drove through a sleepy town and pull up alongside him where we chucked 5 bucks in and thanked him for his assistance because we sure needed it. The drive was a picture and some beautiful views were witnessed. Pulling up to the front of our hotel we had a little giggle of excitement as we unloaded the car and headed in to find two massive Christmas trees, traditionally decorated with a log fire burning away in between them, the red from the poinsettia plants that lined the hallways also warmed our hearts as we checked in to our twin room (oops). Eagerly wanting to get on with our day we headed out to the centre of the park, assessed the Saturday queue and decided to skip on the 40 dollar attraction ticket and head straight for the Sky lift instead. A pretty fast journey took us up to the top of Stone Mountain (the largest piece of exposed granite in the world) and at the top we chose cherry fanta as the drink of choice from the 100 options, alongside melted butter and salted popcorn served in a cereal box before heading out 1,683 feet high and finding ourself a spot to perch and look out at the stunning view. Arriving back at the hotel it was time to have our first drink of the holiday and settle it over a game of pool. With the addition of a highly enthusiastic barman sharing his tips on the best pool cue to use and insisting we share buffalo wings. Despite my mediocre reputation at pool, today I sucked and it was soon my call to take our drinks to the outdoor fire pit before observing some crazy American family taking a plunge in the pool (it’s the middle of December and it’s -2 degrees out here are you mad!?!?) soon we became the crazy English couple that decided it looked fun so hey whatever we joined in. The kids loved it and soon it became a cannonball competition between Jason and some 10 year olds jumping from the luscious hot tub into freezing water. Despite our stupidity it made our night and we felt like kids again before deciding it was time to get our chops around the buffet. There was nothing elegant about this day so to end it with a posh dinner just wouldn’t seem fitting.
Day 2 called for an early wake up watching sister act in bed eating left over dessert from the buffet and sipping Starbucks coffee whilst we planned for the day that consisted of long walks in the pouring rain and an evening exploring the botanical gardens covered in thousands of christmas lights.
Christmas lights just squeeze the heart don’t they? They give off such warmth even in the coldest of conditions (it was pretty cold, but nothing like we were about to experience in Nashville.. i’ll save that for later) and the botanical gardens was our first taste of christmas in the states. Disappointment it was not!
Heading from cooler temperatures and christmas lights to Savannah’s heat and drinks along the river in the middle of December… stay tuned.