Arrival and Exploration

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the return of GLCM post-COVID spring break blogs! The 2024 GLCM spring breakers embarked on Mission Nashville at the early hour of 8 am on a beautiful Sunday morning in Champaign. Our group of nine split up into two cars. Having daylight savings spring the clock forward during our slumber last night, many of us were rather sleepy. I personally took advantage of the car ride to catch up on some sleep. As such, in the practical blink of an eye, after about 5.5 hours of driving in addition to two rest stops, we found ourselves in Music City USA! We had our first taste of Southern cuisine when we went to Hattie B’s Hot Chicken for lunch, which provided us with some much-needed fuel. Hattie B’s features chicken ranging from mild to “shut the cluck up” spiciness. While some of us flaunt a superior spice tolerance, the seasoned fries were enough for me and my palate could only handle the Southern no-heat level chicken. It was a very filling meal.

The neighborhood around the restaurant had several cute murals and painted adages. Some were tributes to the music culture of Nashville while others were affiliated with local businesses. We stopped to take a photo in front of one of them, “Nashville makes me smile”, as seen below:

Following lunch, we were able to check into our lovely and spacious Airbnb located in a quiet neighborhood not too far from the downtown area. We got down to business and went to a nearby Kroger’s to pick up some groceries for the week. We enjoyed reuniting with the rest of the group when we did our grocery run, pictured below.

After some chatting and settling in, a few members of the group went on a walk while the rest of us stayed in to recharge. For those who ventured out, they walked to the downtown to check out the Tennessee State Capitol Building. The building is a looming Greek revival structure that sits atop a steep hill overlooking a park downtown. We can even see the building on the hill from our Airbnb. There’s also a replica of the Liberty Bell that you can ring. The fresh air invigorated some students and being the kids that we are at heart, a few students decided to have some fun and roll down the big hill. Students posed in “GLCM” formation in front of the Capitol building and park, as seen below.

Of course, like the good ‘ole loyal Illini that we are, we just had to watch our beloved Men’s Basketball team crush the Iowa Hawkeyes in a strong 73-61 victory, which rounded out our regular season schedule before heading into the Big Ten Tournament.

As night fell, a few members of the group chilled around the firepit on the rooftop while the rest of us turned in for the night. Our Airbnb features a rooftop hangout space that offers a view of the entire Nashville city skyline. While it is certainly not the Chicago skyline we Midwesterners are used to, seeing the city lit up at night was a sight to see and the photo below doesn’t quite do it justice. Overall, today was a successful travel day and gave us time to settle into the city that we will be learning about and exploring over the next few days.

Blog by Ally Kolar