Monday, December 22, 2014

Am I In Nashville or Ancient Greece???

The highlight of my time in Nashville (aside from spending time with my hubby) was getting to visit the Parthenon at Centennial Park.

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I have always wanted to go to Greece for as long as I can remember. Standing next to a replica of the original structure was sort of surreal. It was like traveling back in time, or more appropriately, having something travel forward in time to where I am.

parthenon 06 parthenon 10The first thing you are struck with is the size. The thing is BIG! This isn’t such an impressive thing in 2014 but when you consider it is modeled after a structure originally built in the 400s BC it is staggering!

The  next thing you notice is all the intricate details. From the sculptures on the pediments to the doors and ceilings, everything is a work of art.

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You can’t see it, but all of the sculptures are covered in a fine mesh to keep the birds from nesting and pooping on them. :)  parthenon 03 parthenon 04 parthenon 05The Parthenon was originally built in 1897 as a part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. It was only meant to be a temporary structure and was made of plaster and wood and brick. But it was so popular and would have been so costly to destroy, that they left it there to the elements. By 1920, a project to rebuild the Parthenon in concrete began. The exterior was completed by 1925 and the interior by 1931.

While I was completely in awe of the exterior, I really wanted to see the main attraction of the Parthenon and why it was originally built in 438BC: the 43-foot high Athena Parthenos! But that meant I would have to wait for the museum to open at noon.

In the meantime, I wandered through Centennial Park. What a lovely park! Everything was clean and pleasant and scenic. There was a lake with a walking trail around it, a train engine, a plane, and everything else you’d find in a city park…

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parthenon 09 parthenon 08The strangest thing at the park were these signs that lined the sides of the Parthenon. I later learned that they are part of an effort to fight obesity…

parthenon 14 parthenon 11 parthenon 12 parthenon 13After some wandering and waiting in line, it was finally time! And I was the first one in! I had the whole place to myself for almost 5 minutes!!!

parthenon 23parthenon 24Just like the exterior, the details on both Athena and the building was beautiful!

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There is a painting on the back of her shield and carvings on the sides of her sandals

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   parthenon 28parthenon 27       parthenon 32each glass pane of the ceiling had a star etched into it

Part of the display upstairs included plaster casts of the original statues that are now on display at the British Museum in London or the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

parthenon 31We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the museum in the basement that included displays of paintings and the history of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. What an amazing attraction! If I could travel back in time, I would go! There were carnival rides, pavilions for different countries, art exhibits, and even a restaurant themed on Dante’s Inferno where diners ate off of tables built from coffins with skull chandeliers overhead.

parthenon 17 If you ever have the chance to go to Nashville, take a trip back in time and visit the Parthenon at Centennial Park. It’s worth the trip!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Exploring Franklin

We left Edmonton at 11:00am, flew to Seattle, then to LA and then through the night to Nashville, TN in order to make it to the Landry Academy in Franklin at 8:00am. It was a LONG day! Our room wouldn’t be ready until after noon. So we grabbed some breakfast, Chris went off to his convention and I jumped in the rental car (the very nice upgraded to a Lincoln rental car) and went to do some sightseeing to stay awake.

I was in the South, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone by visiting a plantation that was also a famous Civil War battlefield: Carnton Plantation.

To be more accurate, Carnton wasn’t actually the battlefield but was used as a field hospital for the Battle of Franklin, known as the “bloodiest five hours of the Civil War”. There were about 8,000 casualties on both sides when the battle was done. There are still blood stains on the floors of the house…

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plantations 02plantations 10the back of the house

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plantations 13plantations 14the front of the house

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the family’s cemetary 

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the cemetery for the slaves

plantations 06 plantations 07 plantations 08 the soldiers’ cemetery

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inside the slaves’ quarters

After leaving Carnton, I drove into Franklin to tour the Carter and Lotz Houses. These houses were in the heart of the Battle of Franklin. The families huddled in the cellar while the battle raged above them, killing Tod Carter.

The houses and outbuildings still bear the bullet holes and cannon damage. Thousands upon thousands of cannonballs and musket balls have been excavated from the site. (I just had to buy one.) Reports are that 1500 men died or were wounded in the small space of the backyard of the Carter House and that they were packed in so tightly, that the bodies didn’t even fall to the ground but remained standing, propped up against one another where they stood!

plantations 23plantations 28plantations 27    the Carters’ back yard where some of the battle took placeplantations 17 plantations 18

plantations 22plantations 21plantations 19plantations 20the buildings still bear the scars

I also toured the Lotz House across the street. It was full of stunning antiques and private collections!

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plantations 24plantations 25     I got permission to take a picture of the spot where a cannonball went through the ceiling and permanently damaged the floor!

All of the tours and tour guides were amazing and gifted storytellers! I had no trouble at all staying awake and we so excited that I drove Chris back out there to just see them after dinner…

I kind of feel bad about how excited I was about such a tragic and horrible moment in American history. But it is that kind of passion that keeps American history alive and real even today!