Walking in Memphis – DUCK!!

A nice easy drive to Memphis from Nashville (especially for me, I was the passenger/navigator). And, middle-aged though it sounds, I must say the rest stop on the interstate was lovely. It’s not often you find a nice clean public toilet like that. And now I sound like my mother.

Sadly I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo of the sign for Dude Ranch as we sped by. I don’t know what happens there, but I sure want to go and find out.

On arrival in Memphis we went for a potter around Beale Street, which is pretty much required for any visit to the city. It’s like a very miniature version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans and is not quite in the same league but it’s nice all the same. We paid a visit to the Gibson Guitar Factory along with a few other landmarks on the way. Memphis also has a lot of abandoned and disused warehouses and factories which are a magnificent, if slightly eerie, sight. And yet again we took a potter down to the banks of the Mississippi, just to check it was still around as we hadn’t seen it since Louisiana.

However, the highlight of the day was a visit to the Peabody Ducks. They are “world famous” but I think that’s meant in the same way that the Superbowl winners are “world” champions, i.e. it only actually counts in the USA. The Peabody is one of those lovely classy old hotels that still have doormen in top hats. For eighty years it has also had its own flock of ducks. They live in their own penthouse suite on the roof of the hotel. At 11am daily they are led downstairs to the lobby by their Duckmaster (in the lift and then along their own red carpet, no less) to the fountain where they spend 6 hours swimming and splashing around. At 5pm the Duckmaster leads them back up to their penthouse for the night. We went along to witness the 5pm retreat. It’s a lovely spectacle. I know it sounds a bit rubbish to say that I went to see five ducks get out of a fountain and walk along a red carpet, but it really is an entertaining diversion. We also went up to see their penthouse with its spectacular views across the city. Lucky ducks.

We spent a little while in one of the Peabody’s bars for their very welcoming happy hour. We seem to be making a habit of staying in the cheaper hotels but spending our time partaking of the hospitality in the posher hotels. A most agreeable way to holiday, if you ask me.

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