Easter in Atlanta

We hit up the continental breakfast again this morning.  This time, Jordan and I knew to skip right to the bagels and orange juice.  After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel, and headed over to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and Ebenezer Church.  I enjoyed watching hundreds of people stroll into church in their Easter Sunday best outfits.  Little guys with suits and little gals with Easter dresses.  Older women with bright green suits and big hats and older men with fancy shoes and suspenders.  Ebenezer Church:

A building does not have to be beautiful for beautiful things to take place.

I was honestly surprised at how much emotion the MLK Jr. site stirred in me.  I had learned about him in school like everyone else and did admire him, but last year I learned more about him and read his speeches and writings for an ethics class that I was taking.  During this time, I came to appreciate his work in a much deeper way.  Thus, I was anxious to see the historic site.

The site really includes a few blocks.  We saw his birthplace down the street from the church.

A number of the homes nearby, historically housing blue collar African-Americans, have been well-preserved.

And we visited a museum, which contained his Grammy award (for best spoken-word recording), the key to his hotel room in Memphis (where he was assassinated), the suit he was wearing while stabbed in Harlem, and many of his other possessions.  I felt impressed/challenged when I saw his Bible.

Mine does not look quite this used.  Yet.

We saw his tomb, along with his wife’s, nearby.  Here is where I first started to feel the weight of who this man was.

The actual visitors center was very moving.  Video and audio clips were played, supplemented by photos and descriptions.  Timelines of his life and Corretta Scott King’s life were presented.  His last sermon at Ebenezer church, combined with his last speech, I’ve Been to the Mountaintop, are prophetic considering the timeline.  In his last sermon, he talked of his funeral:

” And every now and then I think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral. And I don’t think of it in a morbid sense. Every now and then I ask myself, “What is it that I would want said?” And I leave the word to you this morning. If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize, that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards, that’s not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school. I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

You can watch his last speech (not necessarily sermon) for yourself:

Maybe stuff you’ve read/watched before, but I think I could watch and read over and over and still be humbled.  As we left the visitors center, we looked upon this amazing mural.

It was hard to transition after we left the site.  Jordan and I left in silence, as we walked along the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

Of course, I cannot keep silent for too long, and we needed to head to Alpharetta to meet our friends.  We shared a wonderful Indian buffet for lunch and spent some time sitting in a nearby park afterward.  As we caught up on the last three years of our lives, we watched families play kickball, children run happily to the ice cream truck, and inch worms move along the picnic table.

And one shot with yours truly:

So even though I had no eggs this Easter (Jordan may have had a couple eggs of the Cadbury variety), it was one of the most inspiring Easters I have had.

I hope you all had a joyful Easter.

Galations 5:13: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Full Day of Atlanta | Atlanta Part II

Our day began with a mediocre continental breakfast.  At least the pre-made bagels can’t be bad.  After breakfast, while the city was still covered in a fog, we headed over to Olympic Centennial Park.

We made our way to the end of the park and forced ourselves to choose between the Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.  Ultimately, the fish won out.  The aquarium admission was pretty pricey, but I did find myself turning into a kid inside the ocean exhibit, so I consider the money worth it at this point.

 

We grew quite attached to the sea dragons in the right picture above.

Jordan got hungry after watching large groupers pass in front of him, so we headed southeast toward for some grub.  We ate at Ria’s Bluebird, which offers bundles of meat free options and caters to a hipster crowd.

 

I got a tempeh reuben, since I used to love them and hadn’t considered a meat free option for them before.  It was good, but I actually don’t know that I remember why I made such a big deal over reuben sandwiches before.  Jordan opted for a black bean and avocado quesadilla which I enjoyed a taste of.

The restaurant (and a few others that look like they may cater to that same crowd) line the south end of Oakland Cemetery, a popular picnic spot for Atlantans.  While we saw no picnics, we did enjoy the nice walk through the beautiful cemetery.  We both decided that it does not compare to Recoleta in Buenos Aires (where Eva Peron now sleeps), but called this a close second.

 

Post-cemetery, we moved north to Midtown to explore the High Museum of Art.  Once again, the admission was a little steep, but I did rock my UMD student ID for a discount. :S  I really liked the architecture of the building and enjoyed the current Toulouse-Latrec exhibition.  I was excited to see the art of a number of my favorites.

We found this couple intensely studying Ellsworth Kelly’s art.  Something that, in my very unprofessional opinion, does not require intense studying.

Once Jordan decided he was a Chuck Close fan, we headed to the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta for supper at Flip Burger.  I actually read about this place on another blog and was curious to try it for myself.  It’s a gourmet burger joint, offering everything from your basic beef burger to a falafel burger (my veg option!) to a lamb burger, etc.  Not only do they flip burgers, but they flip booths.  It only took us about half an hour to notice the booths were “flipped.”

I had a candied beet salad on the side, which definitely out-shined my burger.  Jordan had a BBQ burger and a ceasar salad with anchovy croutons.  He seemed pleased with both his choices.

Oh, yeah.  There may have been a nutella/toasted marshmallow shake for dessert.  But only because we are on vacation.

I really enjoyed this restaurant, but was disappointed overall with the neighborhood it was in.  It just seemed like a lot of sprawl.  I prefer the Virginia Highlands (where we ate yesterday) or the area south of the cemetery to it, but maybe we just missed the other good things that Buckhead has to offer.

At this point, we were tired from being on our feet for most of the day and slipping into food comas, so we headed back to the hotel.

I had time to finish The Hunger Games series, and now much choose a new book to begin upon our arrival at home tomorrow.  We plan to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. center tomorrow, and possibly Ebenezer Church where he pastored.  We’ll be meeting Jordan’s friend, Krunal, and his wife for lunch tomorrow in the ‘burbs before heading home.

See you tomorrow, for Easter!

Hotlanta Not As Hot As I Thought Downtown: Atlanta Part I

Before leaving home, I found a package in the mail.  It was full of goodies from my family for Easter.  I believe the Starburst jelly beans were meant for Jordan, but I couldn’t resist those.  They came on the road with us.

We got settled into our hotel around 5:30.  We’re staying downtown, which is not the most happening place in Atlanta, especially after the workday ends and on the weekends, but makes for cheaper hotel options.  The wi-fi in the hotel is horribly slow, so I won’t be as good at posting pics for you as I was during our time in Charleston. And the view, well…

Yeah, that is a concrete wall three inches outside of our only window.  We still shut the curtains though.  I guess you get what you pay for.

All we did tonight was head to the Virginia-Highlands area of Atlanta, which is full of restaurants and cafes.  We went for Thai.  I guess vacations=Thai food for us.

We took a looong time to decide upon our meals.  We started with basil spring rolls, with a soy/ginger/peanut dipping sauce.

I had sweet and sour tofu (fried tofu…too good), and Jordan had a cashew pork stir fry, which earns a 2 on the three chili pepper hot scale.

We skipped the Thai desserts and headed for Ben & Jerry’s, which seems to be another repeating vacation occurrence.  I threw the vegan options out the window for dessert and went with a dish of Bonnaroo Buzz.  I guess I was feeling loyal to Tennessee and needed to support the music festival through my ice cream choice….or something like that.

I thought the area was nice, but was really hoping for more of a bohemian feel, I guess.  Still, I did enjoy looking at the traditional Southern homes in the area.  I’m now dreaming of the day when I have a yard to landscape.

Tomorrow we will do some sightseeing, but we still have not decided exactly what we will be seeing.  We’ve ruled out the CNN headquarters, but World of Coca-Cola, the High Art Museum, the aquarium, and the King Center are all still in the running.  We’ll see….

We are sleepy tonight, because we hosted a marathon session of Apple to Apples last night at our apartment.  Thus, we have seen all we will see of Atlanta today.  I am off to read Mockingjay until I fall asleep.  Jordan already beat me to the sleep part.

Dogwood and Rossini Festivals in Knoxville

Wow. It’s busy.

Market Square is crawling with attendees of the Dogwood Arts Festival.

Gay Street is crawling with attendees of the Rossini Opera Festival.

It’s hard to know where one ends and the other begins, leaving no reason not to explore them both.

When downtown is busy, the wait to land a table at most of the restaurants is longer than my stomach can wait.  So this evening, we turned to street food.

Chicken gyro for the mister:

Veggie for the missus (a wee bit cheaper):

Logically, our next move was frozen lemonade:

Paired with cheesecake-on-a-stick:

No good fair food experience is complete without some piece of food on a stick, right?

What’s that? These festivals are about more than food?  Oh, they’re about the arts?

The melodies of one particularly healthy-lunged opera singer filled the air.  Jordan said “Who keeps screaming?”

Okay, okay, in all seriousness, we did take in a bit of culture.  The musical arts, performing arts, and visual arts were all on display.

We listened to a choir and a brass band comprised of teens on Gay Street.

That is, once we were able to successfully navigate through this mob of aimless wanderers:

Market Square and the Dogwood Festival held their own with ballerinas and capoeira.

We didn’t stick around for the actual capoeira performance, but I am sure it didn’t quite compare to the demonstrations we watched in Lencois, Brazil.

And some of painters are caricaturists were fun to watch too.

After we had our fill of food, and Jordan had all he could stand of the music, we walked home with this beauty watching over us.

God’s art always seems to be on display.