|Outside Graceland with Aimee Palmer.|
This week the New Zealand Herald published my article on Memphis, focusing on my stay at a brand new Elvis-themed hotel called The Guest House At Graceland.
Click here to link to the article which explains all the cool things about the hotel (TVs on the ceiling! Soap with Elvis’s face!) as well as why a visit to Graceland itself is so rewarding even if you aren’t an Elvis fan. For me, I’ve been a huge fan since I was a kid and the first time I ever heard Hound Dog is also talked about in the article.
In these photos you’ll also see why Memphis is such a bucket list destination if you’re like me and music is an essential part of your life. In addition to Graceland there’s the Stax Museum Of American Soul Music (check out Isaac Hayes’ 24k gold-plated Cadillac from 1972), Sun Studio (where Elvis first recorded as well as countless other acts like Johnny Cash and U2) and Beale St (where every band I saw I came away thinking, “they’d probably be the best band in New Zealand!”).
But beyond the music, the most profound moment of my time in Memphis was at the Lorraine Motel where Dr Martin Luther King Jnr was assassinated in 1968. Preserved as it looked from the outside that April day, the motel is now the National Civil Rights Museum. From recreations of Rosa Parks and the bus boycott, the cell where King wrote his famous Letter From Birmingham Jail, the March On Washington (‘I Have A Dream’) and the Mountaintop Speech that King delivered the night before he died, the museum is both distressing and inspirational. It culminates in a silent visit to the two rooms King and his advisors occupied at the motel which, like the motel frontage, have been left (or recreated) as they were.
As I write in the article, hairs stood on the back of the neck throughout and I departed hoping that somehow the National Civil Rights Museum becomes a compulsory pilgrimage for all Americans. Watch and listen to the YouTube clip below to hear me discuss on my Newstalk ZB radio show the emotional impact of the museum as well as my thoughts on some of the grittier aspects of Memphis.
Memphis was unforgettable and there are few places I’ve been with as many sights that I just knew I couldn’t miss. Thanks so much for reading (and listening) and do enjoy the pictures below – my top 60 Memphis photos:
Link to my Memphis article in the New Zealand Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=11760628