Thursday, July 17, 2014

Home of the Lip

I hadn't realised Louisville, Kentucky was so far away from Chicago.  When I checked on Google Maps, it was only 4.5 hours away but according to our GPS it was more like a 6 or 7 hour journey.  We did discover in the middle that these states had different time zones but that only explained part of our confusion.

It was a 300+ mile boring as hell trip along the interstates, mainly I65. The bits of Illinois that we saw after leaving Chicago were exceptionally industrial and dull and Indiana was (a) far nearer than we thought and (b) depressingly dull in the same way that Illinois was.  Once we got through the industrial north and reached the farming southern parts, even the farming parts were dull.  And as that was virtually the entire trip, well to say the least it was not that memorable.  Thankfully.

I suspect it was something to do with only driving on the interstates for today we drove on side roads through smaller towns and saw stuff, way better than waiting for the next exit sign showing the usual chain lodging, food and petrol alternatives.  I'd like to think there's more to Indiana than just lousy roads (and the interstate was more pot holey in Indiana than in both Illinois and Kentucky) and an almost flat topography.  Indy 500 and now what...?

The southernmost border of Indiana is the Ohio River, now part of the huge waterway system connecting to the Mississippi and New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico to the far south.  Huge river with loads of bridges over it.  Immediately on the other side was Louisville, Kentucky.

My immediate thought was big bridges closely followed my second which was how on earth did they stay apart in the Civil War?  Indiana was a split state -- union in the north, sympathies with the confederacy to the south.  This means they had no chance as there wasn't a huge river between the sympathetic bunch and the Yankees.  It would have helped that Kentucky had that huge natural border to keep the union at bay.  At least a bit more anyway.

Strange this was an early thought but the civil war is still a very active thought in many people's minds so curiously relevant still.

The city itself is home to the KFC YUM Brands stadium.  Now YUM is the parent company that owns the KFC, Taco Belle and Pizza Hut franchises so has a real right to call the stadium they sponsor what they want.  If I was from Kentucky though I'd be pretty ticked off about a company called Kentucky Fried Chicken.  This means there's no other valid fried chicken from Kentucky other than KFC which is total nonsense.  Nobody now can therefore call what they do Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Someone must have been sleeping when that name was trade marked!

 Weird buildings with identical lighthouses on their roofs some 30 stories high.  They were working lighthouses. Louisville is hundreds of miles inland.

The hotel we stayed called the Galt House Hotel is a monster with 1300 rooms making it one of the biggest non-Las Vegas hotels in the USA.  It and the town houses lots of conferences so the restaurant scene there is pretty good.

What they are famous for though is bourbon and the Urban Bourbon Trail as well as the Distilleries Trail.

I don't much care for bourbon but was determined to try (as was Viv).  However I saw that the hotel had a rotating restaurant with views over the city and river so that got in the way but not all was lost as we found they served bourbon too (and the hotel's bourbon bar stocked 151 different types if we ran short later on).

It was an ugly idea as we decided to have bourbon based cocktails before the go it alone premium bourbons that came later.

The cocktails were very strong indeed.

Old Fashioned and Mint Julep

The individual bourbons were very strong indeed too... and quite large.

We'd been advised to try neat, then add ice cubes and if all else fails water.  However plans A through C were all disastrous so I added the bourbon into the remnants of my Old Fashioned cocktail to try to make it more palatable.  Viv later did the same except her cocktail was a mint julep.

This was depressing as I've always wanted to be able to drink scotch (in fact any whisky, bourbon or stuff like that) but always have the same gag reflex kicking in.  Pushing it all back swiftly moved from a pleasure to something far less pleasant.

We finished up an otherwise fine meal promising never to drink bourbon again.

It also meant we were in no position to go out to examine what else Louisville has to offer for which apologies must be rendered.  Leaving this morning, it looked quite nice.  But I don't know that for sure.

Sorry Kentucky. We'll try better next time.

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