Saturday, August 12, 2006

Opryland Hotel and Visiting with Relatives

The Opryland Hotel was very nice and beautiful with lush indoor gardens and landscaping. It has winding rivers with beautiful waterfalls and walking paths in a climate controlled greenhouse atmosphere. It is also a very noisy place. The waterfalls in the different atriums are great for scenery in pictures but at the same time they drown out conversations and make it hard to hear. I really don’t like the sound of water except in some situations and this was not one of them. (If I was in charge of the hotel, I would have the waterfalls trickle or flow at different speeds so that it would be easier to hear and make it a more enjoyable environment.) The open areas have very high ceilings and all the different sounds from the tourists, guests, restaurants, shops, etc. make it extremely hard to hear and have conversations. Steve was in charge of the conference there and said that the group was very disappointed in the hotel. The reception on Thursday night was in one of the open areas and the only way anyone could carry on a conversation was to be within 18 inches of the person they were talking with. I retreated to our room several times during our stay just to have some peace and quiet because it was just too much sound for me and made my head hurt. The constant noise is a power drain on my processor and I usually end up with tinnitus afterwards. I also retreated to the pool twice and swam laps in complete silence to have my “quiet time” there. I don’t know how normal hearing people who work at the hotel can tolerate it day after day. It wouldn’t surprise me if they drove home in their cars in silence with their radios off after being in constant noise all day long.

Yesterday, I spent the day with my aunt Nelda. She was only 12 years old when I was born and we’ve always been very close. Steve and I lived in Wisconsin with our kids for eight years and our two families spent lots of time together. She moved to Nashville from Wisconsin last year to be close to her daughters and grandchildren. She picked me up at the hotel at 10 a.m. We talked and visited for awhile before going to the Apple Barn at the Opry Mills Mall where we shared an apple dumpling and shopped a little. Then we drove around Franklin where she lives and we browsed around a few shops. For lunch we stopped at a charming Victorian teahouse called Lillie Belle's in historic downtown Franklin where we both enjoyed a delicious spinach and Swiss cheese quiche with refreshing Almond Lemon tea.

Then, she took me to her new house and showed me around. We had a wonderful visit and looked at some pictures and took a walk. Later, she dropped me off at Jenny & Kurt’s house (my cousin and her husband) for dinner. Steve met me there after his conference was over. We had a great visit and got to see Jenny and Kurt’s new baby, Ty, and see their almost 2 year old, Kal. It was fun to hear the sounds that a baby and little boy make! We also visited with my Uncle Werner, who was visiting from New Mexico, and cousin, Wendy. Dinner was delicious with brats made the Wisconsin way, snap peas, baked beans, grapes, and Grandma Bergman’s cake.

I have one more trip next week to Ohio with my sister, Kathy, and her daughter, Elizabeth, for a family reunion and then I’ll be home for awhile!

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