Last weekend I went on a trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, intended as a reward for students who attended out after school program all year. We stayed in a nice hotel (and I had my own room, yay!). Great bus driver, kids were well-behaved, and I was very glad I had brought along an iPod for each of them to use. I'm very thankful too the colleague who loaded up those iPods with educational entertainment for them to keep occupied. I brought my own earbuds and wore them just to block out the sound of excited children on a metal school bus. :)
The first night we went to the Titanic Museum. I felt like I had to rush to catch up with the kids, who didn't understand the significance of much of what they saw there. I don't think many of them ever even saw the recent movie. Still, I knew what I was looking at and had cruise experiences of my own to compare to the reconstructed ship interiors in the museum. It was incredibly lush. :). I'm definitely a steerage kinda girl myself. Lol. I was overwhelmed by all the finery.
Something I've only ever seen mentioned in a short story was the name of the frieze at the top of the Grand Staircase. It's called "Honor and Glory Crowning Time" and I remember it because in the story, a vampire was on board the Titanic and when the ship began sinking, he snarled at the irony of the sculpture's theme because he could only take refuge in a metal casket that would keep him trapped in the sunken ship until technology allowed someone decades in the future to dredge up the casket and open it. Wouldn't that be a crummy way to end a sea voyage? I felt like I knew something not many know as I stood there - the name of the artwork. :). Why? Because I'm a trivia buff. :)
The next morning after breakfast we went to Dollywood. I didn't manage to ride a single ride at the park, because I was hanging out with the other teachers acting like a grown up. :D. I'm the one who will ride just about any ride bolted permanently into the ground. Especially the roller coasters. Yeah, I love them. :). We saw a couple of shows that were pretty entertaining, and looked at Craftsman's Valley for a while. And then I was on my own.
I walked through the rest of the park all by myself, believe it or not. I'm not good at wandering alone but this wasn't too distressing for me after a few minutes, and I had expected to feel very nervous about it. I don't do "alone in large crowds" very well. I didn't have but an hour to look around and I didn't have trouble finding my way back to our meeting place after a short round of shopping I forced myself to do because I wanted to buy some gifts.
We took the kids to swim (read: shriek and splash) in the hotel pool after that and then herded them upstairs to get dressed for the Dixie Stampede show where we had dinner. THAT was impressive. They had buffalo running around, Ostrich races, and generally a crazy rodeo going on while we ate a huge amount of food without silverware. And I bought myself a hat in the gift ship because it was the second time that day that I found a hat which actually looked good on me. I think the trick there was being in a hat shop that actually differentiated in hat sizes. I don't have a small head. Or a medium head. Ether that, or I just look better in a bigger hat. Lol
So now I have a nice wool hat that I can wear the next time I ride a horse. .... As if I'm ever going to do THAT again. The last time I got tossed off and landed on my jaw, and ended up with a concussion. Not to mention very angry about being laughed at and too nauseated and dizzy to admit I was actually hurt. I guess anger won out.
The following morning we went to the Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg. What impressed me the most was the shark tunnel. There was a moving walkway that took visitors under a glass tunnel so that there are sharks and other sea creatures swimming above and beside everyone.
The bus ride back was Uneventful and I attempted to sleep with my hoodie pulled over my head to hide the fact that I was keeping my mouth open for air. My nose stayed clogged up the entire weekend. :(. Still, it was a pleasant trip. :)