Graceland and beyond

I admit, Graceland was the main reason for visiting Memphis.

I've heard of Memphis and its Beale Street many times before, but it didn't live up to my expectations. Maybe because it was a bleak, rainy day, and as there was a basketball match at the FedEx Forum, hoodied youngsters wanted to sell us tickets all along Beale Street. As to the Mississippi, yes, it is mighty, even mightier on such a gloomy day. There were no tours in January so we didn't have a chance to go for a ride. No Mark Twain experience, unfortunately. I shouldn't forget the Peabody Ducks, something I first heard of on the Fodor forums. Every day at 11 a.m. ducks march on the red carpet from the elevator to the marble fountain in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel. At 5 p.m. they retire to their quarters on the roof, called the Duck palace. They are led by a person named the Duckmaster. It has been a tradition since 1932.

Now back to Graceland. I expected a tacky, cheesy place, but it exceeded my expectations. It's not over the top in any way, from our perspective certainly not, but considering the era when it was built and when it was lived in, I guess it was thought to be extravagant.

First of all, the house, named after one of the previous owners, is not particularly large in size. The living room with white sofa beds and armchairs can be found in many homes today, as well as the eating room and the kitchen. You can not go on a tour of the bedrooms, but certain things have been brought downstairs for us to be admired. Some of these are kitschy, like his furry round bed with a kind of half a roof over it, all in fur. I didn't like the pool room either, because it had pleated fabric on the walls and the ceiling, which, to me, looked kind of strange. The Jungle Room is cool, although a bit (or more than a bit) tacky with zebra chairs, fountains, and a green shaggy on both the floor and the ceiling.

Many rooms are filled with his numerous gold and platinum records. It's amazing to see what a prolific artist he was. The backyard is real huge for all his horses, snowmobiles, go carts etc, which he played with. The tour ends with a visit to his and the graves of his parents and grandma. There's also a little slab in memory of his twin brother who died at birth.

After visiting the house we went to take a look at his cars and two planes. The bigger of the two, the Lisa Marie, was very modern for the time when he flew in it, but I still can't imagine what all those rich guys' planes look like from the inside.

Now I see I have never mentioned his name: but I know there's no need for it. He was and still is the one and only... the King.

Here are some photos.