Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga Choo Choo

All the way from Nashville to Chattanooga there are billboards announcing the thrills of Lookout Mountain. We arrived at about 4 p.m. and since it was too late to visit all the attractions, we opted for two out of four. The Incline Railway was the first. It is often called "America's most amazing mile" and with the 72.7% grade of the track near the top of the mountain, it certainly is the steepest passenger railway in the world. There are two cars, very similar to the Zagreb funicular, but with only one track so the cars pass each other in the middle. Amazingly enough, the drivers also switch at this point, but I still haven't figured out why. Maybe only one of the two likes the steepest part of the railway.

After the ride in this old-fashioned railway, we headed to Ruby Falls, America's deepest and highest underground waterfall. We were taken into the cave by an elevator, and then walked for about half an hour, admiring all those stalactites and stalagmites that have formed incredible shapes. And finally, there it was, the mysterious waterfall in all its beauty. Nobody knows where it originates, but it is confirmed that it flows into the Tennessee River.

Chattanooga Choo Choo is a song performed by Glenn Miller and his orchestra in the movie Sun Valley Serenade. It tells a story of going home from New York to Chattanooga. The old Chattanooga train station was turned into a hotel in the 1970s. In the beautiful garden around the hotel you can admire passenger railway cars from the days long past. Perhaps the most exciting thing would be to have "dinner in the diner", which is a restored dining car from the 1940s. But as we were there early in the morning, it was closed, and besides, I don't think we could afford dining at such a prestigious venue.