Monday, 3 May 2010

The Mall and Stone Mountain

Saturday 1st May

After a long and busy week we were all feeling the need for a little of that ‘retail therapy’ which Andrea is fond of telling us about in her presentation. At 9am we were picked up from the Garden Plaza complex by Jack and shortly after dropped off at the Georgia Mall. Think the Trafford Centre only with carpet, not as much natural light but plenty of good shops. This was possibly the first time since we arrived at Manchester airport that we were able to split up and be on our own! With this new found freedom the various members of the team pottered about the Mall, some treating themselves more than others... not mentioning any names...Steve and Allison... think Apple gadgets and clothes respectively!

Roy meanwhile had put us all to shame and gone out at 8.30am to play football with local children and experience soccer coaching American style.

After a relaxing afternoon we were once again reunited and this time we were taken to a stunning natural landmark which the Georgians are rightfully proud of – Stone Mountain. Mr and Mrs Copeland were our delightful hosts for the evening.

Our first engagement for the evening was to walk up this enormous lump of rock (which has a proper geological term but alas – geography was never my strong point, apologies for forgetting). However, Andy made the mistake of telling us that a good time to get up there was 20mins- a pleasant evening stroll now became a sweaty charge up the hill and the summit was taken after just 18mins. The views were spectacular, as you can see.

The girls set off up Stone Mountain
Garth makes it to the top
Closely followed by Roy
Windy at the Top

The City of Atlanta in the distance, simply stunning views!

Once we reached the bottom we jumped back in the van and went to our evening rendezvous- fireworks and laser show at the base of Stone Mountain, projected onto the famous carving of three Confederate heroes (bigger than the Mount Rushmore carvings). The Copelands produced blankets for the kids to sit on and chairs for the oldies. I daren’t tell you who was who! And like any seasoned picnicing group we found a great spot on the lawn and marked our territory. We also had a delicious picnic and some of us went for a wander around a Gulliver’s World-esque theme park.

The largest stone carving in the world (bigger than Mt Rushmore!)

The Memorial Carving depicts three Confederate heroes of the Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and Lt. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

At 9.30pm once the sun had set we lay back and watched the show unfold. There was a mixture of stories told from the history of Georgian music, the story of the American Civil War, an homage to all things American (mainly the military forces) and of course, the star spangled banner was sung with gusto. The laser and fireworks were amazing and the music enhanced the spectacle although the photos never do it justice – take our word for it!

Last stop at about 11pm was a roof-top bar in Lawrenceville where the group all enjoyed some tasty tap beer, except for our exotic friend Garth who sipped on an Appletini. After a long day we were all glad to get home to bed, making sure we would be bright eyed and bushy tailed for church in the morning.

By Allison

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