Nearly everything can happen in Louisville. From fulfilling your dreams to falling in love burning like a flame. I spent one week in Louisville and left with my heart completely obsessed with the awe-inspiring nature of its people and its atmosphere. My desires and new friends remained there which was unthinkable at the very beginning of my journey when my plane had touched down at the international airport.
I would like to recommend to everyone to staying this cozy center of Kentucky, the largest metropolis. By walking through the streets of the downtown lined with old houses and museums along with the Old Louisville, where the late autumn colors get mixed up with one another extended by the yellow smooth touch of leaves and the brick-red Victorian-style mansions, you can experience the gems of architecture and the touch and tranquility of family comfort. As such, the only noise which interrupts this peaceful environment is the noise of the passing cars hand in hand with the babble of fountains act as a calming influence on the soul. The local inhabitants passing by radiate the same sense of calmness. What else can an agitated and constantly nervous European wish for?
The name of the city can be traced back to the unfortunate French King Louis XVI, who left his head at the Place da le Concorde, where the people’s assembly executed him with the modern instrument of retribution for French people, the guillotine. No wonder that the city has a certain French charm which can be felt right from the start. This feeling is further enhanced by the symbol called “fleur de list“ found all over the city. Louisville has always been exceptional. Wealthy tobacco owners and bourbon producers left their evident traces on the city based on the fact that they were the ones who built and made it famous all over the US.
The interesting city
My visit with Susan Dallas to the Kentucky industrial center on the Ohio river began on the second day at St. James Court. From there we went on to the Old Louisville explore. Many people consider this part as the most beautiful mainly because of its romantic Victorian-style mansions and peaceful atmosphere. Furthermore, ghostly excursions to the haunted houses are organized here as well. No more explanation is needed here – people just love the unexplained phenomena said to be recurring in the basements. I chose less “romantic“ tours. My highlights were the visits to the museums such as the Kentucky Derby, the Speed Art and the Cave Hall Cemetery where the founder of the brand KFC Colonel Harland Sanders was also buried. The moment Susan suggested we should also visit this cemetery, I developed some serious doubts .
What am I supposed to do at the cemetery? I got it wrong once again – my mind was filled with the images of narrow paths. However, when I discovered how vast the whole area was with its massive gates leading directly to the grounds of the cemetery lined with neaty and tidy paths, in the car I remained calm. To put it in a nutshell, there were many things worth looking at.
After this unusual experience, I had the pleasure of visiting the abandoned Waverly Hills Sanatorium which served as a hospital renowned for treating tuberculosis. This place even appeared in the haunting movie Death Tunnel from 2005. Unfortunately, enough, all the late-night excursions had been sold out for a few weeks.
An eventful trip with Susan was cut short a little bit earlier as I had some meeting to attend at my hotel. Firstly, I had a meeting with Peggy Pauley, the Director of the US International Trade Administration-Commercial Service. We spent two wonderful hours together talking about Louisville and in general, Kentucky. Later that day I visited my old friends already waiting for me, the Rowand family. Having spent few amazing days with them was a true treat for my soul.
Galt House Hotel and the downtown
Galt House Hotel is situated in the very heart of the city which enables the visitor to get to know the city center. It was quite strange to find out that the downtown was emptied out after the working hours. People usually spend their free time outside of the center. Even though things change rapidly in this sense as well. The leaders of American cities strive to revitalize the city centers and bring vitality and life back to them.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of things to be adored. Such as various skyscrapers, attractive historic buildings, the center of the entertainment Fourth Street Live! and the factory Louisville Slugger, where baseball sticks for the biggest stars of this sport are produced. The sports hall named KFC Yum Center which I visited during the exclusive event The Winner’s Circle also made a big impression on me. It was held prior to the Breeders‘ Cup. Taking part in this racing event provided me with a wonderful opportunity to meet with American actress Bo Derek.
Visit to the white house
In connection with the brand Yum! the owner of familiar brands such as KFC and Pizza Hut and less known Taco Bell, I have some more information to add. I was privileged to visit the brand’s headquarters in Louisville and had the chance to interview the PR Directors. Even when everything is subject to business one can discover the touch of memories and melancholy. There are several examples to point out – one of them being the mini museum dedicated to Harland Sanders, the founder of the KFC brand.
Till today I consider my stay in Louisville extraordinary that totally captured my imagination and made me fall in love with America. Maybe also thanks to the contribution of the great people I met.
Fun fact no. 7
If you have the possibility get to know and meet new people. They will be more than happy to talk about their cities and share facts not to be found in any travel guides.
(My trip to Louisville, Kentucky is dated back in the past, in 2010 when I was an accredited journalist during the Breeders’ Cup. I got my first taste of the US. and it convinced me. It has been my favorite destination ever since
Photos: Peter Fritz, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau