The Memphis Queen

My wife and I met on a River Boat 50 years ago. It was a paddlewheel ship called the The Gateway Party Liner in Pittsburgh. It was a party cruise with Archie Bell and The Drells. So it seemed right that visiting Memphis as tourists we should take a cruise on The Mississippi River.

We boarded The Memphis Queen and cruised down river a little bit to the south. We then turned and headed North and cruised under the bridges crossing the Mississippi learning the history of rivers boats on the Mississippi. We also learned a lot about the history and culture of Memphis in the 90 minute cruise. It was fun and inexpensive.

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The Memphis Queen

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L’ Shana Tova

Tonight is the beginning of one of the most sacred holidays in Judaism: Rosh Hashanah. I can’t help but wonder what services would look like in the beautiful Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is known for its Red Light District, Canals, Coffee Shops and Museums. Nestled in this backdrop is one of the great Synagogues of the world. It was built by Spanish Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition. Since Holland and Spain were at war with one another, those escaping persecution said they were Portuguese to gain entry in to the country. Many Synagogues in Europe today restrict access due to persistent anti-Semitic feelings. However the Portuguese Synagogue is open for visitors for a small fee. You can also attend services on Friday or Saturday without paying a fee. The entire Synagogue is lit by candles and there is an excellent Judaica store where you can buy beautiful souvenirs and find out about the history of the building.L’shanah Tovah (Happy New Year!)

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Portuguese Synagogue Amsterdam Holland

Sunset over David Lawrence

A train leaving the city in front of the David Lawrence Convention Center. Pittsburgh at Sunset taken from the deck of the Hienz History Center.

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Pittsburgh Sunset

The King on Beale Street

Beale Street in Memphis is where you go to hear live music. The street has many famous clubs where legendary blues and rock artists have performed over the years. Two blocks are closed to traffic and as you get close you can smell the barbecue which is arguably the best in the USA.

It is only fitting that as you stroll down the street there is this magnificent statue of The King, Elvis Presley

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The King on Beale Street

The Memphis Trolleys

Memphis was a city I visited a few times for business but only came away with hours of work and memories of good barbecue. For the first time we spent a few days as tourists and we loved the small city. It has a unique culture, great music, and wonderful people. One of the big surprises was the streetcar system.

Coming from Pittsburgh gave us and appreciation and fond memories of streetcars. However, we had nothing like these wooden beauties. The Memphis Area Transit Authority trolley system began running in 1993. Although the trolleys enjoyed a 21-year run of shuffling locals and tourists through the heart of the city, they haven’t operated in Memphis since 2014, when service was suspended after fires broke out on two cars. They just returned to the city last year. Leave your car in the garage, the trolly is fun and inexpensive.

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Memphis Trolly

Memphis Trolly

Main Street Sculpture

Part of Main Street in Memphis is a pedestrian mall. Beautiful wooden trolleys run along the street so some caution is still required when walking. Near the Mississippi River is this beautiful outdoor metal sculpture.

In a way it reminds me of Chicago’s Cloudgate (The Bean).

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Main Street Sculpture