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Trip Report Birmingham Trip Report!

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On Friday, my sister and I threw some panties in a bag and headed for Birmingham. We'd set our sights on some food, fun, a few martinis, and the Pompeii exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art. A brief trip report:

Headed east on I-20 Friday night, we decided to stop in Meridian, MS, for a bite of dinner. I'd passed through Meridian several times before, and I'd always wanted to eat at Weidmann's, a local place in old downtown. Unfortunately, it was always closed when I'd had the occasion to be in Meridian. Not this time, I am happy to say. We found the restaurant easily and began to enjoy fried calimari with cilantro aioli as our appetizer. (DIVINE.) We moved on to crabcakes and tilapia as our entrees. (OMG.) Weidmann's is upscale, but the food is amazing. I believe there's a bar above the restaurant, and they may serve more reasonably-priced fare there. (However, the bar is clearly not non-smoking, as we could see hazy drifts emanating from it. Just an FYI.) Too full for more, we trundled back into the car for the rest of the drive.

Once we arrived in Birmingham, we checked into the Highland Hotel in the Five Points area. I'd wanted to stay at Five Points because there are many restaurants and bars within walking distance. Plus, it's just a quick hop to Vulcan Park and not too far from the museum. We loved the hotel - Brazilian linens, contemporary design, flat-screen TV, and even a little martini bar off the lobby.

Once we were checked in, we headed out for a bit of a walk and some drinks. We ran into a news crew out to film "man-on-the-street" reactions to the incoming "crippling snow" (about 2 inches!), chatted a bit, and slipped into a bar for some fruity, girly martinis. Delish.

We went to bed at a fairly reasonable hour, but we awoke at 3:30 a.m. to the sounds of patrons leaving the bars below. (And we were on the EIGHTH floor. No, I'm not kidding.) Somebody must have called the police (and no, it wasn't me), because they showed up to get people to quiet down and go on home.

The next morning, we walked in a delightful shower of snow to The Original Pancake House, where we feasted on pecan waffles and peach pancakes with turkey sausage. Portion sizes were insane, and the place was PACKED. Service was speedy, and our accomplished waiter made everything look effortless. Prices were very reasonable. The coffee was goooooood, and it was made even better by the scenery outside. TV crews were back for more "man-on-the-street" footage. Yes, snow is a big deal in the south.

To scope out views of Birmingham in the snow, we tripped up to Vulcan Park, where the park director held off shutting the place down to let us explore a bit. (I kid you not. The South is a friendly place. He even gave us a little personalized info about the statue.) We gazed at the view, ambled around, and threw snowballs at each other, then got back in the car.

After that, we headed to the exhibit. It was wonderful, and sad, too. There were alot of casts of the volcano's victims on display, and some of them were kids. It was hard to see. They also showed what alot of the victims had with them when they died - coins, jewelry, silver, any portable wealth they could lay hands on. Tiny statues of the gods they thought would protect them. There were also these cool life-sized pictures of excavated streets on the walls, almost making you feel like you were there. They had put up pieces of frescoes from the homes there, with a nice audio tour that explained what you were seeing and its significance. It was a marvelous exhibit; so glad we went.

After the museum, we hit the road back to Jackson, only stopping briefly in Tuscaloosa for HUGE burritos at Chipotle's (which we don't have in the metro area). FUN!

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