Contiki’s Rock N’ Soul: Part One

Our very own Sales & Marketing Administrator, Allyson C. took an adventure on Contiki’s Rock n’ Soul itinerary!  Check out the first part of her grand adventure traveling through the heart of rock n’ soul in the United States.


Employee Guest Post by:  Allyson C.

Many Americans are focused on exploring the wonders of the world on other continents and unintentionally overlook the fantastic travel destinations available within the United States. Traveling within the United States stretches your vacation dollar since you save money on airfare and exchange rates, and this summer I chose to take advantage! Wanting to stretch my travel buck coupled with my love affair with food and music led me to book Rock N’ Soul, an exclusive Summer 2011 Contiki. Starting in Chicago and winding its way through the Midwest to the Deep South, this 12-day itinerary is comprised of Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans. With so many wonderful cities and their experiences to share, I’ve decided to make this a two-part blog.

“Chicago, Chicago that toddlin’ town”- Frank Sinatra

Known for architecture, world-class museums, deep dish pizza, Chicago dogs, and distinct forms of blues and modern jazz, Chicago is abuzz with summer energy.  My tour kicked off in true Chicago-style with deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria and a night at Buddy Guy’s Legends for live blues music. Be sure to try the “Lou”—thick, buttery, flaky crust topped with fresh spinach, mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, and covered in a three cheese blend. Yumm-o! The bands at Buddy’s that night performed both delta style (originating in the Mississippi delta) blues and Chicago blues, priming my ears for the next 11 days of live music.

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A little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll

How would you answer this question:

Are you a little bit country, or a little bit rock n’ roll?

Jazz and blues on Contiki's Rock & Soul

If you’re like me, you’re probably a bit of both, and I like it even more in certain aspects of  my life, especially when they involve food or music.  It’s hard to ignore the fact that the music we listen to today is connected in some way to the rock and soul born in the heart of America.  You can discover a whole new world in your own backyard!

The birthplace of rock n’ roll is credited to the United States, where some of the most influential jazz, country, and rock n’ roll musicians of our generation made their mark in cities such as Chicago, Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans.  Do the names BB King, Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, or Johnny Cash ring any bells?  Even today, we’re still rockin’ out to their tunes and people flock by the thousands to pay tribute to their favorite artists, whether it’s at Elvis’ Graceland Mansion, or the Rock n’ Soul Museum.

Grab a bite in the Big Easy

With that much soul packed into one place, some of it is bound to seep into the food! Put on those elastic waistband pants and indulge in decadent beignets & cafe au lait from the Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, or inhale some lip-smacking deep dish pizza in Chicago. There is food to dazzle the senses for every type of eater.  Hm, I’m hungry now.  Who else wants to get some soul food with me?

If you want to get in touch with either your country or rock n’ roll side, you can get the opportunity with Contiki’s Rock & Soul tour.  Spanning 7 states (Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana), Rock & Soul’s itinerary will knock your socks off.  There’s something for everyone:  Sports fans can choose to tour the Louisville Slugger Museum, or visit the Muhammad Ali center.  History buffs will visit Abraham Lincoln’s hometown. Foodies can discover epicurean delights unique to the region.  Adventurers can even go on an airboat swamp ride to see alligators!  And music-philes, this tour brings you the heart of rock and soul.  You won’t be singing the blues after you take this trip – all while discovering something new in the U.S.A.

Befriending alligators

We can make this trip even sweeter.  Contiki is currently offering $150 off any North America trips that you book (which ends March 24th!)- so its the perfect time to book Rock & Soul, departing exclusively on June 18th – ya dig?

It’s time to decide whether you’re a little bit country, or a little bit rock n’ roll – discover the world of Rock & Soul.