Today I’m heading out of Atlanta. It’s a perfectly fine city but it will be nice to get away from the huge, sprawling concrete jungle. This involves taking a Southeastern Stages bus from Atlanta Greyhound Station. Reading the Yelp reviews for Atlanta Greyhound Station is enough to put any right-minded person from ever wanting to step foot in it. Asia W said, “I really HATE this station. It’s so ratchet, ghetto and unprofessional!!” Lee T’s review included, “First things first……….if you can afford any other way to travel, then please do so…….this bus station and the area it is located in, is NOT SAFE. The day time is very shady at the bus station but at night, you have a 50/50 chance of being mugged, shot, kidnapped or beaten up. In other words, this place is a safe as walking through Afghanistan in a red white and blue costume, singing the national anthem, while waving an American flag!” There’s actually worse reviews than that but they get a bit nasty. Thankfully the entrance to the coach station is about twenty yards away from the exit of an underground train station so that wasn’t too bad of a start. Inside I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually fine. Not exactly what you’d call posh but the staff made sure everyone in there had a ticket to travel and behaved themselves.

Google Maps states the distance between Atlanta and Asheville, North Carolina as 208 miles. My bus ticket informs me that the bus debating Atlanta at 11.30am arrives in Asheville at 8.30pm, with no changes required. Looking at the map it appears that a fair chunk of the day was spent travelling in the wrong direction. Although time is not of the essence to me, I could have probably done without a full day tour of nondescript places in Georgia and South Carolina. Listening to podcasts makes the journey go a bit more quickly.

I love Asheville. It was one of the best places I visited during my last travelling episode. Asheville is a smallish city, located in the mountains. There’s loads of well-preserved architecture, along with plenty of great food and drink places and a huge amount of art shops. You know Asheville is a cool place when you walk into the supermarket and the background music is The National. Although I’m aiming to see as much new stuff as possible and avoid repeat visits to places, Asheville was on the route that I was planning upon heading and the bus schedules fitted in well. My first hostel (I’m changing to another one on Tuesday) is interesting to say the least. It’s in a lovely old converted building, like one of those swanky loft-style penthouse apartments with hardwood floors and exposed brick walls. However the whole hostel is open plan. The walls of the sleeping areas only go to about three-quarters of the way up to the ceiling and there are no doors to separate the bedrooms, all of which lead into the kitchen and communal area. It seemed to work OK with no major noise issues.

Without wishing to sound like TripAdvisor I had possibly the nicest burger ever tonight at Farm Burgers. I’d been looking forward to that after nine hours cooped up on a coach.

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The Atlanta-Asheville bus route
Up in the mountains
Open-plan hostel