I met my Viennese aunt and uncle for the first time when I was 28 years old. It was an unforgettable visit in many ways. One day we sat having coffee and strudel on a sunny terrace overlooking an Alpine lake and they burst into song, trying to remember as many American songs as they could. They knew every word of "Chattanooga Choo Choo." I did not. So when we past the choo choo site, we just had to stop. Chattanooga was an important railroad town; passenger service to the north started here. Today the beautiful building that was the railroad depot has been turned into a charming hotel. Diehard railroad fans can sleep in a train car here. We've read that these accommodations are not very comfortable and many folks opt to stay in the more modern part of the hotel.
Then we headed to the Tennessee River to board a river boat. It sailed past another famous river boat, the Dixie Queen, which was used as a cruise ship both here and on the Mississippi. Today the Dixie Queen is retired and serves as a hotel, for those who would like to sleep on a river boat instead of a rail car. Much of Chattanooga sits on high bluffs overlooking the river. The river front has a nice path for joggers and bike riders. One of the oldest bridges which is no longer used for vehicular traffic unites the path with the park on the other side of the river. After a plentiful lunch on board the river boat, it felt good to jump on our bikes and do the path.