So, I’m really a slacker. Like, BAD. I just haven’t felt much like blogging lately, so it’s taken me quite a while to sit down and write the recap of my trip. But I teased everyone with it a week ago, so it’s time I make good on my promise!
Getting to the airport and flying into NOLA was nothing to speak of, so I’ll start with our cab ride to the hotel, in which we saw the Superdome, a few intriguing cemeteries, and lots of drunk people. My aunt, though not drunk, managed to leave her laptop bag in the cab, which was scary since it was her business trip and I’d imagine a computer to be a pretty integral part of that. As we were frantically trying to think of the cab driver’s name, the cab company, or anything identifying at all, he came running back with it and saved the day. Thanks, dude! We got cleaned up a bit and headed down to our hotel’s bar for the meet and greet of the conference. After sitting down and getting our drinks ordered, I noticed something strange was going on-we were moving! Turns out, the hotel we were staying in has a pretty famous carousel bar.
So we had some wine, debated and decided not to start the trip with absinthe, and then made our way out to find some dinner. We ended up at a fantastic seafood place on Bourbon St. I can’t remember the name, seriously, but we had some delicious crab cakes, a mussel platter with potatoes and corn on the cob, and some more wine. We were lucky enough to be seated on the balcony-one of the things I’ll remember most about NOLA was all the balconies and architecture. It just has a unique feel to it that you know to be New Orleans. However, this is the view that balcony gave us:
We wandered around a bit more, saw a few cool things:
And we ended up for one last drink at a really cool bar that seemed to be only lit by candles. Turned out to be Lafitte’s blacksmith shop, which is the oldest bar in NOLA, claiming to be the oldest bar in the US. They qualify that by saying it’s been the same named bar the whole time so they win. Having visited NYC, Boston, and Ireland, I’ve noticed that lots of places like to claim to be the oldest whatever, and just qualify it however they need to. Whatever, it was still pretty cool:
My aunt had one of their famous hurricanes, and I stuck with wine. Let me tell you, people, hurricanes are nothing to mess with, and it doesn’t matter if they’re coming from the ocean or from fruity booze. Stay. Away! We got back to the hotel and settled in with some Forensic Files to fall asleep. Sleeping in hotels for me goes one of two ways-like a rock or not at all. These beds were either made of the softest feathers known to man, or-and more likely-not having to share the bed with 2 snuggly dogs and a husband let me actually get comfortable. I slept so hard most of the trip, it was awesome.
The next day, I got up later than I’d hoped to and headed out for a quick run. I was hoping to get in 6 miles, but let me tell you-it was humid already at 9, and I had a hard time finding a good safe place to run. I ran along the waterfront, and that was awesome but windy and it was a pretty short stretch. I ran some through the French Quarter, and then finished up the last of my miles on the hotel treadmill. I decided to just grab some snacks from the Walgreens next door and wait to eat real food until lunch. I walked down St Charles a bit and ended up at the Confederate museum. Normally I cheap out when it comes to sightseeing on vacation, so I was proud that I actually went in. It was a fairly small museum, which was probably a good thing since I started getting hungry. I learned a few things about Civil War history and found the inspiration for all the hipster facial hair I see at our local pub-it’s all Civil War Flair!
Walked back towards the Quarter, and that’s when “disaster” struck. And by disaster, I mean indecision. I’m not a huge fried food person, but I also wanted to get some traditional Cajun food, and somehow I got stuck on having a Po Boy for lunch. I walked and walked before I was finally like “just pick somewhere or end up killing someone out of hanger!” So I ate at the Bourbon House and it was delicious.
I decided I was ready for a bit of down time at this point, so I headed back to the hotel to chill out for a bit. A nap may have happened. Then I got an email with a list of places to go/see/do and I decided to scope out my possible running route. While I did not see the aforementioned plantations and architecture, I did see hobos and a drunk guy fall asleep standing up, so there’s that. I decided to speedwalk back to where there were happy drunk people vs the angry drunks I was encountering. Shopped a bit and then headed back to see what Lynette was up to. We ended up going to her work function together at the Union Oyster House, so I got to sample some oysters, delicious catfish, jambalaya, red beans & rice, and some delicous coconutty desserts. Here’s the view down towards bourbon st from their balcony:
After dinner, we walked down to Bourbon St for some mingling and they all stopped and got drinks at one of the many fruity drink stands. I abstained-I just find that sugary alcoholic drinks don’t work well for me. We took them to Lafitte’s for a drink and ended up at the hotel at a pretty respectable hour.
Thursday, I decided to be a bit smarter about things-I walked a LOT each day but Thursday was a bit lighter. I ran on the hotel treadmill and then cleaned up and headed to the famous Cafe Du Monde for some beignets and coffee. It was adorable and I lingered a bit longer than they probably would have liked.
After breakfast, I hopped a street car and rode it back down to the cemeteries we’d seen on our way in. Call me morbid, but I really enjoy seeing super old cemeteries, as well as just the different burial methods across cultures. New Orleans has to have everybody “above ground” due to the high water table, so everyone is in crypts and almost these locker-type thingies. Here’s one of the many shots I took of the crypts:
Without anyone to marvel about the architecture and ornateness though, I got bored and wandered back toward central town. I had a haunted history ghost tour lined up for 3 in the afternoon, and I snacked on some more walgreens food, grabbed a glass of wine, and joined my tour. We learned so many little things and I was really glad I went.
One of the places was the famous LaLaurie house, where they found that Madame had been experimenting on slaves by sewing body parts to one another, cramming them in small boxes to see what happened, and the like. Very interesting. I stopped by the hotel, but I saw that Lynette was taking a nap and I didn’t want to disturb her. It was pretty early for dinner, but I’d had some cheerios and an apple for lunch so I was getting hungry. Some friends who lived previously in both Thailand and NOLA had said the best Thai food they’d had outside of Thailand was in walking distance from my hotel. I walked by, debated, and went ahead and had my dinner there. I got their seafood drunken noodles-mussels, crab, scallops, shrimp all in spicy noodles. It was amazing.
I wandered around walking a bit more and decided I didn’t care if I was being lame, I didn’t really feel like drinking, especially doing so in a town like NOLA all by myself. So I chilled out in the hotel room, read my book, and just relaxed. It was nice. Friday morning, I got up early for my last run (still on the treadmill) and then headed out into the rain for some breakfast. Found a little cafe called Nosh and got talked into their sweet potato pancakes-a good call. They were great! Stopped into a fantastic antique shop-Jeff’s still mad I didn’t bring him the dueling pistols I found. Then I went to Swamp Dog and Friends and fell in love. They have awesome prints of dogs in typical New Orleans settings. I debated hard about getting “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder”-it’s not on their website, but is a dead ringer for Foster with a colored glass of absinthe and a few other items. It’s hard to describe, but I kept thinking about getting it and/or a print of the famous “blue dog” since it looked so much like Duncan. I’ve been in contact with the shop and will be getting a copy of Absinthe mailed to me. It’s more than I’d normally spend on an unframed photo print, but I loves it! I’ll add a photo when I get mine-the owner sent me a photo of the print but it’s not very good quality.
Anyway, once I got to the airport I had plenty of time to walk around, both in NOLA and on my 4 hour layover in Denver. Looking at my pedometer, each day I walked roughly a half marathon in addition to the 5-7 miles I ran each day of the trip. No wonder I was sleeping so well! Once I got home, the dogs were pretty excited. Duncan is our nervous spaz who usually isn’t shy to tell you he missed you-whether you were gone for 4 minutes or 4 days. But Foster…he’s usually aloof. He played it cool, but the rest of the weekend he didn’t let me out of his sight. It was a great trip, but spending most of my time on my own was a blessing and a curse. I’m not great at decision making, and keeping so many sarcastic thoughts in my head without anyone to spill them to was torture! My next trip will definitely involve Jeff-but for now, there’s no place like home.