The day started with a breakfast of boudin (a kind of spicy pork sausage), crackling, hogs head cheese (which is NOT cheeses, it’s basically the pigs head boiled and made into a kind of pate with the gelatinous from the pigs head, I did NOT know this when I ordered it lol), scrambled egg and toast. Glen went safe with ham and eggs, wuss.
Then it was sign out time from our cutesy cabin and off to the Swamp Tour baby!!! We had the best time ever with Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tour, we saw loads of gators, loads of turtles and birds including an osprey with a fish in its mouth. The swamps are just so beautiful and serene, we could have stayed there for hours but unfortunately it was only a two hour tour. The sun was beating down (don’t wear black if you go there lol doh!) and there were at least 3 gators just sitting waiting before we even got on the boat! Best day ever, even though i am burned again lol, we had a super great day.
Now we are holed up in St Francisville in a beautiful old B&B, we think it’s a kind of colonial style and there are loads of plantation houses around here. We went to one for dinner, in the carriage house, where I ate a crawfish ettouffe (a tomato based roux kind of sauce) with rice and Glen had fried catfish. Off to sleep now. Angola State Penitentiary visit tomorrow. Love to all. Xxx
Started the day in New Orleans by visiting the French Market first thing where we found our souvenirs of the holiday, a painting and two small prints of a play on voodoo dolls. Kinda freaky but fun, just what we like.
Then we packed up our kit bags (I wish, I have far too many clothes for that!) and headed to LAY Rural Life Museum just outside BatonRouge. It had a selection of genuine old buildings transported to the site of an earlier plantation, from early settlers buildings to slave quarters to overseers houses and more. So fascinating and such a beautiful spot, we could have stayed there all day. But we had to head in again to our accommodation for the night.
So off we went to Breaux Bridge where we stayed at the Bayou Cabins on the Bayou Teche (a bayou is a slow moving river). The cabins were previous slave/worker buildings on a plantation and the Bayou had risen so much through the recent rains that the balcony was literally over the water. We sat out having a drink with our next door neighbours although we pretty much needed an interpreter. We went to a local fruit shop for dinner which sounds odd but I had a huge platter of crawfish with two baked potatoes and a corn on the cob plunked on there lol. It tasted amazing tho I had to beg off the usual Cajun seasoning, I’m a wimp. Glen had the first po boy sandwich of the holiday with shrimp. I had to have a banana daquiru too, as you do. Amazing day, great night until the neighbours started fighting after we had gone in lol, we earwigged a bit, oohhh drama. The people round here are so friendly! Swamp tour tomorrow.
A bit of a lie in today, to try to catch up on a little sleep. Then more experimental breakfasts (banana and pecan pancakes with bacon for me and French toast with bacon for Glen, just as well we like bacon lol). Then we decided to take a tour road parts of New Orleans with a tour guide by bus, which was a huge feet saver. There is a LOT of walking in New Orleans because no buses can fit in the French Quarter. We toured the salubrious Garden District (anyone got a spare $3million for the cheapest house here?) and saw one of Anne Rice’ s (Interview with a Vampire author and she also wrote one of my favourite ever series, the The Mayfair Witches) houses (not one that she lived in, just one she remembered playing dolls in as a child so she bought it, for millions, cos she felt like it, as you do….). We saw one of the famous cemeteries here, they bury in above ground tombs because of the water table level here and previous issues with bodies bobbing back up again. They have two bodies in a tomb at a time and if they need more space they take out the previous bodies, stick the bones in a bag, tag them and stick them in the bottom of the tomb so the new coffin can go in lol. All change. We ate more beignets but this time at Morning Call instead of Cafe du Monde (we preferred them here although you still end up looking like you are a clumsy coke snorted). Finally we were taken around the 9th District which was the hardest hit by Katrina. When you see how much lower New Orleans (and particularly this district) is compared to the river and the lake (and at one point you see it very clearly) you absolutely understand the problem. So much has been and is still being rebuilt but New Orleans is coming back baby!
Later that night we went on a ghost walk around the French Quarter and learned about the brothers who rather recently kidnapped and drained blood from their victims to drink. Some of their victims died from blood loss until one woman escaped over the balcony and raised the alarm. We also heard about a colonel during the civil war who was taken away to war shortly after his marriage and whose wife died while he was away, apparently they both haunt the house to relive their happy days there dancing. That same house was the scene of a mafia extortion gone wrong, which ended up with the owner of the house killing 3 and wounding 1 mafiosa because they wanted money or they would kidnap his son. Gunshots are still heard.
All in all a busy day. My feet also died on the ghost walk so maybe I will be talked about there in future too *grins*. That’s all for now folks.
Today was our first full day in New Orleans and we were apprehensive because yesterday morning we saw on the news there was a tornado alert here and it had been raining a lot last night. We needn’t have worried, it turned into a beautifully hot day, demonstrated by the fact that I (Lucy) managed to get burned as usual. The day started with a Southern breakfast at The Ruby Slipper (special mention to Lorraine and Laura here for their previous slipper related comments). The breakfast consisted of bacon, fried green tomato (Glen didn’t like the tomato and I didn’t like the coating on it so I ate the tomato and Glen ate the coating lol), eggs over easy, grits (which amazingly it turns out I like (think porridge made with corn instead of oats) and a biscuit (it’s a scone :p). So much food we didn’t bother with lunch today although we did stop at Cafe du Monde for beignets (fried donuts with half a tonne of icing sugar, yum), I wouldn’t wanna be their cleaner though, that’s all I’m saying 😉
So we tried to visit the hat shop which was closed despite what it says on the internet, boo to them. No Heisenberg for Glen then 🙁 Then we went to the voodoo museum, small but enjoyable. The lady in there was lovely and let me rest my weary feet from walking round the French district. Marie Laveau, basically the Queen of NOLAs voodoo was a beautiful looking lady it would seem and contrary to many people’s opinions of voodoo she was considered a healer, she was a practising Catholic, she adopted orphans, fed the hungry, took in the homeless (incidentally there are a lot of homeless and beggars here, it’s so sad to see but there are only so many people you can give money to 🙁 ), she also visited condemned prisoners and cured people during yellow fever epidemics. We might be going to see her tomb tomorrow. Despite all that, all the bones and animals etc still makes voodoo seem a bit scary to me.
We wandered all around the French Quarter, trying pralines in one shop, these ones are made by dropping the mixture from a spoon so it’s kinda flat, they taste a bit like fudge or tablet with smoky pecans in. Yum but I couldn’t eat a lot. We also made it to Jackson square where all the artists and musicians hang out so we browsed all the beautiful art (Glen and I couldn’t agree on one piece lol, he liked the freaky looking doll pictures and skulls and I liked a green female Buddha looking painting or angelic ones) but they definitely have something for everyone there. We sat down (or in my case jiggled about a lot) to listen to a band play for a while and watch people dancing. NOLA is a great place to people watch, such characters and a few drunks lying on the floor lol (they weren’t dead, I checked). We sat overlooking the Mississippi river for a while too (huge and brown but rather beautiful in its own way if you ignore all the container boats lol). We rode the street car back closer to home and are now giving my poor dead feet a rest before we head off out for our anniversary meal (and no doubt another club or two) tonight. Definitely taking a taxi tonight, my feet ain’t up to all this walking malarkey. Later gators. Xxx
Sat night we had a walk out down Frenchmen St, had a walk round the arts market and we have noticed that most sellers don’t like you taking photos.
As it started to drizzle with rain, this did not dampen the spirits of anyone, they just carried on as if it wasn’t happening, we then dropped by the Vaso Club and listened to some great live reggae bands, the place was full of characters including Mr Hi Vis (man wearing a hi vis jacket) we guess he came straight from work, Ska Man (complete with fedora hat) Skullcap man, Rubber man, (way over 6 feet tall but only weighing 10 stone) Jack Sparrow showed up looking more like Adam, without his Ants and later on even Bill Bailey threw some shapes.
Tomorrow (Sun), we will be venturing further into the `Quarter`
After a bit of a nightmare journey which saw us having to return home an hour into our journey to Manchester to retrieve my (Lucy) driving license (apparently they won’t allow me to drive around here without it, how rude!) We got diverted by roadworks but eventually found our hotel with a huge comfy bed yay! Glen was well away in lala land but I couldn’t sleep. Early up to get to the airport, stood in line for ages to be told as we didn’t have a hotel booked for the first night we were denied permission to fly. Cue a mad 20 mins trying to get the airport internet to work and book a hotel, we eventually bribed it with a credit card! Long 7.5 hour flight to Newark then the connecting flight was delayed to Atlanta by an hour so 4 hours waiting before another 2.5 hour flight. Ps Glen sleeps on planes, I do not so by this time I was kind of tired. Caught the sky train which should be called zippy (but wasn’t, I checked) to the car rental then had a terrible drive in the rain for 3 hours to hotel. Stopped for dinner at JR Crickets on way which taught me that mild here means burn your skin off your lips :/ Got to hotel, Days Inn, they have a microwave and fridge in there lol. Very tired room but comfy bed which I collapsed on.
This morning (Saturday) we drove through Alabama and finally got introduced to some Sun and some Southern hospitality when we stopped for lunch at a diner, Creek Travel Plaza (see photo) which is straight out of a 50’s film. We had fried catfish (Glen) and fried chicken (Lucy, although I pinched some catfish and hush puppies) . Super gorgeous. Then we tried some boiled peanuts which were yum. Only tried one but will definitely be trying more. Then back on the road after some ribbing from the locals. Finally made it to NOLA (New Orleans for those not in the know) at about 4.30. Will update on it here tomorrow. Now we are getting ready to experience the nightlife of Frenchmen Street and jazz the night away. Enjoy your Sunday dinner, we will be munching on crawfish or gator and on that note, later gators. Xxxxx
Situated just outside Latina (90 mins south of Rome) this museum is dedicated to over 50 years of Italian history. It has over 30 thousand square meters of exhibitions to show the traditions and culture of Italian civilization, it explains the reclamation of the Pontine Marshes to the Second World War.
A day trip to Pompeii, was always on the agenda and as we looked for a parking spot, a local stopped and made a space for us outside a restaurant, he asked if we were visiting Pompeii and he said when we return, if we eat at his place and we like the food we get the parking free, if we don’t like the food, we don’t pay anything at all!!
Needless to say the food was absolutely gorgeous, we watched his mum cook our meal in such a small kitchen, it was great and we paid without question.
In 2014 on our annual visit to France, we made a trip to Le Mont St Michel, great place to see, although we are not ones for the touristy places, this was worth the visit, a free shuttle bus gets you across the bridge.