Trip Start Aug 24, 2011
37Trip End Sep 30, 2011
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Today we were moving on to New Orleans which was softening the disappointment of leaving Disneyworld behind. New Orleans is somewhere I have ALWAYS wanted to go so sad as I was, I was also really excited. We made the decision to do the 11 hour drive from Orlando to New Orleans in one go because we didn’t want to waste a night on the road somewhere when it could be spent in New Orleans. Besides, after the big 19 hour stint we were forced to do from Chicago to Boston this would be a cinch
We left the hotel by 8:30am and decided we’d get breakfast on the road somewhere. By about 10am I was really needing to stop. I was very tired after the last two days and all I wanted was coffee. We took the next exit we could to find a roadside service area that was meant to have a cafe attached. It did, but it was closed. The only thing open at this stop was a Dunkin’ Doughnuts outlet. Ohhhhhhhh for the love of GOD! There was nothing else to do, I had to get a coffee or there were going to be tears. We got in line and ordered an espresso each which I was surprised to see on the menu. I was also able to get an eggwhite omelette on an English muffin as a healthy option. Hmmmm, interesting. The guy behind the counter had no interaction with the espresso machine other than to press a button. I felt this was a good thing. Given the Americans (that I have witnessed) don’t seem to like espresso coffee all that much I figured the machine had probably hardly been touched since it was installed so should still be able to produce a decent espresso. And you know, I am shocked, SHOCKED, to be able to tell you the coffee was OK. I mean not the best I’ve had but certainly not the worst. Who knew Dunkin’ Doughnuts do espresso coffee and healthy breakfast muffins?! Consider me told! We did have a chuckle when we sat down to breakfast though because there was a policeman behind us in the queue
From breakfast we were able to hit the road and do some heads down bum up driving. Actually it was Chris that did most of that, he is loving driving over here so he did a 5 hour shift to start with. We stopped a couple of times in there for stretches and to clean the windscreen because the amount of kamikaze bugs on the windscreen was incredible. It was just covered in dead things and it was freaking me out!
After a long haul for Chris I took over at the wheel for the next couple of hours while Chris had a nap, but he took his spot back after that. The drive was long but it was pleasant enough with the scenery and the tunes we had going. We had a couple of scary patches with really heavy rains where we couldn’t see out the windscreen but they didn’t last long thankfully.
We drove off the Interstate and straight onto Bourbon St at 7pm and let me tell you the party had already started! Wowee! We lived in the heart of Kings Cross for eight years so thought we’d be prepared for this but honestly, I was dumbfounded. We drove down the street slowly looking for our hotel and stopped at a crossroad. Chris looked out to his left only to cop an eyeful of tush...two of them in fact
We found our hotel not far away from us at all, left the car with the valet and checked in to the Inn on Bourbon in the French Quarter. When I’d made the hotel booking I asked for a ‘quiet room’. When we were checking in they offered to upgrade us to a room on Bourbon St with a balcony but after having just driven down ‘the strip’ I politely declined. I don’t mind a bit of atmosphere at all but this place is pumping with music and there are times where I just need some quiet. I figured we’d get the best of both worlds because we could have our quiet and Bourbon St was not far away at all.
After such a long drive tonight was just for a little walk to get the feel of where we were, have a little dinner but mostly relax in the hotel. We managed to contain ourselves for about half an hour and for once it was Chris dragging me out. You couldn’t wipe the grin off his face from the moment we checked in. I get the feeling this is going to be somewhere he really enjoys because he doesn’t mind a party or two my husband
We found a restaurant on Yelp that had a relatively good rating called ‘The Gumbo Shop’ and since that wasn’t too far away from us we chose to go there for dinner. We only have three days here so we’re keen to try as much of the local cuisine as possible. I’m sure there are some fabulous restaurants here that do all manner of foods but we want the home style cooking experience.
We walked a couple of blocks of Bourbon St soaking in the atmosphere and I wasn’t sure I liked it. What I did love was the music, mostly jazz and blues, blaring out of every single bar or shop, that’s fantastic and sets it apart from any other place I’ve ever been. What I didn’t like is that it seemed so sleazy and full of people who were there to get drunk and see a bit of flesh. It was definitely interesting to see but I had the feeling this is not what New Orleans is about.
After our little stroll we walked on over to The Gumbo Shop and got shown to a table straight away. We were both expecting to have to wait for a while so that was great. We shared an appetizer of chicken andouille gumbo and then I had red beans and rice with smoked sausage and Chris had a combination tasting plate of shrimp creole, jambalaya and crawfish etouffee
We strolled back to the hotel and through the craziness that is Bourbon St again. When we got to our room which is right on the other side of the hotel to Bourbon St we could hear the faint thumping of drums from the music in the bars. Insane.
'Get the Party Started' by Pink is what keeps popping into my head. Get it started?? I don’t think it ever stops!