Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Garden District

Today was our last full day in New Orleans and we decided to check out the Garden District which is a neighborhood famed by its oak tree lined streets, historic houses, cute stores and abundant restaurants. When we got to the neighborhood we saw a lot of walking tours but we decided to do our own exploring using a map and following recommendations that we had got from some locals.

The Garden District was once made up of several plantations which were later sold to rich Americans that wanted to live away from the French Quarters. Traditionally each block in the neighborhood had two houses surrounded by a large garden and hence the name "Garden District" but as the area became more urban the lots got sub divided and houses were build on them creating a mix of different architectural styles.

We walked through the streets of the neighborhood admiring some of the colorful houses and appreciating the history of the place, before moving on. I took a few pictures so you can get a glimpse of some of the sites within the Garden District.

That's it folks, I have to end this update here because I am so tired and my mind is solely focused on sleep right now. It's been a good trip and I am glad we were able to check out a lot of the tourist attractions within such a short period of time. The good thing about New Orleans is that a lot of the tourist attractions are very close to each other so that makes it easy to visit them all, we definitely  took advantage of that. I hope you have been enjoying these updates, check back in when March rolls around because my birthday trip is going to be exciting and I can't wait!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sites & Sounds of NOLA

Today was a very good and productive day, we started out at Frenchmen Street in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. Frenchmen Street is popular with the locals and has very reasonably priced restaurants and bars with live music. If you don't want to deal with boisterous crowds then Frenchmen Street is the place to be for a more laid back feel. During the day it was practically empty but it was still cool walking along the street checking out some of the cute colorful buildings.

After strolling along Frenchmen Street we decided to check out the famous Cafe du Monde located in the French Quarters. Cafe du Monde is a very popular coffee shop in New Orleans that attracts a lot of tourists. You can not come to New Orleans and not check it out, it has various branches but we decided to go to the original coffee shop. As you can imagine, the line was very long but luckily it was moving very fast and we managed to get a table without having to wait too long.

The menu was very basic with no frills and was plastered on the napkin holder. We ordered hot chocolate and beignet which is a square fried dough covered with powdered sugar, I thought the powdered sugar was an overkill and pretty messy but hey! it's all about new experiences right? 

After enjoying the tasty treats at Cafe du Monde we decided to burn off the calories by walking around the various lively streets within the French Quarter. We came across street performances, cute hidden alleys and a bunch of cute little shops selling souvenirs.

Our next stop was Canal Street which is the major starting point for every street that runs the length of the French Quarter and is very lively with lots of shops, hotels and restaurants.

It had been several hours since we had started our site seeing and we were very hungry so we decided to grab dinner at another highly recommended restaurant serving local cuisine. We ended up at Felix's Restaurant and Oyster Bar in the French Quarter. We were expecting long lines but we were fortunate to get a table pretty fast and our order did not take long to arrive which made me happy as you can clearly see below because I was starving!

We were done with dinner at around 6 pm and by then the streets around the French Quarter especially Bourbon Street, were already full of revelers and noisy from all the different music playing at the various clubs and bars. 

After strolling the length of Bourbon Street we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel but before doing that, we had to make a quick stop at Frenchmen Street to see how the ambience was like at night as compared to during the day. It was certainly livelier with the sounds of smooth jazz being played by live bands in some of the bars and restaurants. It definitely was more chill than Bourbon Street which in itself isn't a bad thing depending on what you are looking for.

That's it people! it was a very long day full of fun and and excitement. I am glad we were able to walk from one tourist site to another as they were very close to each other, lots of calories were burned and more will be burned tomorrow as we plan yet another full day jam packed with adventures so watch out for another update.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Orleans, Louisiana

I have always wanted to visit New Orleans so when the opportunity came up to finally check out the city, I was more than ready to jump on it. A friend of mine is on work assignment close to Louisiana so we decided to meet up in New Orleans for a long weekend and see what the city has to offer. I got here this evening and as soon as we met up and got settled in our hotel room, we were up and about ready to see what this town has to offer.

First stop was at the French Quarter which is the oldest section of the city, we went out to dinner at a highly recommended restaurant in the area called Oceana. There was a very long line when we got to the restaurant but we got lucky because we were able to get a table immediately since it was just the two of us (most people in the line were in big groups and tables were not available to them immediately). The food was really tasty, the service was excellent and the ambience was really good! I highly recommend the place.

After dinner we headed out and were met by a lively band leading a parade of people who were handing out beads and dancing on the streets. Turns out this weekend there is an annual event called Pardi Gras that's taking place, the event caters to a group of people nicknamed "Parrot Heads" which is in reference to their love for the singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett. Both of us had no clue about this event but it was a nice surprise knowing that the weekend we chose to come here will be full of parades and festivities. 

We joined the revelers and and marched along with them despite the cold, temperatures here are in the 40s which sucks but it certainly is way better than where I came from so I can handle it.

After marching for a while the strong winds which made it feel even colder got to us and we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel. Tomorrow there is a street party associated with Pardi Gras at the French Quarters so we are definitely planning on checking that out in addition to other sites and attractions. I will keep you posted so stay tuned.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!!

I can't believe we are in 2018 already but I am certainly not complaining given the kind of year I had in 2017. I have to say 2017 was one of my worst years and I was so ready to be done with it, hopefully 2018 will bring with it better luck.

I usually don't go out to celebrate New Year and prefer to keep things low key but I wanted to usher 2018 in celebration with the hope that it would set the theme for the coming year (Ok, I do believe how you usher in the new year sort of marks the theme of that year. Call me superstitious but it is what it is). My husband and I got tickets to a New Year's Eve party in the city and we ushered in 2018 surrounded by hundreds of people and a reminder as to why I don't like going out on New year's eve. Let's just say at 12:30 am I was ready to go home, don't let the smile fool you I was tired!

As for my plans for 2018, I want to travel more among many other personal goals. Next week I am going to New Orleans to meet up with a friend for a long weekend and I am excited because I have always wanted to visit the city, In March I have my birthday destination all booked, In May my husband and I want to celebrate his 30th birthday in New York but that's tentative because it depends on his and my work schedule. I have another major travel plan but it's tentative for now and I don't want to jinx it so I will not mention it until everything is confirmed. Hopefully my wishes and plans come to pass, I will certainly keep updating the blog as things unfold. In the meantime, enjoy the first day of January and have a very Happy New Year!!