Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

New Orleans - boats, balconies, bars and ghosts (Throwback post)

So what of the rest of our time in New Orleans?  Well we did a couple of boat trips, one on the Natchez paddle steamer with its steam whistle tunes and jazz band, and another on the swamps, where it was too cold for the crocodiles but we did see the wild pigs and the rather crazy swamp dwellers' homes.

We of course walked around the old parts of town, the American sector with the Charles St Streetcar and it's big houses, Magazine Street, and the French Quarter with its old iron balconies, many still decorated with Mardi Gras beads.
One of our favourite places in the French Quarter was Cafe du Monde.  It is famous for its coffee and beignets, so we figured we had to try them.

Beignets are a sort of doughnut that is covered in icing sugar.  And when I say covered, I mean covered.  They are delicious, but eating them without getting the icing sugar everywhere is an impossibility.

Though we didn't make even nearly as much mess as a couple of girls who were sat nearby, who got the icing sugar all over them and just left it there rather than wiping it.

By the time they had finished they were covered in the white powder and seemed almost oblivious to it.  They cleaned some off before they left, but there was no hiding what they'd been doing!

We decided to do the ghost tour that Karen, the woman that we met in the bar at Mardi Gras, does on a Friday evening.

She had told us that unlike most of the tours which are just people telling the stories, their company actually does the paranormal investigations itself and takes the tour to the places they believe they have identified ghostly activity.
Now Nic is a firm sceptic and I will only really be convinced if I see something personally that can't otherwise be explained, but this sounded more interesting than most.  And it was a good tour.

She combined the ghostly stories - including showing us some photos that appear to capture a ghostly figure - with some interesting local history snippets, so we enjoyed ourselves even though we didn't see any signs of an actual ghost.

She also told us a bit about the history of voodoo, and more accurately hoodoo, in New Orleans.  I think most of us have probably heard of voodoo, with it's curses, dolls and spells, but in fact that is only describing the craft when used for bad things.  The regular practice, which is not used for wicked doings, is called hoodoo.

And of course we found a few places to eat and drink while we were here.  Amongst others, we tried out the Palace Cafe for its Jazz Brunch, which was good, and a great little home style cooking place on Magazine Street called Joey K's.

We also popped into a nearby place intending to have a glass or two of wine, and instead ended up trying out a few sakes.  We soon discovered that this is another form of alcohol that we quite like - it appears that there aren't that many that we don't like - so now even more we are looking forward to spending some time in Japan.

We gave Bourbon Street a miss, but we found some nice bars in the French Quarter and a couple of fabulous places in Frenchman Street where the locals go out, notably The Spotted Cat and The Three Muses, which were small but really atmospheric and had good live music.

And we were quite pleased that just before we finished our time here we did get to see one of the 'second lines', which is a New Orleans tradition at weddings and funerals where a jazz band lead the procession through the street.  This one was a wedding, and the party seemed to be having a grand time.

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