Aside from an ant fiasco, our last week in Florida was exactly what we needed to recover from non-stop chaos of The Mini-Trip. We worked and got caught up on the blog and even celebrated Eli’s birthday (Happy Birthday, honey!). In comparison to the first time we were in Florida for three weeks, this stay went by very quickly and before we knew it, we were on the road again heading towards our next destination.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Back to sleeping the van after seven weeks! It was a welcomed change though, we actually enjoy sleeping in there, believe it or not. So yes, back to sleeping in the van while parked in Walmart parking lots, which is what we did in Mississippi before we made our way into Louisiana. It has actually been very cold at night, something we haven’t really experienced since we were in California. To combat this new discovery of frigid nighttime weather, we ended up purchasing some thermal pajamas and busting out one of our heavier blankets (thank you, KaTrina for the down blanket, we may have froze to death without it).
We drove into Louisiana Sunday morning, trying our best to navigate through the chaos of the city traffic. For those of you who weren’t already aware, driving a van in a popular city with narrow streets is never a good idea so we opted for the easier option. Right outside the French Quarter, there is a parking garage for a Park and Ride shuttle service. For five dollars we got to park our van there all day and got an Uber to bring us into the French Quarter. We were dropped off at Killer Po’ Boys for lunch where we enjoyed some amazing local cuisine before heading off to explore. The weather was gorgeous as we meandered down Bourbon Street taking in the full effects of New Orleans and it’s colorful personality. The only bummer was that there was a lot of construction being done on the road itself, which lead to large tarp covered barriers blocking our view of some of the amazing Louisiana architecture.
Jackson Square was in full swing when we stumbled upon it. Just as I had remembered, it was swarming with amazing buskers and artists perched in front of St. Louis Cathedral. We enjoyed the various performances and musical acts that could be heard from every corner of the park. The artists, as always, grabbed my attention with each creative rendition of New Orleans culture and it’s architecture. It’s times like these that I really wish I had the money and space to collect artwork from my travels like I used to. I suppose that will have to wait until our next grand adventure.
Cafe Du Monde was the next obvious stop for us because you really can’t go to New Orleans and not enjoy the most authentic of authentic beignets. The wait wasn’t as long as I had anticipated, leaving us waiting in the take out line for maybe thirty minutes before we got our food. We ended up splitting an order and sat in the cafe listening to the brass players on the sidewalk and desperately trying to keep the powdered sugar off of our clothes to no avail.
We continued to wander afterwards, making some time to visit the Christmas tree overlooking Jackson Square and checking out the view of the Mississippi River. Heading down Royal Street, we found ourselves surrounded by the finer things in life, like furniture fit for royalty and painfully ornate chandeliers and jewelry. My inner princess was screaming in excitement at the sight of it all.
Our day slowly drew to a close as the sun began to set. We had been told by multiple sources that the city has a tendency to be dangerous so we decided to air on the side of caution and leave while there was still daylight. We hailed an Uber and made our way back to the van. Then, we battled more traffic for hours on the highway as we attempted to make our way towards our next sleeping destination. Once we had safely arrived, we buried ourselves in bed and quickly went to sleep.
Currently, we are working away in our natural habitat, a well populated Starbucks. Tonight, we begin moving into Texas on a fast track towards Austin. It feels good to be back to our “normal” life after spending so much time on airplanes. I didn’t think I would miss waking up in our little van house quite as much as I did. The cold weather is a plus too, though it is a little difficult to store my mass of sweaters in such a small space. Oh well, we make it work because as always, everything is fine.