Monday, December 15, 2014

New Orleans Part 2

Before our trip, I asked my New Orleans-savvy friends for advice on what to do. The majority of their suggestions revolved around food, and once I got to NOLA, I understood why. Your visit cannot be properly enjoyed without eating ALL THE THINGS.

And when everything is so dang good, why wouldn't you want to??

Our first foodie stop was Cafe du Monde for beignets and a cafe au lait. They were sweet and rich and decadent, but next time I'll order one serving of beignets to share. Neither one of us could finish 3 by ourselves.

Even though it was muggy and hot, it was still a great place to sit down and people watch for a while. Street musicians would come by an play jazz music, tourists and locals alike bustled by, and you had a nice view of the gardens surrounding St. Louis Cathedral.

Now highly caffeinated and covered in powdered sugar, Fionn and I wandered off to explore more of the city.

The thing I like about New Orleans is that it's got a little something for everyone. You've got the party scene, lots of historical stuff, good food, unique stores, buildings dripping with history and modern sections reminding you you're in the 21st century.

Every time I come back, I find something new.

After a few hours of exploring, we decided to stop at the famous Central Grocery for a Muffuletta after 3 different friends insisted we stop there. I was suspicious...wasn't this going to be some overpriced tourist trap with mediocre food? Surely there's no way this place could live up to the hype.

Let me just say right now, I was WRONG. So very very wrong.

That Muffuletta was every bit as good as my friends said. Better even. Fionn and I fought over the last bite.

I'm drooling just thinking about that masterpiece of a sandwich...

That night we met my awesome study abroad friend/New Orleans native at a local joint for more chargrilled oysters and Sezeracs (New Orleans' famous signature cocktail) and before we knew it it was time to hit the road again, bound for the next leg of our road trip!

Goodbye, New Orleans! Hello, Texas!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Roadtrip to Texas: New Orleans

Moving from Georgia to West Texas is a 1500 mile trip, and takes around 22 hours to complete. We decided to make the trip fun by turning it into an epic Road Trip with plans to stop in New Orleans, San Antonio, and Austin. 

First stop, New Orleans, Louisiana!

I visited NOLA once before in college, but it's always held a special place in my heart since a really good friend of mine I met on my German study abroad is from there. Plus it's got beauty, good food, and history, which is all I really need to fall for a city.

We arrived at night, tired and stiff was our drive across 4 states. After checking into our B&B, we headed down to Bourbon Street to sample Chargrilled Oysters at Acme Oyster House.

I'm not usually an oyster fan, but these definitely changed my opinion. SO GOOD. Acme is pretty touristy, but they do oysters right. The rest of our meal was nothing to write home about, so if I go back I'd just get the oysters and skip everything else.

After our dinner, we did an obligatory walk down Bourbon Street. Even on a Monday night it was rockin'! It was interesting to see it, but Bourbon Street isn't really my scene...I don't really like seedy strip clubs and people throwing up and bros picking fights with each other.

The next morning we took advantage of a French Market Early Bird Parking special (in by 10 and out by 7 for $10) and headed down to see all NOLA had to offer.

As a port city, New Orleans is a cool mix of cultures. Though it may look similar to places like Savannah or Charleston, it's a lot different-the accents, the food, the history...I always find something else to like when I'm in New Orleans.

French cultural influence can be found everywhere, from the food to the street names and even the churches, like the St. Louis Cathedral, named for the King of France.

For all my fellow history lovers out there, you'll notice the giant statue of Andrew Jackson, who won the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812, catapulting him to National Hero status during his day.

(It didn't seem to matter that the war was already over by the time he won the battle...minor detail)

The inside of the cathedral is stunning! Definitely not something we're used to seeing on this side of the pond.

More New Orleans to come!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Study Abroad Reunion in Washington D.C.

A few weeks before our move to Texas, my German study abroad friends started planning a reunion in D.C. The stars aligned and before I knew it, all of my best friends from Marburg were all chiming in that they would be attending the reunion.

Fionn noticed me wallowing in self pity on the couch and asked what was wrong. When I replied that my Marburg friends were planning a reunion for the same weekend the movers were arriving to pack our stuff and that round trip flights from Atlanta to DC were cruelly cheap right now, he said the words that make him worthy of Husband of the Year 2014:

"Buy the tickets. I can handle the movers by myself. Go see your friends!!"

So that's how I found myself throwing clothes in a backpack and dodging moving boxes and burly moving men while calling as I ran out the door, "I love you! See you Sunday!"

Did I mention we were leaving for Texas Monday morning?

I love my Fionn. He's a sweetheart with just the right amount of crazy.

It was a perfect weekend. The kind of weekend that makes you realize how thankful you are to have friends like this, the kind of weekend where everyone is out of breath from laughing so hard and squealing with excitement and joy at the sight of a friend you haven't seen in years. It was a weekend filled with catching up, laughing about old times, talking about how much had changed and then exclaiming, "You're exactly the same!"

I love these crazy kids. 

Besides just catching up with old friends, the trip to DC really strengthened me for our impending move to Texas. As upset as I was about the move, being around good friends and having such a great weekend gave me the strength to tackle Monday morning. 

After my whirlwind perfect weekend, I returned home to my awesome husband (who had cleaned the whole apartment, military white glove style) and got ready to go west.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Goodbye to Georgia, German style

Our last week in Georgia was pretty crazy. Fionn graduated from his course, we said goodbye to friends as they left for exciting places like Hawaii, another friend had a baby, and we had to prepare for movers.

Somewhere in there we found time for an Oktoberfest party with a bunch of friends from Germany. It just so happened that a big group of us had all come to the same base in Georgia, so it was a good excuse to bust out the dirndls and lederhosen!

It was a fun party, but also sad saying goodbye to friends. At least the German beer helped dull the pain of goodbye a little.

And with that last hurrah, we got ready for the movers and the start of our roadtrip to Texas...