21.06.2015 - 22.06.2015
After a six-month hiatus from travel (in order to save up for my next round of adventures), the first 48 hours of my recent trip was a complete whirlwind experience. Running on only two hours sleep, I caught the 4:30 a.m. airport shuttle to make my 7:30 a.m. flight. Upon my arrival in New Orleans, I dropped off my bags at my hotel and then immediately started exploring my surroundings. Exhausted yet completely exhilarated, I could not think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to do what I love, which usually includes something mysterious, something delicious and lots of wandering:
Historic Voodoo Museum
First of all, what is voodoo? There are different kinds and differing interpretations, and it is not what gets portrayed by Hollywood. The Historic Voodoo Museum displays informative and fascinating details about the origins, practices, beliefs and leading figures of the often misunderstood religion. I knew virtually nothing before I entered the door, but the museum staff is very friendly and the atmosphere is such that curious visitors are welcome to look around at their own pace.
Dinner on Bourbon Street and Live Jazz at Musical Legends Park
Okay, there are plenty of bars and lots of partying on Bourbon Street, but I also can recommend a couple of great places for delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere. Red Fish Grill is a little pricy, but the BBQ shrimp and grits is absolutely divine (the best thing I ate in New Orleans, to be specific). Close by, the Musical Legends Park often features live jazz music, and you can grab a bite to eat right there at Cafe Beignet (which has all kinds of good food on its menu, including the crawfish omelet and, of course, the beignets).
Shopping at and beyond the French Market
In New Orleans, Royal Street and Magazine Street have some good shops, but I also recommend checking out the French Market, which is part farmer's market and part hand crafted goods, along with some touristy souvenirs. After passing through, even if you don't buy anything or stay long, walk around the close by Decatur Street and Chartres Street, both of which have some neat, quirky clothing stores and antique shops. I also particularly enjoyed walking along Pirate's Alley and stumbling upon Faulkner House Books (which, yes, is the former residence of famed author William Faulkner) where the floor-to-ceiling books are beautiful...and oh-so-tempting to purchase!
All in all, it was a great start to my trip, including another great experience of having birthday beignets and cafe au lait at the famous Cafe Du Monde. So, how do I feel about my milestone birthday? On June 21, 2013, I was 27 years old and working & staying in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. Only two years later on June 22, 2015, I was visiting New Orleans on the exact date of my 30th birthday. How in the world did my late twenties fly by so quickly? It is not a bad thing - I just feel like it snuck up on me…oh wait a minute, probably because I have been traveling so much during the past few years. That's the life of a travel junkie, I guess.
But here's the thing: I already have done quite a bit of traveling, but I still have more to see and do, which is exciting. Not only do I need to write more in this blog about the rest of my recent solo adventure in New Orleans, I also have some other awesome travel plans in the works for later this summer, and of course, in the coming months and years to come!