10 Year Trip-Part 3

>> Monday, November 22, 2010

After boarding the ship we were quite awestruck by the size of such a vessel so we took some time to explore a little before having lunch. The view below was the main Lido deck where most of the action took place during the week. Parties, games, contests, movies, etc. There was almost always something happening here.

We never did venture down the water slide. We tried out the hot tub which was nice but while the ship was moving it was breezy enough that you didn't really get hot enough to need to cool off in the pool or slide. Several people did of course, but we were content to just lay in the sun and enjoy the sea breeze.

After lunch our room was ready so we took a few minutes to check it out before the ship disembarked. Tight quarters, but we had a window that looked out onto the balcony at the very front of the ship so that was nice. We didn't really spend a lot of time in our room because of all the entertainment they had on the ship.

The view of the New Orleans skyline from the ship as we sailed off.

We thought we were going to be able to watch the coastline disappear into the distance the first night but were surprised to discover that we had about a six hour journey down the Mississippi before even reaching the Gulf. Needless to say, we only watched the sun set and then headed in for dinner.

This little guy awaited us when we headed to bed later that night!


10 Year Trip-Part 2

>> Friday, November 19, 2010

Monday morning we walked down towards the French Market. The streets along the way were so pretty with lots of gorgeous balconies and stately buildings. We overheard a tour guide say that apartments in the French Quarter run about $1200/mo. and have a 5-7 year waiting period.

We walked past Jackson Square on the way, a park dedicated to General Andrew Jackson, the commander of the American forces at the Battle of New Orleans. Beautiful lush vegetation in the middle of a "tight quarters" area.

We stopped for beignets (french doughnuts) and chicory coffee at the insanely popular Cafe DuMonde. Apparently chicory is a root added to coffee as a substitute. It is a long standing New Orleans tradition which developed when the port (the second largest importer of coffee in the 1840's) was blockaded off during the Civil War. It tasted fabulous to me and the beignets were the perfect complement!

After breakfast we walked up the levy and took a gander at the Mississippi on the Moonwalk, a scenic boardwalk named after the mayor who created it. Below is a view of Jackson Square and the Saint Louis Cathedral in the background.

The Saint Louis Cathedral is the oldest continually operating Cathedral in the United States and it. was. Beautiful. So much of the culture in New Orleans centers around beauty, the arts, I've never seen so many talented musicians and artists on the street. There is a sense of awe and appreciation that makes one just swell with joy that talent and giftedness like that even exists.

After walking down the Moonwalk we stopped into the French Market, a giant open air market with everything from fresh produce to a flea market.

Unfortunately, many of the vendors weren't yet open but there was booth after booth of people setting up for the day like this one. I can't imagine the well-oiled machine it must take to set this up day in and day out.

We stopped by the Casino on our way to the Boat for a burger from Fudrucker's and headed to the River Walk to get to our ship. The River Walk had a great Mardi Gras party feel to it as evidenced by this statue and tour boat.

Next stop: Carnival Triumph!


10 Year Trip-Part 1

>> Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A friend of mine suggested a while back that I blog about some of the trips we've taken and places we've been. We are hardly world travelers or anything but we do try to be intentional about getting away together. We made a goal when we got married that we would try to visit all fifty states together during the course of our marriage. (And as long as we're dreaming I'd love to visit 50 other countries as well!) Our belief is that traveling together creates a bond whether the travel is good or full of mishaps (as long as you can have a sense of humor about it).

Our belief was backed by some recent research as read about on CNN.com:
"Psychological research suggests that, in the long run, experiences make people happier than possessions.

The study looked at 154 people enrolled at San Francisco State University, with an average age of about 25. Participants answered questions about a recent purchase -- either material or experiential -- they personally made in the last three months with the intention of making themselves happy.

While most people were generally happy with the purchase regardless of what it was, those who wrote about experiences tended to show a higher satisfaction at the time and after the experience had passed.

A sense of relatedness to others -- getting closer to friends and family -- may be one of the reasons why experiences generate more happiness."

So, last week we celebrated our 10 year Anniversary by taking a Cruise through the Gulf of Mexico. It was our first cruise, my first time being in Mexico and we had a fabulous time.

We cruised out of New Orleans so we drove down the day before to be able to experience life in the French Quarter.

Bourbon Street at night was certainly scary interesting and something I can say I did and won't plan to do again.

We did love this sign, though, for one of the shops along the strip. One of W's "baby" terms for "yesterday" was "yesteryear" up until about a year ago. This sight just brought back a little fond nostalgia and we thought we'd capture it to validate W's originality.

We found a classic New Orleans Jazz performer and sat to listen while sharing our first New Orleans fare: Classic Royal Croissant Sandwich from Cafe Beignet. Steamboat Willie set the tone for a great week ahead and after a long day of driving we headed back to the hotel before our big bon voyage the next day!


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