10.08.2016 - 10.08.2016
I had to check out of Aloft Hotel this morning as I'm moving to the hotel to meet my travelling group later this afternoon. Thankfully I could leave my bags at aloft while I went out for the day.
As a replacement trip today I booked myself on a walking tout of St Louis #1 Cemetery which is one of the oldest cemeteries in New Orleans. On the way to the meeting point I called for an egg and cheese sandwich and a coffee - I always forget you have to ask for milk in coffee. The cafe was a 24 hour greasy spoon painted pink - it was alright but was definitely a bit greasy.
The cemetery was just a five minute walk out of the main town centre, it was warm but very cloudy and overcast. Our guide Andrew was very good - the tour was a free walking tour which is free but then you give the guide a tip at the end depending on what you thought of the trip and how much you can afford. It was quickly apparent that Andrew loves cemeteries and stories of the dead. The cemetery wasn't huge but there are lots of people buried there, the tombs are mostly above ground, bodies are put in the coffins for a minimum of a year and a day and after this what ever is left is gathered together and put right at the bottom of the tomb and the top part is left ready for the next dead person to come along. Apparently there were a few famous people here but they I'd never heard of any of me apart from Marie Lavoue, the voodoo priestess, at her tomb people had left little gifts like hair bobbles, nail varnish and shells. The other really fabulous tomb was for a mafia family and was very impressive.
I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering round the city, I walked through Louis Armstrong park, dipped my feet in the Mississippi and went for a walk round the French market, called in New Orleans mint (which was pretty rubbish) and up Frenchman street which is where looks like it doesn't come to life until late evening,
I was heading to a place I fancied visiting for lunch when I saw a lady looking at a painting on a wall, it looked like Banksy graffiti so I stopped to take a photo of it and got talking to the woman, it turns out if was a Banksy. I got talking to the lady and showed her a picture of another Banksy I had taken in Bristol, she was super impressed - ha ha! She was in New Orleans from LA filming a TV film for an American TV channel. She made a suggestion of so,we here for lunch but I told her I'd already set my heart on a place - Dreamy Weenies - a hot dog shop that sells vegan hotdogs! We said goodbye and I headed off to the hotdog place - it turns out I'd walked right past it earlier, it was right opposite Louis Armstrong park. It was a really nice cafe overlooking the park and the staff were ever so friendly. I had a andallouie (Cajun spicy) vegan hot dog with mustard and ketchup and some waffle fries - very delicious!
I headed back to the hotel via Hard Rock Cafe to pick up the obligatory shot glass and fridge magnet and thought it'd be rude not to stop and have a drink - I had two and a nice chat with the barman who loves camping, was jealous of my trip and showed me some photos from his last camping trip.
As I walked back to the hotel it started raining, by he time I was there and had picked up my stuff the heavens had opened and it was pounding it down. The hotel tried getting me a taxi bit there were none around, the new hotel was only eight minutes walk away so I set off walking, I'm not sure I've seen a downpour like it and I was like a Drowned rat by the time I'd got to my next hotel and grumpy cos the Hard Rock Cafe bag hadn't faired well in the rain, the bottom had got wet, dropped out along with he shot glasses - smash!!
The new hotel, Hotel 504, was alright but not as nice as my last one - I imagine it uses to be back in it's heyday, they were doing some work on it but it was tired and dated. I quickly found my room, unpacked some of the stuff that was wet from my suitcase and headed down to meet my new travelling buddies. It turns out three of us were joining a group that had been travelling from New York.
After our welcome meeting me, Lisanne (from Holland), and Claire (from Inverness) headed out for tea, I wasn't really that hungry but thought it's be nice to get to know them, we went to a seafood restaurant and I had Cajun vegetarian stew with rice and garlic mash and a couple of wines, I'm glad I went with them because I wouldn't have tried this place and probably wouldn't have managed to eat a regional dish, it wasn't my favourite food so far but was very nice.
We were back in the hotel and I was in bed by 9pm, we've got an early start tomorrow - we're meeting in the hotel foyer to leave New Orleans at 6.40am.
Steps: 19,276 / 7.9 miles