Saturday, March 25, 2017

Living the Dream Travel- Slower to the Fun

Slower to the Fun 
Saturday, March 11, 2017

Happy 11th Anniversary to us! This was a day that began great and with us anxious to get to Bourbon Street and enjoy New Orleans on our special day and ended with us just wanting to get to our hotel. We knew the traveling would be slow but this was crazy. We hoped for Faster to the Fun but we ended with Slower to the Fun

We woke up, loaded the car and were out the door before our set time of 7AM. We grabbed a quick bite to eat for breakfast and then headed east. Within 15 miles a rock had hit our windshield. We joked then "oh I see how this trip is going to go" not knowing it was going to be bad.  

We made it to Beaumont and stopped at a our usual stop at Dunkin Donuts to change drivers and get some caffeine. Once we got back on the interstate we made great time until we got to Orange, TX and then the traffic got bad and only got worse. There were back ups at Lake Charles, Lafayette and then we were delayed for an hour and 20 minutes to go less than 15 miles just to get into Baton Rouge. I have always "not cared" for that town but this traffic was just horrendous. 
This bridge was a sight for sore eyes... It took 1:20 just to go 15 miles. 

Once we got past "the new bridge" in Baton Rouge, we made another pit stop and changed drivers. We knew ahead of time that I-10 would be completly shut down and there would be a detour between Baton Rouge and New Orleans but we were not sure how long it would set us back. The detour itself was about 45 minutes and by this time we were starving and just frustrated over the whole thing. 

We stopped at Kenner, LA at Check-in Check-out for our usual pit-stop and "fill up". This is an old gas station turned Cajun restaurant that Chris's dad, Dan, found while working in and around New Orleans back in 1993. They have some of the best seafood, especially shrimp, po-boys we have EVER had. We try to ALWAYS stop here on our way to New Orleans. It doesn't look nice from the outside but you know what they say- "The bigger the hole in the wall diner it is, the better the food". This proves true with Check-in Check-out.

My mouth is watering just thinking about their po-boy! 

We got back on I-10 and drove another 45 minutes to southeast New Orleans to Harvey, LA where our hotel was located. We were so late getting there in fact, that the hotel manager called to be sure we were still coming. We found our hotel and checked in at nearly 5PM and we were both exhausted.

Our first look at Harvey Comfort Suites. 

We checked in, unloaded all of our stuff and found our room. It was very large, nice, clean and newly updated. We have cruised out of New Orleans 2 times prior to this and have never found a good (and REASONABLY priced) hotel for the night before... UNTIL NOW. This place blew us away. The room was newly updated and had TONS of space. The bathroom was one of the largest bathrooms I have ever stayed in that was not a suite. TIP-The Harvey Comfort Suites offered 1 night stay, parking for up to 7 days free of charge at their site and taxi transportation TO and FROM the cruise pier for only $179. This is an incredible deal as a Saturday night stay in downtown NOLA or near the French Quarter can be well over $300 and you still have to pay to park your cruise parking. Despite having to get back into NOLA/ French Quarter via taxi or Uber it is still worth it in our opinion. Be sure to ask for the Cruise and Park Package. 

The bathroom was HUGE! 

The first look of the room from the door. 

The sitting area which included a fridge and even a microwave. 

Apartment area you see as you look out the window. May not look "great" but could be worse! 

The king size bed and sleeping area. 

Another close up of the bathroom. 

Copelands- New Orleans was literally across the street.
In 2018 when we return for our sailing on the Norwegian Pearl we may just go over there for dinner and drinks! 

We wanted to go and celebrate our anniversary in the French Quarter so we tried to use Uber to get a ride but it was not working so we just called a cab. The cab arrived at 6:15PM and we were off to celebrate, or so we thought. Sure enough... more traffic. This area of Southeast New Orleans is called Manhattan and is a very nice area and has lots of restaurants and shopping so the traffic just to get back to the highway was crazy. Then the traffic down in the French Quarter was packed and our cab driver would just not shut up! Chris was so OVER IT and very cranky! 

We finally got to Cafe du Monde just past 7PM and we were already just over it all and wanted to get back to the hotel to rest as we were 2 very tired teachers. The line at Cafe du Monde was about 60 people deep but we were eating at a table around 7:30PM. We enjoyed our pre-dinner dessert and then walked to another favorite of ours Gumbo Shop. There was about a 45 minute wait but at this point we were starving and were worried lines would be just as bad anywhere else.

Not a great picture but the food was FANTASTIC! 

My favorite part of New Orleans... Cafe du Monde! 

Sugar OVERLOAD but I swear it is worth it! 

This restaurant is just off of Royal street and is AMAZING! 

Seafood Gumbo from the Sample Platter

When in Rome... 

Craw fish etoufee 

Warm brandy bread pudding! 

Happy 11th Anniverary honey! Here's to 11+ more years! 

Always gotta make a stop! 

Bourbon Street was CRAZY busy on this night! 

We enjoyed our anniversary dinner with excellent Cajun food and even better southern hospitality and service. TIP- This is a must stop for Cajun food lovers. It is reasonably priced and has fresh seafood options and even a "Sampler Platter" for less than $30. You can't beat that at Pappadeaux

We called for an Uber and survived our first ride (thanks Allison) and thanks to the app we were able to get that ride for less than $10. Tip- If you are new to Uber have a previous Uber user send you a welcome code and you 1st ride is FREE or $20 off! 

We were back to the hotel and finalizing cruise details around 10:30PM. This was time- change weekend so it was really 11:30PM as we "spring forward". We were exhausted and were out cold before midnight. 

This day did NOT go as planned but nothing would damper our excitement for our upcoming cruise. We enjoyed the hotel and our excellent Anniversary dinner but anxious for embarkation day! 

Thanks for following along! Be sure to check back for tomorrow's post! 

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