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Music Baby… | New Orleans

September 21, 2013

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IMG_3194Nachdem wir bei den Nachbarn als reisewütig abgestempelt wurden, haben wir einer Empfehlung nach der anderen bekommen. Da wir in unsere Zeit hier den Norden und Westen ganz gut abgedeckt haben, sollte unser “Grand Finale” in den Süden und mittleren Westen gehen. Angefangen in New Orleans. Ich mag die Hitze nicht und gepaart mit Feuchtigkeit – oh mein Gott – ich kann es nicht ausstehen. Nichtsdestotrotz haben wir nur gutes über NOLA (New Orleans) gehört und haben wir immer ein Plätzchen über AirBnB reserviert und uns für eine Wochenende gen Süden gemacht. Schon im Anflug hat man gemerkt, dass das kein wetterfreundliches Wochenende wird – Gewitter und Regen und zwischendurch auch mal Sonnenschein. Oh la la, die Taxifahrt war eine Herausforderung – für 33$ – hat man eine aufregende Fahrt (auch wenn gross geschrieben steht man solle nur in ein sicheres Taxi einsteigen, frage ich mich bis heute was die Definition von Sicherheit ist).

Shiro’s ist ein wundervoller Ort einige Blocks vom French Quarter entfernt. Perfekt um seine Ruhe zu haben und wenn man will kann man innerhalb von 5 min mittendrin sein. French Quarter ist die Haupt-Touristen Attraktion und Bourbon Street vergleichbar mit der Hamburger Reeperbahn. Nichts für mich und ich irgendwie stösst es mir auch auf wenn ich Leute am Vormittag schon mit diesen Plastikkübeln durch die Strassen wandern sehen. Ach ja, an eins muss man sich dort gewöhnen: der permanente süssliche Geruch von Müll gepaart mit Alkohol / ekelhaft!!!! Aber anscheind schien das niemand zu stören.

Innerhalb von 2 Tagen haben wir zu fuss French Quarter, Marigny und Treme abgedeckt. Am letzten haben wir für 3h ein Rad bei “A Bicycle named Desire” gemietet und sind durch den City Park bis zum Ufer des Lake Pontchartrain geradelt. Schön war es mit der leichten Briese entland Esplanade Ave mit den vielen schönen Häusern und einem Friedhof (normlerweise ist das nicht mein Augenmerk), den ich in der Art noch nie zuvor gesehen habe.

Wo für ist New Orleans bekannt:

Musik, in diversen Clubs entlang Frenchmen Street oder die vielen Strassenmusiker unterschiedlichster Stielrichtung und Qualität. Besonders haben es uns die beiden Mädels Tanya & Dorise angetan. Die beiden scheinen schon seit einiger Zeit Musik zusammen zu machen auf der einen Seite ist es schade, dass sie bis dato noch nicht gross rausgekommen sind auf der anderen Seite ist es auch schön, dass die beiden ihren individuellen Stil beibehalten haben.

Essen, es gibt alles von Bauchschmerz Fast Food über “naja geht so” bis hin zu feinster Küche. Auf Empfehlung einer Nachbarin sind wir am Freitag abend im “Couchon” eingekehrt. Französisch angehauchte Küche, sehr lecker. Man sollte nur wissen, dass die Boudin, so wie man sie aus Frankreich kennt in NOLA anders aussieht aber doch den gleichen Geschmack hat. Am Samstag hatten wir Frühstück bei “New Orleans Cake Cafe & Bakery“. Ein busy Ort aber super lecker & crazy ladies, sodass wir am Sonntag zum Lunch nochmal zurückgekommen sind. Ach ja und dann gibt es ja noch den “Kampf” zwischen Acme Oyster House und Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar. Die Schlange bei Acme war unglaublich aber auf Empfehlung von Einheimischen sind wir zu Felix und ja, wir wurden nicht enttäuscht. Hat sowas von Fast Food Restaurant aber die Austern sind super und auch die frittierten (jaja fast alles ist frittiert) Taschenkrebse und Tintenfisch und Gumbo (Suppe mit Allem) sind der Hit!

Die Konklusion des Wochenendes: solange man fernab der Touristenfallen bleibt, den süsslichen Geruch erträgt, bereit ist die schwüle Luft zu ertragen und den ein oder anderen Weg zu Fuss macht am Ende eine Taxifahrt mit Ms Carol von United Cabs macht, ist New Orleans echt eine Reise wert.

Yes, at some point our neighbors noticed that we are crazy travelers and are keen to see as many places as possible while in the US. Of course we got lots of recommendations for places to discover and while we had already seen many place in the north, east and west the south and southwest remained untouched. As our time in the US came to an end we decided that the grand finale should be with a trip to the south, southwest and topped with a wedding in Silverthorne, CO. So our trip started in New Orleans. I am not a big fan of warm weather or humidity, so you can imagine what a challenge the NOLA weather became…Already in our decent to NOLA we noticed that it’s going to be an interesting time – thunder, rain and sunshine in between.  The ride with the taxi is 33$ including increased heartbeat (OMG I still wonder what the definition of safety and technically well functioning car is). As usual we booked a place at AirBnB, this time at Shiros; a lovely place in walking distance to the French quarter and far way to hide from the tourists and activities. French Quarter is the main tourist attraction and the famous Bourbon Street reminds me of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn, the only difference is that people in NOLA already drink early in the morning, walk around with their fancy plastic glasses and it smells of a mix of garbage and alcohol all the time // disgusting but people didn’t seem to be bothered.

Within two days we walked French Quarter, Treme and Marigny. On Sunday we rented a bike for three hours and biked up and through the city park to the shore of lake Pontchartrain. It was nice to enjoy a slight breeze and also to see the nice villas along Esplanade Ave. Usually this does not catch my attention but the cemetery close to the park was stunning.

But what is New Orleans known for:

Music, a number of clubs along Frenchmen Street but also a great variety of music styles and levels of street musicians. The two ladies, Tanya and Dorise, were awesome. On YouTube I found a number of videos, so they seem to be around since a while and in a way it’s a pitty that they did not become professional musicians but on the other hand in the way they do it they are able to keep their personal style.

Food, oh boy – of course you have everything from stomach pain creating fast food, to typical tourist crap and fine cuisine. A neighbor of ours recommended “Couchon” and we were lucky to get a table on a Friday evening. French influenced cuisine but very local and very delicious. One only should know that a boudin (French blood sausage) looks different but the taste is similar to what I know from France. On Saturday morning we had breakfast at “New Orleans Cake Cafe & Bakery“, a very busy place with great local dishes. We liked it so much that we came back on Sunday for lunch. Away from the tourist area this place is very unique and only open till 3pm. Oh yes and then there is this constant fight among Acme Oyster House and Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar. Both places are known for seafood and I don’t know why but the queue at Acme was much longer. However, based on recommendation by locals we decided for Felix and yes, we were not disappointed. The oysters were great, when you sit at the bar you may be served your oysters right away but please do not expect them to be served on a plate. The gumbo (local traditional dish) but also the fried softshell crabs and calamaris were very yummy. Of course one has to keep in mind that most of the dishes are fried.

The conclusion of the trip: as long as one walk in non-touristy areas, is willing to walk a lot, can stand the sweet smell of garbage, can stand the humidity and does a taxi ride with Ms Carol from United Cabs New Orleans is a great destination to explore.

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Cowgirl wannabe…

September 17, 2013

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IMG_6232Zu beschäftigt mit dem Studium ist die Zeit des Bloggens viel zu kurz gekommen, aber jetzt bin ich wieder voll dabei – schliesslich gibt es eine Menge zu berichten!!! Ihr erinnert Euch noch? Neulichst waren wir in Dallas, TX. Auch wenn ich die meiste Zeit im Hotel verbracht habe und mit den Aufgaben für mein Studium beschäftigt war, hab ich es dennoch auf die Southfork Ranch geschafft und wie es sich gehört, hab ich auch ein paar ordentliche Cowboy Boots erstanden. Meine Recherche ergab, dass Cavender’s Boot City “the place to go” ist. Also sind wir dorthin und mein Ziel war es innerhalb einer Stunde ein paar Boots zu finden, natürlich Made in USA – war gar nicht so einfach war – was fuer ein Mekka!!!

Too busy with my studies I haven’t had time for blogging but now I am back – there is a lot to share!!! You still remember? We have been in Dallas, TX a while a go and although I had to spend most of my time in the hotel keeping up with my assignments (I can tell four courses at once – that keeps you busy…) but we made it to the Southfork Ranch. What do people, mostly Europeans, think when they think of Texas? Cowboys, Ranches, Meat etc… So before moving back to Europe of course I wanted to get a proper pair of cowboy boots! The conclusion of my research was that Cavander’s Boot City seems to be the place to go to. So off we were and spent some time to explore this fantastic place – I loved the smell of leather and my ultimate goal was to find a pair of boots within an hour – not so easy I can tell – and of course the boots should be made in the US (ok ok El Paso is close to the Mexican border but still they were made in the US).

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Do you remember this quote: Being married to J.R. is like a Hitchcock movie…

August 2, 2013

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…You start out laughing but soon find yourself screaming in terror.

Who did not hang on the lips of Sue Ellen and J.R. in the 80s? Especially when you grew up in East Germany the series Dallas was a small window which one considered as the free world.

So once we had the chance to go to Dallas, TX – what do “boring” tourists do? Of course, they do a trip to the Southfork Ranch to enter the world of J.R. Ewing, Sue Ellen & Co. From Dallas city center about 30min – for Europeans like us impressive to see the flat landscape and the “oversized houses & yards” but ok, they have enough space so why shouldn’t they use it the way they do. 

Once arrived at the Southfork Ranch the first think one notice – ok it has become a tourist place with visitor and huge event center and they sell lots of , sorry but, things one doesn’t really need. However we paid the 13 dollar for the tour – loaded in a trailer for a usually five minute walk. I thought this is hilarious but ok. The tour guide was a young woman, very entertaining and she did a great job in explaining the whole story why the series ended up in Dallas area and was not mainly filmed in Hollywood. There is a little secret to it but I won’t tell otherwise people will see the series from a different perspective (once you know it you do and thus I won’t tell).

The house is smaller than one would think but still it was fun to see and especially on our way back to feel the melting asphalt…

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Location Location Location

July 19, 2013

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IMG_5294Kennebunkport, ME is a cute little coastal town in Maine. Lots of tourists throughout the year and I always wonder how people living there all year round manage the constant stream of tourists. I couldn’t cope with it having people walking almost through my yard and wonder about how beautiful everything is. So I also understand when some people become grumpy when people walk over one’s property.

However, we walked along the beach and for dinner we stopped by a place we have been before. THE RAMP. Next to the Pier 77 restaurant and run by the same owner this place is just worth a detour when touring through Maine. The interior is not extra ordinary and one is little biased as one expects typical pub food but what one experiences is just the opposite! 

We had to wait a little bit but also this waiting time outside with a drink was just great – well care taking service, nice music and sunset include. What more do you need?

I again had the mussles in chorizo tomato sauce – YUMMMY! but the seafood stew and scallops are also highly recommendable.

I don’t want to do too much advertising for this place (I am not paid for it..hehe) – I just want to share great experience we had. If you don’t want to wait, make a reservation but also the waiting time is worth it.

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Vermont – the place my hubby likes

July 18, 2013

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IMG_5219My mom and a friend came to visit. Of course it was nice to have your mom around you for 3 weeks and the house is cleaned, the laundry done and most importantly my hubby is happy as his shirts were ironed in time.

One weekend we thought to go to places we like and what comes first in mind? Vermont! As it reminds my hubby of Norway – the landscape, the green, the trees – it provides him a “home feeling”.

So we stopped by at our favorite restaurant in Waterbury: Hen of the Wood – the MUST place to go, when in Vermont and when one wants to enjoy a REALLY good meal. But prior to our evening treat we did a factory tour at nearby Ben & Jerry’s. My mom liked it but with the nice dinner ahead of us we decided to share a small cone. Still, the definition of small is something I have to get used to…

The next day we drove to Burlington and did a boat trip at lake Champlain. Perfect conditions and the boat season had just started. On our way back we stopped in Middlebury, drove these little roads where one starts to wonder whether this is an official road but we made it home with nice memories in mind.

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