We’d decided on our way down the Pacific Coast that we would avoid flying into Florida for a few days, and extend our stay in New Orleans for two extra nights, making our total time in the city four nights. In the end, the decision would have been taken out of our hands anyway, as Miami airport had not reached full working capacity by the time we were supposed to fly in, and our original flight went on to be cancelled.
The upside to this was that we could explore New Orleans at a more leisurely pace, which considering we had been rushing around from place to place, was actually well needed. However, we’re approaching our third night in New Orleans, and have so far watched some live jazz, explored the City Park, eaten two fantastic meals (and one not so fantastic), checked into two different hotels, walked around the Garden District, had a drink at a revolving bar and squeezed in a gym session….so maybe not all that relaxing!!
Highlights so far have been visiting the expansive New Orleans City Park, which is a 20 minute street car ride away from the tourist-centred French Quarter, which is probably what makes it such a peaceful and relaxing space. It features the New Orleans Modern Art museum, which was unfortunately closed on the day we visited, but we did get to walk around the Sculpture Garden before Gareth managed to find and run around both of the athletics tracks within the city park’s boundaries.
This afternoon featured a further two highlights, when we walked around the picturesque Garden District after a meal where the service blew our minds a little! The Garden District is an out of town neighbourhood where houses were built on land where a Plantation originally stood. Built by Americans with ‘new’ money in the 1840s, the mansions look like they’re straight out of film sets, with manicured gardens to match.
And the restaurant I talked about? Lunch at the Commander’s Palace (apparently a New Orleans ‘institution’) where we were greeted by three people at reception, walked through the open kitchen, were then greeted by a further 12 waiters, with four people waiting on our table alone! After almost every sip of water, our glass was topped up (and the full glass replaced halfway through the meal!), and fortunately the quality of the meal matched up to the attentiveness of the wait staff.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get in touch with either our hotel in Miami or Key West, and we have had to change our plans even more – meaning we’ll head north from Miami airport and arrive in Orlando a day early, if our flight can even get into Miami. Watch this space!