Join me as I chronicle my travels with blog notes and photos. I'm hoping you're going to be in some of these photos!
My Travel Philosophy
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
Monday, January 16, 2012
It's the Destination...Finally!
Above ground tombs in New Orleans cemetery
New Orleans cemetery
It really must be Holiday in Europe as there was a whole group of young people (from some Scandinavian country) at breakfast on Saturday morning. We did a little research and headed into New Orleans. Nice thing about New Orleans: it's a town that thrives at night so the streets were reasonably cleared in the morning and we were able to get into downtown and drive around the French Quarter with no difficulty. Because we wanted to hit Southern Candymakers and it didn't open until 10 a.m., sightseeing seemed like a good idea. After going around the French Quarter and admiring all of the wrought iron and architecture, we headed out to the Garden District to admire the big, beautiful homes. Lafayette Cemetery is located across from Commander's Palace (former house of ill-repute, now a world-class restaurant), and easy to park and visit. So we took a short stroll into the cemetery to look at the "city of the dead". It was a gorgeous morning and there were others in there taking pictures, as well.
One of the beautiful homes in the Garden District
The homes in the Garden District are as beautiful and stately as ever and we both really wanted to knock on a door and ask for a tour, but better sense prevailed so we just admired them from the outside. All along the streetcar line, the cars were running and the lines (as well as the trees lining St. Charles Avenue) on both sides were dripping with Mardi Gras beads. We stopped at a McDonald's in the area to grab a soda and Mom got some beads of her own!
Cedar Key, Florida
Heading out of town (after getting our candy, of course) we headed out of town along Lake Pontchartrain and along the Gulf coast on our way to the panhandle of Florida. The drive entailed going along causeways and over bridges that provided really beautiful views of the area. We had originally planned to go to Apalachicola, driving along the north shore of the Gulf the whole way. However, in taking another look at the plan, it made more sense to head farther along our route and save the 3 hours that detour would have taken. As a result, we got as far as Perry, FL -- a very long drive. We checked into an EconoLodge along with the Harley group and slept as well as the horrible beds would allow -- heading out first thing Sunday morning.
We went to Cedar Key and were surprised by a couple of things: the water level is extremely low (not sure how the fishing boats even go in and out), and the pier is now enclosed with steep pipe railings. There are other, small changes: the Captain's Table has a new name, and Cedar Key Canvas has moved out of downtown into a larger building as you come into town. Otherwise, it looked much the same.
Eagle's nest on pole
We were amazed by the number of large birds flying -- I thought they were hawks, but then decided that they were golden eagles. They're everywhere! [Note: when we got to the rental unit, Dean pointed out a next on top of a telephone pole with an eagle in the nest and a smaller one farther along the line.]
Mistletoe in tree
Back to the trip, I love the look of the live mistletoe growing up in the tree tops where you can see it before the trees get their leaves. I was enjoying seeing the clumps and would really like to be able to grab some of it, but it's generally too high in the tree. Also, the beautiful Spanish Moss is silver and literally dripping out of the trees.
Spanish moss in a Live Oak tree
By late afternoon, we finally arrived in Lakeland at the rental. Dean had already opened everything up and aired it out, and the refrigerator was already full of food! The computer had to be fired up to get the wireless working and, apparently, the phone also runs off the computer line. The only thing that wouldn't work was the TV -- the cable must have been off. We were so tired we just headed to bed. This morning, the cable is working fine so maybe it had been temporarily suspended.
Visiting with Dean and Carol this morning (Monday) before Carol heads off to work; later Dean, Mom, and I are headed over to Clearwater to visit Aunt Jan