A wonderful end to my bike tour adventure!
To recap from my last post, I hitched a ride with the Keels (the subject of my next post) to Del Rio. There I picked up an Amtrak to New Orleans.
[Why does Amtrak have to be such a pain in the ass to use? I was on the train 21.5 hrs for what is schedule as a 17 hr ride. However, since I rode Amtrak back in 2019 to D.C., a real nightmare, the dining car is now only for the wealthy–i.e. those that buy sleeper car tickets. Us peasants in coach have to go to the Cafe car, a sorry and expensive excuse in itself: terrible food, very limited choices, many of which are out. I bought a cup of coffee for $2.50 and went back and had some of my energy bars from my bicycle ride stores. Lucky I had those. Essentially it was 21.5 hrs without eating. This was while my metabolism was still raging from all the bicycle riding. I lost 10 lbs between the riding and starving.]
Finally after arriving in New Orleans at midnight, I had a wonderful (and pricey ) hotel in the French Quarter, the St Pierre. From there I could have walked down a little further into the French Quarter (like across the street and down a block) for something to eat. However, the desk attendant at the hotel said it wasn’t really safe to go alone this late. Well, alone was all I had. I went to bed after another delicious, nutritious energy bar. Sigh.
I had one day in New Orleans, Saturday. Sunday morning I was to catch another Amtrak back home to Greenville, SC. I was determined to make the best of it. This was a once in a lifetime experience and opportunity for me. First on my list that morning was Cafe du Monde for beignets and chicory coffee.
They had a rocki’ street band playing: Cafe du Monde cajun jazz ban
Cajun jazz! It is hard to dance, eat beignets and drink coffee all at the same time, but people around me were doing it. I wanted to, but was content to sit and pat my foot and hands in rhythm at my table. The place was packed. It was great!
Okay, one thing off my bucket list for New Orleans. The band set the mood for the rest of the day–I didn’t really understand that until about 30 minutes later. Next was a little sightseeing around the Cafe. Beyond that I had no agenda, just a list in my head of things I wanted to do: the Cafe du Monde, pictures and walking along the Mississippi, visiting the St Louis Cathedral, eating Cajun and seafood, cigar and scotch at a cigar bar, hanging out on Bourbon Street for a few hours, were all on my bucket list. The hookers were a bonus.
My family and I had been here back in the mid-1990’s. Our children were still small. I was in a wedding of one of my graduate students at Clemson that was held in the St. Louis Cathedral, here shown in the background across Jackson Square.
We had had beignets and coffee (Mom and Dad) and the kids milk or juice. Afterwards we had walked along the jetty along the Mississippi for a while. That was what I was doing now. Reliving those moments so long ago. Looking the other direction was the mighty Mississippi River:
I had forgotten a water bottle back at the hotel, and so stopped by a street vendor to purchase a bottle. This is when and where the rest of my day fell into place, one I could not have planned better.