What a difference a day makes.
The weather today was lovely and sunny—if still a bit chilly in the shade—and I ventured out!
First I checked out of the Airbnb, and pedaled north a couple miles to the home of tonight’s host, a friend of a friend who once biked across the USA herself, as part of a 25-person Habitat for Humanity ride in 1997. I parked my trailer and took a shower, and then headed out for the day.
First I visited the botanical gardens, at New Orleans City Park, just a short ride away. I met up there with my new friend Arne (hi Arne, if you’re reading this!) whom I met at the Houston train station. We started talking at the station, and ended up chatting the entire 12 hours on the train, in the lounge car. He is visiting the US from Germany, and this was the first time in New Orleans for both of us.
I wanted to see the Japanese garden, of course, and it was a sweet little space, although small as Japanese gardens go. (In a small-world twist, I learned that this Japanese garden was designed and built by Robin Tanner, a friend of a friend of my host here!)
We strolled around the rest of the garden as well, including a cool model train area that contained replicas of actual New Orleans buildings.
Then we made our way to the French Quarter by streetcar! (Immediately the Doobie Brothers’ Black Water began playing in my head: “Just take that streetcar that’s going uptown…”)
We walked along Bourbon Street, and found a place that served po’boys. I got a vegan cauliflower one: delicious!
The photos don’t convey how incredibly long, crowded, and loud the street was. I was glad I got to experience the magic of the Quarter. (Again with the pop songs: this time Steely Dan’s Pearl of the Quarter.) It was a bit overstimulating, though! We spent nearly an hour trying to find just the right place to enjoy a daiquiri, and eventually ran out of time and said our goodbyes. Arne has one more day here, then two in New York City, and then is heading back to Germany.
I cycled back to my hosts’ place, where she made me an “authentic” daiquiri, after all! And then we ordered takeout from a Vietnamese place, which we ate with her son and partner.
This has been a lightning-fast experience of New Orleans, and extremely varied! I’ll not soon forget this part of my journey. Perhaps another time I can return, and spend more time exploring.
But tomorrow: long train to Atlanta! (I may or may not get out a blog post tomorrow night; the train is scheduled to arrive at 11 pm.)
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