Goodbye Houston, hello Heathrow.

Well, we have come to the end of our adventures – for now.

After leaving Nottoway at the crack of dawn we  drove for a LONG time to get to Houston. Stopping only for a patriotic croissant.

imageAlso we noted and became fascinated by the breakfast buffet

image image Mmmm fried chicken for breakfast. And what I *think* is gravy.

Arriving at our hotel we were treated to champagne in our room – a lovely way to celebrate the end of our honeymoon and a welcome change from our previous night’s experience.

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we had time to kill so went and shopped again  – Texas is BIG and Houston no exception. Also v v rich. Our hotel was like a beehive with rooms everywhere

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Dinner that night was a proper cowboy steak HUGEimage And an equally massive and delicious cobblerimage

It was a lovely way to end what has been an incredible trip. We are fatter for sure. And loved every. Single. Second. Even the crazy ones.

see you soon!!

love K&R

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Nightmares at Nottoway

It happened. It was bound to really after such an amazing trip and staying in such incredible places, it finally happened… we were disappointed.

Nottoway is the South’s largest remaining antebellum plantation mansion. Rich with history and retaining many original features, it was a picture perfect place and one we were excited to visit and to stay in. It was completed in 1859 for a family of sugar cane farmers and has withstood the civil war and many a hurricane. 

We will certainly concede one thing – it is mighty fine to look at. But that’s about it.

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Arriving in the blistering heat we were checked in to our rickety old room complete with rocking chairs out on the porch. We were staying in an original room which had belonged to one of the sons of the family – thankfully they’d replaced the bed being as the typical height of a man then was 5ft 5.

So far, so cute. 

After a spot of lunch at ‘le cafe’ (a room where a lady made sandwiches) we went on a tour of the main part of the house. It is gorgeous but although refurbished and plenty of ‘period pieces’ being brought in to refresh its decor, still cracked and crumbling. I didn’t mind that so much but Rusty got all patriotic and compared it unfavourably to much older stately homes in the UK.

The tour was interesting in so far as we learnt about the family who lived there but not one THING was mentioned about slavery. Our tour guide referred to the ‘staff’ as ‘servants’ and glossed over the history of the time completely. She also stood strategically in front of the lamps fashioned like young black boys. When asked, she said that ‘not much was known about how the servants were treated but it’s felt that they were treated well by the family for the time’

Riiiight.

After the tour we hid away in our room listening to the sounds of the train tooting its horn (I’ll come back to that particular noise again later) and sorting out our wares as we were beginning our final leg home the next day.

We had been advised to make reservations for dinner and dutifully did yet when we arrived we were one of only two couples there. Cozy. Atmosphere pumping with the sounds of the 80s Muzak coming through the speakers we decided to make the most of the view and the food. My chicken was burnt and it got dark  – that’s the most of it. Halfway through dinner a kitchen pump decided it would join in with creating atmosphere and went mental. It was like trying to have dinner on a construction site with a jackhammer backing up your conversation. We had to ask what the incessant noise was and were finally apologised to and told it was because they were replacing soda. Why at dinner? No idea.

Anyway, after that we regained the use of our ears (not useful – but I’ll get to that) and went to sit at the bar. Except we couldn’t. Because all the boys who worked there were taking up the seats and had no intention of letting us sit there. So we perched in a corner and knocked back some beer.

Retiring for the night to our room, we soon noticed an influx of bloody mozzies. But how did they get in? You cry.

Through the massive bloody gap between the door and the door frame – that’s how! I had to climb on a chair and stuff towels into it to stop us from being gnawed upon. Having done that I successfully stalked and killed the buggers that were left in the room. Fun times. And then we settled down for sleeping.

But not for long!

That’s right, you saw it coming, the bloody train went by every hour on the hour tooting it’s bloody horn and waking us up. Finally at 6am we could stand it no longer so we got up, got a shower (then noticed what appeared to be rat faeces in the bath) and got the hell out of dodge.

We can safely say there’s not a chance we’d go back to Nottaway.

 

Southern Sprouts

After the craziness of the night before we woke up to another steaming hot morning in New Orleans.

With a pretty open itinerary for the day we mooched south on Canal towards the Mississippi in search of sustenance. We decided to go to Mothers, a local institution in these parts.

Katherine, now a big fan of Po Boys, went for the Debris. A sandwich full of beef that has fallen in to the meat juices whilst originally part of a roasting joint. This now ranks as her top Po Boy.

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From there we mooched about some more and came across Bruno and Enzo, two Thai Ridgebacks. Very friendly fellows indeed.

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Later that day we did another walking tour and it was superb. Our fabulous guide Elizabeth, talked as through some of New Orleans history through drinking. What an amazing concept. We had a Saint Charles Punch, a Sazarac, a Hurricane and finally a Praline liquor. This is a must do for anyone visiting here.

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And speaking of must does. A trip north up Canal Street to the bar Chickie Wah Wah home of Blue Oak BBQ is essential. We acknowledge that NOLA is not known for BBQ, but these boys are the real deal. Everything was delicious, be it the ribs, the pulled pork or the beef brisket. Of course the wings were great and the mac n cheese but the real revelation was the BBQ sprouts. Who knew?

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Blue Oak BBQ we salute you and thank you for providing us with such a great finale to our time in the Big Easy!

love R&K X

Crazy New Orleans

Rising to the glorious sunshine we made our way to Washington Park for coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

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Accompanied – as you’d expect from this city – by a jazz band playing in the street. They were brilliant.

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We then met our crazy tour guide Tree for a 5 hour walking tour of NOLA learning about the fascinating history of the place and of voodoo in particular. We were entertained and enthralled as we learnt about some of the town’s colourful past and the history of slavery which was obviously entwined within the tales and stories and Tree was an excellent story teller. Weaving through the streets and learning about the houses and the lives of those who lived in them, drinking award winning cocktails

imageand wandering through voodoo museums, sharing melon and crackling and ending up in Louis 1 cemetery we had a great day. Our bones ached at the end but it was worth it.

Lunch was a po’boy and man it was good. French bread stuffed with goodness – beef for me and spicy shrimp for Russ. (I was also noted by the manager for my genius way of scoffing it without getting it everywhere and I like to think I might have changed Po’Boy history forever now)

After a nap (we needed it) we went for dinner at a tiny Italian and then out dancing in Bourbon street. First was to a traditional Jazz bar where we listened to some great tunes and admired some particularly fancy fingered piano playing.

imageAfter that our cultural experience went decidedly downhill – you basically buy your MASSIVE drinks anywhere you like in any bar you like and wander in and out of all the rest with your booze in hand.
I. Loved. It.

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Hand grenades (some sort of neon sweet tasting poison), Jell-O shots and dancing were on the menu. The bands in the different bars were all great so we joined in with some of our best moves, chatted with bouncers outside a Cabaret joint (code for strip club) and met New Orleans answer to my Aunty Pat who I promptly danced with as did Rusty.

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I think I like it here 🙂

love K & R x

NOLA here we come!

After a long day of travelling and some mild flight panic by Katherine we arrived in NOLA.
Holy Po-Boys it is HOT!!! we sweated our way down town and checked into our gorgeous hotel which is right in the middle of the french quarter and with a balcony which overlooks bourbon street.

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We have been upgraded to a massive room with the aforementioned balcony and after a quick turn around we were out to celebrate our third year together (awwwww!) and arrival in New Orleans.

Mr B’s bistro and some creative Cajun cuisine – a sampling of gumbo and exquisite soft shell crab

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Partying will have to wait for us as we were pretty exhausted from our journey cross country so we hung out watching the revellers and enjoying the atmosphere.

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Check out my husband in his pants! 🙂image

A voodoo tour for us tomorrow with some coffee and beignets to kick off the day – can’t wait!!

 

love K & R x

 

Hanging out in Half Moon Bay

Arriving in half moon bay we were struck by the quaintness of the fishing town and it’s bloody loud fog horn.
It’s amazing how that fades into the distance though once you’ve got the sun on your face and the sound of the sea lulling you to sleep of an afternoon.

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We went for a wander on our first day having been given a tip by a local at one of the wineries in Sonoma – Barbs fish trap the destination and we weren’t there for steak! It was another put your name down and wait situation – a sure fire sign that you’re into a good thing; when the locals are fighting you for an hour wait for a table! It was delicious, and the beginning of a two day love affair with clam chowder. (According to rusty nobody does it better than barb)
A beautiful hotel room and a sunbathe later and we walked a mile or so up the beach to the Miramar. What a view! Sat in front of the mavericks (something about waves, all very Kelly slater) and watching the
pelicans dive bomb for their food, it was a gorgeous evening and with yet more fish on the menu.

Rising relatively early the next morning we decided to sample the hotel breakfast in our room and then make our way along the beach for a speciality coffee. After a mile or so walk and a good few beach snaps,we made it to our destination.

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To find out it was closed. So we walked back. 2 miles, nearly 3 into town and we were ready for something stronger than coffee.

Half moon brewery and their awesome fish and crab rolls hit the spot

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and left us ready for the stroll back to the hotel and the lazing in the sunshine we just HAD to do. **note – I did not eat the sandwich in this way believe me, even my mouth isn’t that big!

Another meal, another scenic view, this time at Sam’s chowder house (Katherine’s fave chowder) and some great swordfish (and ok lobster) We also had to sit at the children’s bar which Katherine found very amusing.

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Early to bed for a big travel day tomorrow

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Sideways in Sonoma

Leaving San Francisco behind and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge image

we hit the trail to Sonoma. Sonoma being the furthest north outpost of the historical Californian Missions. In this spirit we decideded to take on our own mission, the Wine Trolley. 

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The Wine Trolley took us to four different wineries, Imagery, Benzinger, Chateau St Jean and VJB. 

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During the tour we learnt about varietals, bio dynamic farming and flight safety as we bonded with an airline safety officer from Texas. This was a particular highlight for Katherine.

In each winery we were able to taste their delicious product. All in all, we must have tasted over 25 different wines. The wine notes for each were extensive but from my perspective they all tasted like wine. Katherine has decided that the Californian Pinot Noir’s are for her and taste particularly jammy. 

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It was a great day and we learnt (and drank) a lot. The sun shone and it was beautiful countryside to be in.

Leaving Sonoma behind and all of its lovely wine the next day we hit the road to Half Moon Bay. A small fishing town with a very loud fog horn (we are definitely trying to take in as much of California as possible) fish on the menu for us and some rest before we get ready for the next stage of the trip and head on down to New Orleans.

love R&K x