06.05.2013 - 06.05.2013
We have now been in the US for the best part of a month have made it coast to coast! We arrived in Miami for a brief stop to pick up Rob's mum Sandra on 1st May and got our first glimpse of the Atlantic.
After the last update we were heading to New Orleans, which as expected was lots of fun. We stayed in the lower ninth ward which was heavily destroyed by katrina, but is now mostly rebuilt. Our guesthouse was really nice but a lot of the area is still poorer than most parts of the city, and wasn't somewhere to hang about at night.
Bourbon Street in the French Quarter is the famous area for night life and is properly crazy; strip clubs, shot bars, loads of live music, street performers and neon lights everywhere. A good laugh; but we saw some sights! Frenchman street is where the locals hang out and after dinner on Bourbon, we spent our first night there in the Spotted Cat Music Club getting acquainted with Jazz.
The next morning we walked into the French Quarter through the Bywater and Merigny areas which were not as beautiful as the Quarter but way cooler; all really ornate houses in multi colours with ramshackle bars on the corners and old cars lining the streets. Big thanks to the guys at Wish.co.uk for treating us to dinner at Muriel's on our second night, the goats cheese and crayfish crepes were epic!
After New Orleans we had four nights spare until we needed to get to Orlando. We therefore picked two random beach towns based on them having decent accommodation in budget through airbnb. The drive from New Orleans through Mississippi, Alabama and North Florida was beautiful, and for the most part we opted for the slower roads right along the beaches. The first stop was Pensacola just in the Florida border and it was stunning. Off the mainland is a long spit of sand that you can drive down with white sand beach on either side of you, and we spent most of our time there.
Our second stop was Carrabelle, a total hick town further along the 'forgotten coast'. We arrived for the last day of their annual riverside festival and got to see some Nashville country singers that the whole town was very excited about, not that we could really understand a word they said! We spent another day on the beach where we were told by new mate Dwayne that we could happily drink and not be bothered by the police
From there it was to Orlando and Universal Island of Adventures/ Studios! The new Harry Potter bit was awesome with a complete mock up of Hogwarts and with stores selling butterbeer and wands. We got suitably soaked on the rapids, and it was like going back in time at the Studios with men in black, the mummy, terminator and jurassic park rides!
From Orlando we had the brief stop in Miami to collect Sandra, and then we drove across to Naples where we have been thoroughly spoilt. A beautiful suite with pool awaited, as well as wine, cocktails and a lot of seafood! After four nights it was back across to Miami to collect Jess and then we headed down to the Keys which is where we are now, stopping for a night in Duck Key before three nights in Key West.
We will upload more pics on FB soon.
Weather: a few storms (we had a tornado in New Orleans!) but mainly still good
Food: no burgers or BBQ recently, amazing seafood though
Beaches: stunning; definitely the whitest sand we've seen all trip
Tan: I have one again - Yeay!!
Locals: making friends with the hill Billy's
Budget: Apart from the $150 on cocktails last night (oops) we are still on track