Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Orleans and Cajun Country

Well getting to New Orleans took a little longer than expected, but it was well worth the wait!   We left last Sunday from Boyan’s parents’ house in Cape Coral Florida.  We drove all the way to Northern Florida to Tallahassee. It’s the capitol of Floriday, but boy is it small and boring!  Fifteen miles south however is the Wakulla State Park.  Our Lonely Planet recommended that we stop for a visit and it was worth the stop. A beautiful park where we took a river boat tour.  We got to see manatees, alligators, turtles and all sorts of birds.  Best $8 spent so far! Wakulla is the world’s deepest freshwater spring so the water is crystal clear.  Really beautiful. 

It was off to New Orleans after that.  On the way there, we got a flight tire on the middle of the highway!  There was a popping sound and then a lot of rattling.  We immediately knew what it was L  We pulled over to the side of the road.  Of course the flat was on the side where the cars and trucks were passing and not only that, but it was the inner tire so we had to remove two tires!  The sun was starting to go down so we didn’t want to change the tire there.  We decided to continue driving slowly to the next exit since we still had one good tire.  We found a little town (Bonifay) and a used tire shop that was closing in 15 minutes.  They agreed to help us out. We got a semi used tire installed for $45! 

We were quite relieved.  At least I was!  Boyan doesn’t get too stressed with these sorts of things since he’s on the road all the time and flat tires are all too common for him.  So we ended up sleeping in Bonifay instead of New Orleans.  With the RV, we can basically stop in any commercial parking lot and stay the night.  Stores don’t seem to mind.  Normally we stay in Walmarts, but this time it was a little fast food joint.

The next day we took off for N.O..  We arrived late afternoon and found our home in the Walmart near N.O., in a little suburb called Chalmette.  We unhooked the car and started driving.  Chalmette was completely destroyed in Katrina so everything there was nice and brand new.  The town between Chalmette and N.O. however was not so nice!  A real hood.  Many houses abandoned and those that are still occupied are not kept up.  You can tell people just don’t have the money for upkeep.  Let’s just say that I wouldn’t have wanted to have a flat tire there!

But we arrived safely and New Orleans is everything they say it is!  Would have been nice to been there during Mardi Gras, but there were already decorations starting to go up so we got a little taste of it.  We toured the French Quarter for our first day.  Beautiful architecture and charming, colorful streets.  

We walked around until our feet were aching.  Sophie was a trooper and stayed in her stroller quiet and happy.  She was thrilled with everything there was to admire.  She even partied on Bourbon Street with best of them!! 

We would have loved to stay the evening and have a nice dinner, but one, we were pooped from our day and two, Sophie isn’t allowed in many of the establishments (underage)!  They are really strict about that, as if we would give her a drink!  So back to Walmart we went!

The next day, we visited the Garden District where beautiful mansions line the streets.  We just put Sophie in the Stroller and went on admiring each house.  It’s like the Westmount of New Orleans!  

In the afternoon, we visited some sugar cane and cotton plantations along the Mississippi River!  Wow!  We saw this one plantation that the entrance was line with 200-year-old oak trees.  Simply majestic!

Beautiful homes on large lands where you can feel the history seeping through.  Took a tour that explained the life of the owners and their slaves.  Found out that in today’s money, a slave was worth on average $25,000. Older and sick ones were worth less.  Skilled workers could go up to $75,000.

Yesterday morning we left for the Cajun country.  Lonely Planet said it was a must see in all of the States.  Well, we’re still wondering why.  This is where there’s supposed to be the highest French –speaking population in all the U.S (Acadians that fled Nova Scotia).  We haven’t found a single person that spoke French!  Way overrated of a place.  The towns are puny and really, but really boring.  I think it’s better in the spring or summer when all the festivals are happening.  We did eat some crawfish (écrevisse) and catfish which were very good.  At night we went to a Cajun restaurant for more Cajun  food, music and dancing. We were the only visitors, the only French-speaking (except for the band singer) and the only ones under 55 years old!  Again a lot of hype over nothing.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some! 
On the road again on our way to Houston, Texas!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bah - aaaaaaah - mas!!!

Des vacances pendant des vacances!  Faut le faire!  Ahhhh mais que c’était bon!  Splendide les Bahamas.  Si proche des États-Unis, mais avec un rythme et un style propre à aux îles. 
On est parti lundi pour Miami.  Il pleuvait en masse, mais on s’est promené dans le Art Deco District quand même.  Il n’y avait pas les filles en petit bikini et patins à roulettes comme on voit à la télé, mais sinon le style art déco était très présent.  Des builldings avec une belle architecture au bord de la plage. 

On peut s’imaginer la vie qui y régnait dans le temps.  On s’est donc promener un petit peu sous la pluie puis on est allé prendre notre bateau pour notre croisière de 4 nuits dans les Bahamas.

Première destination était Freeport.  On a passé la journée à la plage.  Pas d’excursion de possible avec Sophie malheureusement.  Ce n’est pas grave, on la met dans un back-pack à bébé et on la promène comme on veut.  Elle finit toujours pas s’endormir de toute manière.  Ce qu’elle a fait en marchant sur la plage.
Pas la meilleure place pour elle pour faire ses siestes par contre.  C’est ce qu’on a découvert car en soirée, c’était comme si on avait kidnappé notre Sophie et on l’a remplacée par un petit diable! Elle ne tenait plus, chialait, ne voulait pas manger, ne voulait pas dormir, … bref pas un cadeau.  On a eu droit à trois jours comme ça!

Notre petit diable adoré!

Le lendemain le bateau s’est arrêté à Nassau.  Atlantis….WOW!!! 

 Atlantis se trouve sur Paradise Island.  Un complexe hôtelier avec tout pour plaire et amuser.  Des plages à couper le souffle, un casino, un parc aquatique, un aquarium, des piscines,….  un petit paradis. 

On a réussi à se faufiler quand un garde ne regardait pas pour rentrer dans les lieux.  Normalement il faut payer pour avoir accès. Un autre couple québécois a payé 120$ pour avoir accès toute la journée.  Ils avaient un lunch d’inclus, mais bon ça ne valait pas 120$!! Nous on a emmené de la bouffe du bateau donc on était bien content!  On n’a pas pu faire le parc aquatique (l’autre couple non plus), mais tout le reste était à nous à découvrir.  Je prendrais bien quelques jours dans ce resort.  Peut-être une lune de miel future!  C’est formidable.   Nassau est une belle petite ville.  On n’a pas eu le temps de voir trop de choses.  Sophie commençait à faire des siennes encore une fois!  Il faisait tellement chaud cette journée là que la pauvre n’en pouvait plus dans son back-pack.  Elle s’est quand même baignée dans la piscine du Atlantis!

Troisième journée, le bateau s’est arrêté à Great Stirrup Cay.  Une île qui appartient à Norwegian Cruise Line.  Donc une île privée.  Tout le bateau se retrouve sur la plage.  On a eu une super belle journée à relaxer et vraiment rien faire.  Boyan s’est baigné avec Sophie, on a joué, on a mangé et Sophie a fait une sieste (youpi!).  Tout le monde était de bonne humeur et la température était idéale. 

Retour au bateau pour notre dernier souper. En passant, on n’a pas arrêté de manger pendant ces trois jours.  Même Sophie a pris du poids je crois!

Pas de lit à faire, pas de bouffe à cuisiner, pas de ménage à faire, du soleil, la mer, …. des vacances pendant les vacances!  Maintenant, retour au Winnibago!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Florida Keys or Conch Republic, as they call it

We're on our way back from a few days in the Keys.  A little peace of paradise.   A string of islands all conncected by a single highway.
 On either side, gorgeous aqua water, wild birds and wild vegetation growing freely.  Oh and let's not forget all the tacky gift shops!  The Keys is one huge beach town.  Very laid back.

We spent our first night in Key Largo.  Can't help but sing the Beach Boys song when you say Key Largo!  Didn't really do anything.  More of a pit stop before heading down to Key West.  Had a quiet evening in our RV.  Headed the next morning to Key West, the last Key at the tip of the US.  The Old part of town is party city.  Everyone is drinking in the streets.  Music is blaring from all the different bars on Duval Street (main street).

We look a little odd with our baby stroller! Not that many young people on the islands.  But we don't care.  Sophie seems to enjoy herself!


Walked around for a few hours taking in the scene.  Had a delicious piece of key lime pie!  Boy was that ever good!  In the evening we went to this little shack called Bo's Fish Wagon.  Had fried grouper and shrimps!  Yummmy! MOre walking on Duval street and off to bed. Oh we finally found out what a Conch is (pronounced conk). It's those big seashells, you know the ones you can hear the ocean when you put your ear to them.

The next day we drove  back towards mainland and stopped in the MIddle Keys at Bahia Honda State Park. A gorgeous park completely protected from development.

The water is pristine however.  So many birds all over.  We spent the day walking up and down the beach enjoying the scenery and relaxing.  Sophie enjoyed it until she just passed out on Daddy's back.

Back at Key Largo for dinner and bed.  In the morning we went to do a glass bottom boat ride to see the coral reef.  Very nice ride in beautiful sunshine.

I think people were more interested in Sophie than the fish and coral!  There was an entire group of girls going crazy over her! She charmed the crowds as usual, until she started crying cause she was tired.  Then we got those ''no body likes a crying baby'' looks! Back in the backpack she went and off to sleep she went!  So nice to travel with such a good kid!

We walked a little bit around and now we're heading back to Boyan's parents for a day .  We leave on Monday for a four-day cruise in the Bahamas!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Les exploits de Sophie

On dit que voyager fait grandir.  Eh bien c'est le cas de Sophie.  En une semaine et demi, elle a réalisé tout plein de choses! 

Elle s'est mise debout dans son lit toute seule.

Elle a compris qu'il fallait soulever son gobelet plus haut pour l'eau puisse descendre.

Elle claque sa langue pour faire des petits bruits.  En fait, elle imite plusieurs sons qu'on fait.
Elle tape des mains quand on dit ''tape, tape'', quand on chante une chanson ou quand on dit ''Bravo!''!

Bref, elle ne cesse d'épater ses parents.  C'est certain qu'un voyage avec un enfant ce n'est pas pareil.  Il y a bien des choses qu'on aimerait faire, mais ce ne sont pas nécessairement des activités ou des endroits appropriés pour elle.  On s'accommode tout de même.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Well we made it to Florida after a long drive from Washington.  On our way we stopped overnight in Savannah Georgia.  Didn't see anything, just slept there.  We did go to Jekyll Island in Georgia.  That's where a bunch of millionnaires back in the late 1800 hung out.  Big country club and summertime cottages are now open to the public to see.  Pretty cool.

We arrived at Boyan's parents' house in Cape Coral, Florida on Friday night.  It was nice to settle down for a bit. We did some work on the RV.  Minnie Winnie got a facelift!  She looks like a 20 year old, but you can tell her bones are 70!! 

Spent today and yesterday at the beach.  Not too hot, but warm enough to catch some rays.  Sophie got to see the ocean for the first time and she was quite taken by it.  We got her some sunglasses for the occasion.  Little Miss Cool wears them as if she had them her whole life.

We're packin' up tomorrow for the Florida Keys. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Washington D.C. done!

Sylvia: Well two days in Washington  were really nice.  We arrived late Monday night.  Got all cozy in our RV in a grocery store parking lot.  Slept pretty well.  Sophie, not as well as home, but she was a trooper.  The next day we headed off into the city and discovered what the Unites States of America are all about.  The grandeur of this city is breathtaking.  Nowhere else have I seen such large buildings made entirely of marble with all the fixin's.  They really took pride in building this capital of theirs.   We started with a visit of the Holocaust museum, where they give you an identity booklet as if you were a Jew at that time and each page tells the story of the person you're supposed to be.  At the end of your visit, you find out if you survived or not.  I didn't, but Boyan did.

Then we visited the Capitol. Beautiful building where Congress meets.  Took most of the afternoon to visit it all.  At the end, we were too tired to go see anything else.  headed back to our RV and ha dour first meal!
The night went well until the heating stopped working.  IT's about 0 degrees celsius outside so no time to loose heating!  The battery was dead.  Thank God for the generator!  It was close to morning so we started our day early.  Today we went to see the Washington Monument (the Obelisk).  We went all the way up the 555ft to get a gorgeous view of the city.  I'm sure we spotted Obama.  Everyone looked like ants from up there, it was hard to tell!!

Then we went to see the Lincoln Memorial, you know the huge statue of Abraham Lincoln, the one where he sits on a chair and overlooks everything.  Very impressive.  You never think it could be that big until you see it with your own eyes.  Walked around the White House.  Forget about getting anywhere remotely close to it.  In the afternoon we went to the Natural History Museum.  Saw dinosaurs, stuffed wild animals and beautiful gems and stones.  All pooped out, the three of us headed back home.  Now it's supper time.  Tortelinni alfredo it is!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tomorrow we leave

Sylvia:   The RV is packed and ready to hit the road!  Hard to think of every little thing we could possibly need for the next three months, but I think we have everything covered.  Looking forward to starting our big trip.   We're heading to Washington as a first stop and then making our way down to Florida.  We'll keep you posted as we discover this funny country called the United States of America!

Now, I'm going to try to relax a little before leaving!