Southern Road Trip Part 2 – Savannah

After my 2 days in New Orleans, I drove up the Gulf Coast to Florida, on my way to Savannah. I stayed in a small beach town, Port St. Joe, which was really sweet. Here are the pictures I took on my 7 hour drive, which lasted that long due to touris traffic by the beach. 😦

First stop, the biggest rocking chair in the world, and yes, it’s big:


The USS Alabama, near Mobile, Alabama:


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While crossnig into Florida, I stopped to pay homage to Trayvon Martin, though you can’t really read that Florida sign in the background:


At the end of the day, a massive thunderstorm, with amazing lightning:

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The crooked lighthouse:


And really, bears?


And now, Savannah, Georgia. A lovely town, walkable everywhere with lovely people, parks, food and blues!

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Southern Road Trip Part 1 – New Orleans

1,918 miles, 4 hotels, all in 6 days – not too shabby.

First stop, Nola, or New Orleans. First time there, I had a full schedule planned, which went downhill in the first few hours due to my cellphone crashing and me not having a GPS. I didn’t get to go into the Plantations, but got to see them from the outside. Well, something to do for the next time I get back there. I will get to see these Plantations! 🙂 How beautiful are they?! (though pictures are not the best as they were drive-by shootings, so to speak)

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Just in time I made it to the air-boat swamp tour. It was fun, but it’s a thing I can mark off my ‘to-do’ list as all in all, it was a bit boring. Yes, we drove out into the swamps and saw a gator, but that was about it. Our guide had a small gator in the cooler on the boat, which we got to hold, but that was basically it. He knew a lot about the land and swamps and the animals, so that was great, but as said, once is enough.

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After a 6:30am flight, 9am arrival, hours of Plantation driving and the swamp tour, I finally made it into downtown Nola, to my very beautiful and wonderful Bed & Breakfast, Melrose Mansion. I’ll get more into details about this hotel in a separate post, but here’s the outside. I highly recommend staying there!


After freshening up a bit, I hit the town. A quick 5min walk to Burbon Street and the rest of the French Quarter, which is quite amazing.

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And of courses I had to stop by the famous Napoleon House, as that’s where Napoleon was offered refuge from St. Elba’s in 1921. So what IF Napoleon would have taken that offer??? No worries, I’m already trying to come up with a film idea here!

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The day was finished with a Hurricane and an amazing burger at Port of Call. More on that in the food post.

The next day started at 10am already with a tour of the St. Louis Cemetery #1…yes, there are 2 more St. Louis Cemeteries, hence, make sure you take the Ernie’s tour of #1! Ernie was a fountain of information with humor and probably some good ole Souther lies in his stories (which he says he doesn’t mind telling). Despite the 103F heat, it was a great time.



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This grave is to be thought as the 3rd most visited grave in the US, after Elvis and JFK.  DSC_0207a_small

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This will be Nicolas Cage’s tomb- yup, idiot bought this already! 😉DSC_0210a_small

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I then went on to lunch, and went to Cochon, recommended by my friend Sarah, which was a bit out of the way, but as a tourist, didn’t mind that at all and it was well worth it. More info on the separate post about food a bit later.

Off to the French Market for some yummy desert – bignets…sooo good. Then, a client/friend picked me up and drove me around Nola and gave me his personal tour of the city. So sweet and lovely of him to do so – thanks so much again, Larry! I continued the evening at the o-so-famous Pat O’Brien, and its Hurricane – wow – and then on to Frenchman Street for some good ole Southern Blues.

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That’s it. The two days in Nola flew by and cannot wait to go back to explore more of its surroundings, and explore much more of its food and drink, as it was just wonderful. Thanks y’all.

Beautiful sculptures in New Jersey. Yes, New Jersey! :)

Grounds of Sculptures is insanely beautiful. In Hamilton, NJ, my friend Job took me there a few weeks ago and despite the heat, it was gorgeous! The park/grounds were immaculate, though some of the scultpures could have been a bit cleaner.

The life size sculptures were eerie and amazing at the same time. Throughout, there are modern sculptures as well. I cannot recommend this enough. What a place!

Right when you get there, you’re greeted by these statues…though you do have to look around a bit. They’re so strikingly real, the kids on the roof did make me look twice!DSC_0771_small DSC_0772_small DSC_0774_small DSC_0777

Mist machines/water are strategically placed throughout the park, giving it an awesome vibe!


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These guys are actually real. 😉


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Yes, some nudity will be seen, but it’s tastefully done, so I’m sure many prude Americans will gauk a bit.


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This is Mr. Johnson himself, the founder of the spectacular grounds, pulling a Hitchcock.



One of my favorites…you walk along and hear someone sing along to Carly Simon…could it be? Someone showering?

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Always have to get a flower shot or two in there!

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Two of my favorite shots.



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The next few shots are all based on a painting (almost all sculpture set-up are), and the first picture is a shot of the painting (in sculpture) so you can see what it’s based on.


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Yes, this is a photograph!!!


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The realness of these sculptures and their scenery is just phenominal.

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The close-up is on the upper right hand side. So real!








These are actual people walking!:)








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And after a great dinner, just before my train home arrived, some quick fireworks to end a most wonderful day! Thanks Job!


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Lisbon, Portugal – April/May ’13

Two years ago, one of the conferences within my industry took me to Spain. This year, it took me to Lisbon, Portugal. Even though it’s a place in Europe, it was never on our radar when I grew up. Doesn’t help that us Germans don’t like the Portugese due to its soccer team. 🙂

I got there on a Sunday morning at 6am and on the drive to the hotel, the amounts of graffitti stood out like crazy. Everywhere. Quite sad. One saw the initial European beauty, but one also saw poverty.

The first day, I got to venture out for about an hour, then, the conference started with a cocktail gathering and then dinner. The next 3 days, it was sitting inside a conference center, and was only able to see/experience the city at night and through its restaurants. Then Thursday, it was off to Berlin to see my family.

Luckily, I had decided to come back to Lisbon 8 days later for 2 more nights. I had a whole difference experience. Instead of rude and horrible cab drivers like before, I had the nicest cab drivers, one even played tour-guide…in Portuguese, which was quite entertaining. The hotel was much better, the weather nicer, the people spoke English most of the part.

The food is great, and all is relatively cheap for Europe. Don’t think I’d ever go back. I can say I crossed it off my visit-list though, and happy I went. Enjoy.

The Rossio Plaza


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Next up was the area called Bellem. It was like the European San Francisco – hilly roads and even a bridge that looks like the Golden Gate Bridge! 🙂 First up was a former Monastery, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which was just rediculously beautiful.

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Across the street is this weird, yet mesmerizing statue, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, which you can go up on and take in the view. There’s a castle which was built for the sailors as well.


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I then walked around for a few hours. I saw one of the most famous bakeries in town, the Botanical Garden (inclusive white faun!) and massive steep streets, churches and the popular street-cars of Lisbon.

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After a few hours of walking in 80F sunshine, guess what, more walking. I went over to Praca do Comercio and from there walked, yes, walked up to Castelo de São Jorge, which had to rebuilt after 1755 major Earthquake which flattened most of downtown Lisbon.

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Lisbon, Portugal – Food/Restaurants

The food is wonderful. And cheap! 🙂 The freshest seafood, the juiciest stakes, and ham, oh the ham! I was lucky enough to stumble upon a local street-fair, where they had local ham makers. Oh so good!

Near Bellem, right under the “Golden Gate” Bridge, is a whole pier by the water with tons of restaurants. They’re fun, crowded and yummy. But remember, you’re in Europe, time is different there, so don’t think you’ll get quick service. Just sit, enjoy, chill, and take a few hours for lunch or dinner. It’s ok, no worries, no hurries.

5 Oceanos Lisboa

Restaurante Don Pomodoro –

Bica Do Sapato – Great restaurant literally right by the water. The current is so strong, you felt as if you were on a boat. Food and service was great! Client paid, so can’t comment on price.

Cinco Lounge – what a funky bar. Two sides surrounded by windows, all covered up though, so you’re in a completely dark space. The drinks are INSANE. Funky mojitos, funky juices, all served in cans or ice sculptures. Service was awesome and the atmosphere great. Client paid, so can’t comment on price.

Kais Restaurante – – insanely huge place. Gothic of some sort. Right by the water again. Food was great. We had a massive buffet as we were a few hundret people. Staff was friendly. If they have regular dining hours, try it out, why not.

A Travessa – wow, just wow. Thanks to my friend, Scott, who recommended I go there. Pricey, not just for Lisbon, but anywhere, but so freakin’ worth it. Totally hidden in the streets of Lisbon, a BEAUTIFUL restaurant venue and atmosphere.

You sit down and get served 7 appitizers, aka tappas, right away. From scrambled eggs, to an oyster, to green peppers (which I can’t/couldn’t eat), to spinach, meat and fish, and god-knows-what. Awesome. Then, the menu. I could not decide…EVERYTHING sounded too good, but I went with the fois-gras, which was superb.


Lisbon, Portugal – Hotels

For the conference, we stayed at Hotel Vila Galé Ópera ( – right by the water and the bridge that looks like the Golden Gate Bridge. The hotel is right by the area of Bellem, which has the Monestary, the famous bakery, and the streets of San Francisco, but a bit remote from downtown Lisbon. Also, it’s by a pier of restaurants. The price was reasonable, however, I would not recommend it.

Since it’s right by that massive bridge, it’s noisy. The beds are hard, but the rooms are relatively clean and modern. Though one has to get the safe’s lock for a fee as well as the internet. The staff was very unfriendly and very unhelpful, while speaking little English.

After my trip to Berlin, my friend Denise recommended that I’d stay at Hotel Tiara Park Atlantic Lisboa (, which was great and MUCH better than the previous one. Modern, up-to-date, ie “Western”/American, with everything you need (hair-dryer, safe, internet, TV, thick mattresses, pillows, and down-comforters. The staff spoke English, and was even surprised when I asked them to make a restaurant reservation for me at a very local restaurant, that only really locals know about.

It’s much more local, but up a little hill, so if you had a bit to drink…well. 🙂 You’ll end up taking a cab home anyways, so it’s fine.


Duke Farms – Part 1

A day after a little snow storm, a friend and I went to Duke Farms in New Jersey. 50F and sunny. Great day to take a walk on this beautiful, massive estate and see some amazing orchids. Will have to go back in the spring/summer again for sure…hence this being part 1.


She’s my favorite. Strong, ‘don’t-mess-with-me-attitude”

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Steamboat, CO (Restaurants)

The Food was GREAT!

First night we went out (a group of 15) was off to a beaten path sushi place. Normally, not something to ‘venture’ out to when in the middle of the country too far away from any ocean, but this one is so beyond worth it!

SPOSTAS WORLD SUSHI & SALADS is owned by Christian, who treated us like royalty. We all had beers, some had sake (me), and masses of sushi…especially the Christian roll!

Here’s our group:


The next day while it was snowing, we wanted a quick lunch in our gear, right at the bottom of the ski-slope at TRUFFLE PIG. While my food, the chicken pot pie, the pizza and the salads were all great, the staff was slow and the burgers beyond undercooked. After a 2nd round of burgers was ordered, which came out almost even more raw, we received a free lunch. The burgers were inexcusable, but to give us the entire bill for free, was pretty cool. We still left a nice tip.

That evening it was the girls that went out alone. And despite our timing being a bit off – EVERYONE was going to dinner at the same time as the fireworks ended, we ended up in one of the best Italian food places in the entire town.

Cozy, open atmosphere, with a cool vibe and buzz inside it. MAMBO ITALIANO had amazing pasta…and we had 4 different dishes, and great wine! You will sleep really well after a dish from there!

On our last morning, our friend Jenifer recommended WINONA’S RESTAURANT. Wow. What a fantastic breakfast place and bakery! It kept us full until dinner! Really wonderful.

All in all, foodies, small-town Steamboat is the place to go!