Image

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:

IMG_20130724_111014_754

The USS Alabama, near Mobile, Alabama:

DSC_0274a_small

DSC_0264a_small DSC_0266a_small DSC_0270a_small Had to take a pic of the pig:

DSC_0282a_small

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

IMG_20130724_161122_672

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

 DSC_0292_small DSC_0294_small

The crooked lighthouse:

DSC_0297a_small

And really, bears?

DSC_0298a_small

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

DSC_0302a_small DSC_0303a_small DSC_0306a_small DSC_0309a_small

Paparazzi shot:DSC_0313a_small DSC_0317a_small

DSC_0322a_small DSC_0323a_small

DSC_0324a_small

DSC_0328a_small

DSC_0330a_small

DSC_0332a_small

DSC_0339a_small DSC_0342a_smallDSC_0340a_small  DSC_0345a_small

DSC_0347a_small

DSC_0446a_small DSC_0447a_small DSC_0448a_small DSC_0456a_small

DSC_0455a_small  DSC_0454a_smallDSC_0458a_smallDSC_0460a_small DSC_0459a_small  DSC_0461a_small

 DSC_0467a_small

DSC_0468a_small DSC_0471a_small DSC_0472_small

DSC_0478_bw_small

DSC_0483a_small DSC_0485a_small DSC_0488a_small

Advertisements

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)

DSC_0075_smallDSC_0072_smallDSC_0068_small DSC_0079_smallDSC_0085_small

DSC_0081a_smallDSC_0080a_small

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.

DSC_0094a_small DSC_0116a_small

DSC_0124a_small DSC_0134a_small DSC_0143a_small DSC_0147_small DSC_0152a_small DSC_0153a_small

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!

DSC_0235a_small

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.

DSC_0162a_smallDSC_0179a_small DSC_0170a_small

DSC_0169a_smallDSC_0175a_small

 DSC_0173a_small DSC_0174a_smallDSC_0187a_small

DSC_0163_small DSC_0178a_small

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!

DSC_0180a_smallDSC_0185a_small (3) DSC_0184a_small  DSC_0186a_small

DSC_0224a_smallDSC_0225a_small DSC_0226a_small

DSC_0232a_small DSC_0234a_small

DSC_0188a_small DSC_0189a_small DSC_0190a_small DSC_0195_small DSC_0196a_small DSC_0200_small DSC_0201_small

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.

DSC_0222a_small

DSC_0223_small

DSC_0204a_small DSC_0206a_small

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

DSC_0208a_small DSC_0209a_small

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

DSC_0211a_smallDSC_0214a_small DSC_0217a_small (2) DSC_0221a_small

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.

DSC_0241a_small DSC_0247a_small

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!

DSC_0778_small

DSC_0782_small DSC_0783_small

These guys are actually real. 😉

DSC_0787_small

DSC_0788_small DSC_0792_small DSC_0795_small

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

DSC_0804_small

Red Statue_small

DSC_0798_small  DSC_0808_small DSC_0809_small

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

DSC_0810_small

DSC_0811_smallDSC_0812_small

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

DSC_0813_small DSC_0816_small

 DSC_0815_small

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

  DSC_0821_small DSC_0826_small

DSC_0820_smallDSC_0830_smallDSC_0835_smallDSC_0828_small

Two of my favorite shots.

  DSC_0833_small

DSC_0834_small

DSC_0836_small DSC_0838_small DSC_0839_small DSC_0840_small

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.

 DSC_0858_small

DSC_0848_small DSC_0850a_small

DSC_0854_smallDSC_0856_small

Yes, this is a photograph!!!

 DSC_0859_small

DSC_0861_small DSC_0862_small

DSC_0865_small DSC_0866_small

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

DSC_0852_small DSC_0869_small

DSC_0867_small

DSC_0870_small

DSC_0871_smallDSC_0872_smallDSC_0873_small

DSC_0875_smallDSC_0879_small

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

DSC_0881_small

DSC_0885_smallDSC_0886_small

DSC_0890_smallDSC_0902_small

DSC_0897_small

DSC_0898_smallDSC_0899_small

  DSC_0908_small

DSC_0911_small

These are actual people walking!:)

DSC_0912_small

 DSC_0917_small

DSC_0916_smallDSC_0921_smallDSC_0918_small

DSC_0923_smallDSC_0929_small

DSC_0934_small

DSC_0940_small

DSC_0942_small

DSC_0945_small DSC_0948_small

DSC_0949_small DSC_0950_small

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

 DSC_0964_smallDSC_0965_smallDSC_0968_small

DSC_0993_small DSC_0995_small

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

 DSC_0112DSC_0103

DSC_0113DSC_0106DSC_0105DSC_0107DSC_0109     DSC_0115 DSC_0116 DSC_0123 DSC_0121

DSC_0122

DSC_0443 DSC_0444 DSC_0445DSC_0135 DSC_0447 DSC_0448 DSC_0452DSC_0453  DSC_0455 DSC_0456 DSC_0457 DSC_0632  DSC_0119

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.

DSC_0466DSC_0467DSC_0496  DSC_0494 DSC_0491 DSC_0485DSC_0492  DSC_0490DSC_0474IMG-20130511-00018DSC_0473

DSC_0489

DSC_0487 DSC_0486DSC_0476DSC_0475DSC_0478  DSC_0484        Lisboa-20130511-00015DSC_0493DSC_0472 DSC_0471DSC_0481 DSC_0470 DSC_0469 DSC_0468

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.

DSC_0505DSC_0534DSC_0521DSC_0512DSC_0522DSC_0531

 DSC_0529DSC_0530  DSC_0526   DSC_0503

DSC_0500   DSC_0510

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.

DSC_0498 DSC_0497DSC_0592

DSC_0591

DSC_0590 DSC_0589 DSC_0588 DSC_0587 DSC_0586 DSC_0585 DSC_0584 DSC_0583 DSC_0582 DSC_0581 DSC_0580 DSC_0579 DSC_0578 DSC_0566DSC_0576 DSC_0575 DSC_0573 DSC_0572

DSC_0571 DSC_0570

DSC_0564 DSC_0546DSC_0563 DSC_0562 DSC_0561 DSC_0560 DSC_0558 DSC_0548DSC_0557 DSC_0550   DSC_0545 DSC_0544 DSC_0543 DSC_0542 DSC_0541

DSC_0540 DSC_0539 DSC_0538 DSC_0537  DSC_0535    DSC_0123 DSC_0122 DSC_0118_a

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.

  DSC_0629 DSC_0628 DSC_0627 DSC_0626 DSC_0625 DSC_0622IMG-20130511-00020 DSC_0621  DSC_0616 DSC_0615

DSC_0612 DSC_0618DSC_0611  DSC_0601DSC_0600

DSC_0607 DSC_0598 DSC_0597 DSC_0596 DSC_0595 DSC_0569   DSC_0565

DSC_0133 DSC_0132 DSC_0441_a

DSC_0459 DSC_0461

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 Lisboahttp://www.5oceanos.pt/

Restaurante Don Pomodoro – http://www.donpomodoro.com/

Bica Do Sapatohttp://www.bicadosapato.com/ – 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 Loungehttp://cincolounge.com/en – 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 – http://www.kais-k.com/ – 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 Travessahttp://www.atravessa.com/ – 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.

DSC_0633Lisboa-20130511-00023

Lisbon, Portugal – Hotels

For the conference, we stayed at Hotel Vila Galé Ópera (http://www.vilagale.pt) – 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 (http://www.tiara-hotels.com/), 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.

Image

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.

bridge

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

confidence headless missing nose pink pink2 pink_whitepink_yellow  pink3 white orchid yellow bucket

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:

858007_10151287281037759_1881480523_o_a

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!