Touring Southern Iceland

17 06 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

We arise early this morning in order to take a hike to “our” waterfall without any crowds.  The sun is out (of course it has been out all night…) and so far we are dry.

20170617_073034Hooks in the rooms where you hang all your wet gear – I fear this will be a trend.We strike out from Hotel Skogar for the 10 minute walk to the falls.

There is a really nice campsite at the base and quite a few tents are set up.  Janel and Isam are considering an Iceland camping trip so we are taking notes.  Looks like it could be fun, but I will take a warm, dry bed and a clean bathroom thank you very much.

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Skogafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland with a drop of 60 meters and a width of 25 meters.  There is a set of 527 steps straight up to reach the top.

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We check it out from down below and the start to make the ascent.

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Long way up – look how small the people on the ground look!

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Made it!

This is quite the morning workout and we are richly rewarded for our efforts especially to be up here alone.

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The hike continues farther beyond, but we don’t carry on too much farther (breakfast and the road are waiting). Oh – and it begins to pelt us with rain…

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This hike continues along the river – I don’t know how far you can go, but it looks amazing.

Breakfast back at Hotel Skogar is nice enough.  I even try the pickled Herring.  It is pretty good, but too sweet. We stock up for the day ahead.

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Packing up is quickly accomplished (even I have become good at not “exploding” my articles in a one-night hotel room) and we hit up my trusty iPhone for Google Maps.

BIG road trip today.  We don’t really have that many miles in total (225km or 140miles), but there is so much to see along our route.

Our end point for sightseeing is supposed to be Jokularson Glacier Lagoon, but there are several stops between here and there that are not to be missed.  The plan is to make all those “extra” stops on the way back so as not to deter us from our end game.  However, we quickly learn to go with the weather.  When the sun is shining you should take full advantage.

 

Hotel Skogar, Skógarfoss to Hótel Laki Efri, Kirkjubæjarklaustur - Google Maps-edited

 

The sun is definitely out this morning and things are looking pretty clear.  We make the wise decision to stop at Dyrholaey Lighthouse first. At Dyrholaey we might have an opportunity to see Puffins!  Evidently in the spring and summer Iceland is home to 60% of the world’s population of Atlantic Puffins.  (The following photo is not ours – I wish it were):

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Just the drive to the tip of the peninsula is stunning.

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We smartly grab our binocs and start Puffin hunting.  There are literally hundreds and hundreds of birds nesting all over.  The Arctic Terns are especially bold and swoop to “attack” when trying to protect their nests.  It is an awesome scene.

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Just when I am figuring that the Puffins aren’t out to play I spot one on a huge rock outcropping out in the sea.  No attempt is made to get a photo – they are too far away.  We can see 2 Puffins clearly through the binocs.  Yay!

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This is as close as I will get to a Puffin:

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I do some clowning around for Levi (my trainer in AZ).  YES – it is cold!

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We take more selfies than normal for us, but seriously – you can’t help it!

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Back on the road. At one point we see a pull-off and a little sign with some very strange rock formations.  Of couse, a stop is made.

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What the …?

Fortunately, there is a sign that explains the cool rock piles.

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Two more rocks added to the piles:

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As we motor on, the scenery becomes even more strange and beautiful.  We stop at an area with miles of moss-covered rocks.

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As the road continues there are huge cliffs rising from one side of the road and then we begin to see waterfall after waterfall.  Seriously.  Who knew?  I finally realize that we are on one side of the Vatnajokull Glacier – “Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Europe covering 8% of the island of Iceland. Vatnajökull National Park – which encompasses the earlier national parks of Skaftafell and Jökulsárgljúfur – is the largest protected area in Europe and believed by many to be the most beautiful place on earth.”

Here you can see it from space:

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I have been trying and trying to get a good photo of the beautiful Icelandic horses, but so far I have come up empty.  Hopefully there will be another opportunity. But the waterfalls are cool…

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When hunger strikes we are seriously in the middle of nowhere.  Finally a place that appears like it is a last resort crops up.  We have no choice. I can’t even describe how unassuming this little building/restaurant/store is.  I also can’t describe how delicious their Icelandic specialty  of Lamb Stew is!

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This is especially true when accompanied by two Vatnajokull (remember the name of the glacier?) beers! This brew is made with glacier ice and local thyme!!

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Little gem of a spot – off the tourist beat!

As we drive onward  we can definitely see snow-capped peaks and can also glimpse the huge glacier between the cliffs.  I am anticipating what we might see at the Jokularson Glacier Lagoon.  I have seen a few photos online and know that there may be some ice pieces strewn along the black sand beach.  There is a little concern that since it is technically summer, we won’t have much to see.  I hope we haven’t driven all the way out here for a dud.

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As we round one corner close to the lagoon, my heart literally stops. I can’t believe what we are seeing.

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 “Jökulsárlón literally “glacial river lagoon”) is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The lake has grown since then at varying rates because of melting of the glaciers. It is now 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) away from the ocean’s edge and covers an area of about 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi). It recently became the deepest lake in Iceland, at over 248 metres (814 ft), as glacial retreat extended its boundaries.] It is considered as one of the natural wonders of Iceland.”

This place takes your breath away. It is a photographer’s dream.  (There have been several movies filmed here –  A View to a Kill, Die Another Day, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Batman Begins, as well as the “reality TV” series Amazing Race.

We can’t stop clicking the camera and smiling.

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Look at the berg in the shape of a whale behind Rich!

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The berg in front center looks like a Puffin!

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We are really lucky to have hit up this spot when it is sunny and gorgeous!

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Enough pics?  Believe me, we shot tons and tons.  Finally it begins to rain again and the car sounds like a good shelter. This is what you look like when you try to dodge the weather:

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We are so happy to have dragged our rain gear to Iceland!

To get to our hotel for the night will require a bit of backtracking.  No problem, the scenery is just as fantastic in either direction.  On our way to Jokularson we had passed this strange sculpture and didn’t stop.  Now we are curious to see what it is.

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Turns out to be theremnants of the Skeiðará Bridge:

“In 1996, the volcano Vatnajökull, which sat beneath Skeiðarárjökull, erupted, melting portions of glacier and creating massive floods. While the girder bridge was built to withstand a hefty amount of flood waters, there was no preparing for the house-sized icebergs that the floods washed down the plain. A number of these glacial shards crashed into the bridge, wiping it out and creating a gap in the main ring road around Iceland.

All that remains of the original bridge today are two twisted girders by the side of the new road. They form a unique monument to the lovely but powerful beauty of Iceland’s natural landscape. “

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Another lame attempt to photo my horses:

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We also stopped by a place we passed earlier that was a particularly “gurgling”area of water that we had affectionately named the “Bubbling Crude.”

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“Bubbling Crude”

Our hotel for the night will be Hotel Laki in the little hamlet of  Kirkjubæjarklaustur (try saying that one!) We were supposed to be staying in a guesthouse, but the proprietor texted me a few days ago and told me he switched us to the hotel due to some construction at his place.  We are disappointed, but hoping for the best.

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Hotel Laki

As we get closer we notice what we think might be a tour bus and people gathered around.  This garners the infamous comment from Rich: “If this place is filled with those hard-drinkin’ Hüsker Düs, then I am outta there!” (some may remember the Danish board game – Hüsker Dü – from childhood).

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Hotel Laki turns out to be a great choice. We hit up the lounge for a beer and then dinner in the restaurant.  We weren’t expecting much, but our huge home made burgers were fabulous!

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This has been an absolutely magical day in Southern Iceland.  We can’t even begin to believe all we have seen today.  The hotel is thankfully quiet as we reflect on today and dream of what we might see and do tomorrow.

 





Keller, TX – Alamagordo, NM

12 08 2010

Police think they can see us lean;
We’re tint, so it ain’t easy to be seen.
For to see us ride by, they can see the glean
And our shine on the deck and the TV screen.
Ride with a new chick, she like, “Hold up.”
Next to the Playstation controller
Is a full clip and our pistola:
Turn a jacker into a coma.
Chamillionaire

Breaking daylight enthusiastically demolishes dreams, and none too soon for those of us plagued by certain mindworms.


Devotion to a demanding craft. I think this one came in semi-on-time.


We make our final surveying sweeps around the Keller residence; I check and re-check the recipes I’ve added to the fridge for errors/illegibility.


To depart this place means not only bidding farewell-for-now to the sweetest lil’ pair o’ cousins we could wish for, but also, essentially, our travels. We know we will make one more stop before Mandy declares our ultimate destination reached, but tonight’s hotel will be a mere restful pitstop somewhere as-yet-undeclared between the eternal state of Texas and sweet home Arizona.

It is odd to think of things coming to a close. We have been on the road for nearly a month.


Our melancholy is much eased by the addition of two new friends, Skitty and Powly. We allow them to romp freely amongst the deteriorating snack box.

An extended driving day calls for a proper breakfast. We IHOP it.


John, giddy with glee, rambunctiously forces his feet into their respective shoes, eventually successfully eliciting a “hush now” from Mother.


Do you like…?


Gaga loves ham.

And then, driving. Napping intermittently. Munching cashews, sunflower meats, salty almonds. The last of the good non-MSG jerky. A few final handfuls of Kashi. Exercises in artistic weirdness. Crossword collaboration. A niller or two.

At long last – Alamagordo, NM.


Daddles contemplates a few canines outside the bounds of our hotel.

The manager recommends Margo’s for eats, which the internet proclaims thoroughly acceptable Mexican fare. We are all slightly starved and attack the tortilla chips with gusto.


Johnny wises up and follows my advice. The fajitas were an excellent choice indeed.


Daddles goes French and opts for the cheese plate.





Cuz Time in Keller

11 08 2010

Wednesday, August 11
8 miles

Rich and I wake up in a room full of Pokeman and planets and realize quickly that we are in David’s room in Keller. Bets has convinced Johnny, Janel and me to go to her gym with her today so we get ready early and take off. Rich declines stating that he “doesn’t have proper gym shoes.” hmmmm

After pumping some serious iron at the Y we are already discussing lunch (what else?). Bets suggests a place she has heard of that is a cafe run be a well-known chef and is housed in a gas station! YES – sounds like our kind of place.

Our Chapman Boys

We arrive at the Conoco station in Keller (a working station) and go inside where 1/2 of the inside is a convenience store and the other half is a bustling cafe – Chef Point Cafe. The setting is great – red/white colors, clean, bright and busy. The chef’s specials are listed on a board.



We settle into a table and find out that Chef Point has been featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network. We make our selections from the extensive menu and read various articles around the room about the famous chef. It turns out that after trying to run a “fancy” restaurant that didn’t work out he tried to buy a property in the Dallas area and was turned down for financing at all levels. It seems money wasn’t being lent for restaurants, BUT it was being lent for gas stations. BINGO – he purchased a gas station and the rest is history.

Chef Franson Nwaeze

We love watching the food being prepped in the see-through kitchen. The chef actually comes out to meet us. When the food comes, it is fantastic! Rich/Janel share a huge bowl of Cioppino, Bets has the lobster bisque and I have an open-faced grilled balsamic chicken sandwich. Johnny, however, wins the prize – he has ordered Chicken and Waffles. Wow – what a great combination! We leave the place completely satisfied.

Balsamic Chicken Sandwich

Cioppino

The winning dish!


When we get back to Bets’ house the Wii is in full swing and we take advantage of the “play day.” Hanging out playing with David and Abby is really fun and we enjoy their antics. (Janel and John add some antics of their own). David has planned a Wii tournament for this evening and has signed us all up for different events.

Fun with the Wii

Janel, Abby, Rich, Scooter mugging for the camera

Janel sequesters Abby to teach her to make her famous Foccacia bread. Janel is a very patient teacher and allows Abby to make the recipe completely by herself. When the bread comes out of the oven it is considered a real success by all.

Cookin’ Cuzins
Abby’s first Foccacia


Dinner will be constructed by Janel (Linda as sous chef) and consists of Tri-colored Rotini with Sausage and Broccoli, salad, and Foccacia. Turns out great and we eat it up!

Tournament Time! We spend the next couple of hours playing various Wii Sports games and have a great time. We play golf, 100 pin bowling, archery, sword fighting, wake boarding, etc. We hoot and holler and sing for each winner when they are given the “gold coconut.” Great time!!

Mike’s perfect archery technique


Tomorrow is a travel day so we hit the bed and try not to think of all the miles we have yet to go to get home. . .





NOLA to the Big D

9 08 2010

August 9, 2010

Miles: 570 miles

Our most serious travel day so far.

We made an early plan to getting rolling, starting with hotel breakfast and retrieval of our car from the valet. While it rained, Mandy expertly guided us out of the French Quarter and onto I-10, then I-49 heading northwest across Louisiana.

McP’s

The scenery was ho-hum, but the interstates are a great way to cover miles. A possible lunch stop peaked our interest, one called Bistro on the Bayou. We risked a 2 mile side trip to check it out, only to find a sanitary-looking eatery tacked onto the side of the Alexandria airport, without a single patron. Nix.

Bistro on the Bayou in Alexandria, LA

No character, no patrons

We finally took an exit for Natchidoches, LA, then a 3 mile drive past pretty Northwestern State University seeking out the center of town. Down the historic riverfront, we finally located Antoon’s Riverfront Restaurant and decided to give it a go. Real friendly service and so-so food. My club sandwich was good but could have dropped the cheese whiz. Linda’s sweet potato fries were the hit for sure.

Food critics at Antoon’s Riverfront Restaurant

Good fries, OK sandwich, but lose the Cheese Whiz please

Back in the SUV for the remaining 280 miles in to Dallas. The conversations were lively but with so many miles to cover, they eventually tapered off, leaving just the drone of satellite radio. One brief stop for gas and McP, then in to Dallas. We talked to Mike on the phone who gave us a restaurant destination in Grapevine, TX.

Nice place, Bob’s Steak and Chops. The bar looked especially good to me, and $16 later we were looking at 1 margarita and 1 gimlet. Hmmm… We all felt underdressed, and I eventually did a quick-change in the car, both for appearance and for warmth in the A/C. Both Janel and John did the same.

Betsy, David, Abby and Mike soon arrived! It was great to see them all. Abby especially is growing up so fast – the boys will be interested in her all too soon.

Seated, we were presented a menu with, well, whopping prices. In retrospect, at that point we should have headed to a nearby pizzeria, but we instead started the selection process. The steaks (and duck and lobster) were truly wonderful, aged, cooked and seasoned to perfection. An Estancia meritage went with everything very well. Service was ho-hum, adequate, indifferent, not fitting for this place.

Fun time at Bob’s, with a few hitches

I admit I did not stomach the whopping bill very well. Neither Abby or David ate their pork chops (David proclaimed his “disgusting” before even trying it.) It is not a stretch to say that our talkative party did not fit very well into the high end scene. Hmmm…like I said, the pizzeria…

Mandy again showed us the way to Betsy’s house in Keller. Abby painted a beautiful sign for us that was posted by the sidewalk. Nice! Mike and Betsy had already thoughtfully prepared the bedrooms for our arrival, and we had fun with the kids selecting which room we’d each sleep in.

We’re really glad to be here!

Extraction from our packed SUV

Who’s going to sleep where?

We get a well-needed good night’s sleep after a long travel day. It is great to be here with my sister and family and we’re looking forward to more good visiting tomorrow.





8 08 2010

Like 3 miles or somethin.


Ah you know. Just strollin down the river. Nevermind that we completely missed the cafe Momums and Daddles intended for us to meet them at. This is ok: we are in New Orleans, city of awesome, and it is nice and warm outside.


Ah, there’s the coffee house.


All this place sells are beignets and coffee, which really is a positive rather then a detriment. Mom and dad are already feeding their faces with the doughy suckas.

Devour the morning.


Again, I prefer a more subtle method. After our light meal we stroll the flea markets of the French Quarter. Venders are set up for blocks, selling mostly derp but some nifty things.


Derp and obligatory. Nell has an eye on some glasses and maybe a classic mask until a familiar face catches her eye.

One only has to glance at the Thailand blog to underderstand her expression.


There’s a party in the bathroom! While Nell and Mom party the boys head off to listen to a tallented yet extremely loud brass band nearby.


Seriously, these boys did not need to be amplified. Standing right her was not terribly enjoyable, so we headed off to get a little snowcone while discussing economics. We meet up with the partiers soon enough and Mom and I head back to the hotel for a nap, and Nell and Dad soon follow. My rest soon ends with an invitation back to royal street with promises of dinner.


Met some nifty street performers along the way.


Take my picture with it!


Yeah yeah pretty cool. As we approach the restaraunt, Dad gets the famous sheepish grin:


Gets the ok by him. We head inside.


And, well, its hard, nay, impossible to beat last night’s meal. The food is pretty good, our waiter pales in comparison. Nevertheless, we enjoy our meal and the conversation turns to recollection and spissitude/spassitude.


And, while blury, poses will be made.





Florence – New Orleans

7 08 2010

Each time dawn appears, the mystery is there in its entirety.
— Rene Daumal

For the mind disturbed, the still beauty of dawn is nature’s finest balm.
— Edwin Way Teale

I remember, especially like when I was in high school, going to see like Dawn of the Dead and it was like mayhem in the theater and you could barely even watch the movie. It was so fun.
— Rob Zombie


Our disturbed minds zombiecrawl their various ways out of the mystery of dreamscape and into a reality full of hardboiled eggs, coffee, and quiche. The sun gleams. The time to scoot further South is nigh.


Momma plots a route, seeking out the finest small-town names in Alabama.


Baby Girl is either not thrilled with our imminent departure or lacks the appropriate facial structure for complex anthropomorphic expression.


Mary’s blue bottle tree is currently void of devilish spirits; they may have made for an early-morning feline breakfast.


Unbeknownst to the majority of friends and family, Daddles occasionally gets the fantods from the slinky, tricksy movements of his own shadow. Good thing the back of the SUV is so spacious.


It is a day. Sunlight lathers itself hot and thick onto submissive asphalt. We will harness this writhing river of tar, and we will ride once more.


A quick jaunt into Boligee‘s own café yields sustenance (READER POLL: “bah-lee-GEE” or “buh-LEE-gee“?)


John inquires as to “the best thing” available; we discover that “everybody be eatin’ the burger.” Four please. Ahhhh hold the pickle!!!!


Never stop, never stop.


Daddles scores a tall frosty styrofoam cup chock-full of chocolate soft serve on the way out. Johnner recounts Chapman foibles concerning the same.


On the road and at it again. This took us WAY longer than it should have.

I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.
— Eden Ahbez

(bearfriend courtesy of Cripple Creek)


A rare non-McDonald’s peebreak. Wait, what’s this? Gravy…. and also biscuit?


Loaded.


John, ever the epicure, passes up the 99 cent starchbomb in favor of satisfying Indonesian ginger candies.


Mom opts for jerky but encounters difficulties.


This guy chooses Rally’s, vehemently.

We arrive to smatterings of rainfall in the Big Easy. Mom navegates hotel check-in whilst family peruses the facilities. Free cookies!


Free L. Ron Hubbard!


Free computer!


Free Mumia! Mom yelped her way to a choice of widely lauded Jacques Imo’s for supper. The valet flails wildly in the street, hailing a cab. I watch the price tick along at a merry pace with the mileage, hardcore nostalgic for Bangkok cab culture.

Disaster strikes! JI’s is devoid of light and patrons tonight; the cabbie postulates that it may be closed for the entire month of August as it is low season. Zut alors!

Nimble reasoning saves the day. We ask the cabbie where he likes to eat and follow his first suggestion.

After a slightly pricey tour of a few upscale nawlins neighborhoods, we end up at Pascal’s Manale. We enter with trepidation.

And are immediately greeted by fast-talking, flirtacious oyster shucker Thomas “Uptown T” Stewart. Loads of oyster aficionados crowd the bar; Thomas flings just-cracked half-shell beauties left and right. It is madcap. We must taste these bivalves.

Magically, the oyster crowd curtain parts and disperses as soon as we purchase a few gimlets. Thomas has enough pause to mix up a special cocktail sauce especially for us – just a touch of horseradish and hot sauce, plus a drop or three of lemon.


The oysters and the banter don’t stop can’t stop won’t stop. We lap it up. We love it.

Our raw, slimy food cravings satiated, we slip into the main dining hall, where John and Daddles are already chatting music industry biz with the waiter, Louie, whose main occupation is Band Manager. Louie is also a committed foodie and incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the city. We immediately turn the menu selection over to him.

The dishes come fast and furious. The creamy pan roast is a stellar blend of oysters, chopped crabmeat, shallots, and plenty of parsley; we scrape the dish with fresh bread for remnants. Breaded eggplant dotted with succulent shrimp similarly wows in a slightly spicy cream sauce.

Gotta have gumbo. Pascal Manale’s version is dark and rich – but we all agree, we’ve had (and cooked) better. On the other hand, the turtle soup, which we never would have ordered on our own, is stellar, much lighter than expected, a sweetly subtle meaty flavor with crumbles of egg.

Pascal’s is, in fact, a famous location, due to the invention of one of the area’s most popular dishes: New Orleans-style barbeque shrimp.


Advance preparations are absolutely necessary.


Very becoming.


We giggle, but we’ve already noted how useful the paper aprons have been for shrimp gobblers at other tables.


This photo is a little grayed out (no photoshop on this laptop), but rest assured, all three of these compositions are vibrantly colored. The lower dish is crawfish étouffée, upper left is a piquant shrimp, mushroom, tomato, and brandy pasta not found on the menu, and upper right are the famous crustaceans. Hand-peeling required.


A demonstration of the difference between flash and non-flash photos.


Point proven?


We jubilantly make a massive mess. It is proclaimed easily among the very top dinners of the trip; the food was phenomenal across the board, and the atmosphere and waitstaff were helpful, friendly, courteous, and entertaining. It is precisely what an ideal restaurant experience should be. Plus we wore bibs.

We catch another cab and head to Rock And Bowl in search of a blues artist Louie has recommended as “excellent, but unreliable.” Sure enough, the dude didn’t show, and some kind of last-minute replacement is playing instead. The entry fee is somewhat high, so we decide on a quick exploratory jaunt down Bourbon Street instead.

Dad and I share fond memories of people-watching in this historical part of town from five years back, during the first iteration of the Great Earlham Road Trip. In my mind, Bourbon Street is a place steeped in stories, in the lore of its glorious days back in the 1800s, a place for 30-60-year-olds dressed in their flamboyant finest to sip on a few Hurricanes and get a little frisky. A place well aware of its own irony, perhaps, or at least ignorantly reveling in joyous absurdity.

Bourbon Street today is a farce. We feel immediately repelled by the cacophony of drunk, vacant faces and noises. Dad insists that we continue to look for the good in it, but our nostrils are filled with the stench of the dregs of humanity gettin’ crunk. It is nasty. People-watching seems a dangerous game, as to engage with anyone means risking a seriously depressing interaction.

It’s pretty deeply upsetting, and even Dad admits in the end that it doesn’t have any of the charm of five years ago. I have images of Khao San Road flashing through my head, and I am actually nostalgic.

We return to the hotel feeling thoroughly icky. A shower and some reading alleviate the grossed-out-ness to some extent. We hit the sheets determined to discover a different city the next day; our restaurant experience was so overwhelming positive that we have to believe that Bourbon Street is merely a sad anomaly in a huge and varied city.

One hypothesis that seems to ring true is that the rebuilding of the area post-Katrina caused it to lose its sense of time, and thus, self – that Bourbon Street has become a simulacrum of itself. After being rocked to the physical and spiritual foundations by the hurricane, the pursuit of dollars simply outweighed the internal character of the place. Other ideas?





Deep in Florence

6 08 2010

Friday, August 6
12 miles

If it’s Friday, it must be Florence. We wake up and wonder again “where are we today?” When we notice a cat in the bed, we realize we spent the night last night in Florence at Mary’s house. Having her cat, Baby Girl, sleep with us has reminded me how much I enjoy having a kitty around. Maybe someday. . .

I find Mary in the kitchen and join her for coffee and conversation. She has some good stories to tell and I love listening to her genuine Alabama accent. The kids and Rich soon join us and we make a plan for the day.

The HUB of Mary’s house

Rich and I have decided that since it doesn’t appear to be oppresively hot/humid we would like to play some golf at a nearby course. The kids have a movie they have been wanting to see so they can drop us off. Mary is going to run some errands and meet us back at the house later for Happy Hour and then dinner out.

The Blackberry Trail golf course is relatively new and we have no trouble walking on. It is beautiful and green. Lots of trees and rough remind us that we are NOT in Arizona. Rich even manages to find a blackberry bush and I pick and eat a few berries – can’t do that at home!

Sooo green and THICK grass!

We end up inviting a single that is following us to join our twosome. It turns out that his wife and wife’s brother both graduated from the same high school as Rich (Bradshaw in Florence) around the same time as Rich. Small world.

No – he is not searching for his ball; he is looking for blackberry bushes!

Score!

Fore!



We have an ok round even though it is a bit frustrating due to the thick grass even in the fairways. When we are through Janel and John pick us up to head home.

The kitchen table once again is the center of activity. Mary drags out some very old Jr. League cookbooks that are fascinating. The recipes are truly gems. If Rich ever brings home a squirrel, I will know where to find how to cook it.

After a happy hour with a new Chardonnay (Yellow Tail “no oak”) we head out to dinner at Crocodile Ed’s. They specialize in seafood so we start with 1/2 dozen oysters (great!) and alligator bites. Janel and I end up with whole fish (baby seabass and baby snapper). They are clearly the best thing on the menu. All meals were good and we had a fun time eatin’ and chattin.’



Tomorrow is a travel day so we turn in soon after arrival at home. No internet means no blogging, and we are secretly happy for the break. . .