As someone who is ridiculously crazy about travel, it’s not surprising that I always have some far flung destination floating around my head, whether it’s thinking back on memories from somewhere I’ve fallen in love with or daydreaming about a new place I would love to explore. Reading so many other travel blogs about people’s adventures around the world is fascinating and infuriating in equal measure. Fascinating because oh my goodness I want to go there, and infuriating because oh my goodness I want to go there!!
The US has never really been high on my list of places to explore, mainly because I prefer countries with as different a culture and traditions to us as possible. But lately I just can’t seem to get New Orleans out of my head. This Louisiana city, known for its vibrant nightlife, live music scene and rich mix of cultures is like nowhere else in the US and the more I see and read about it, the more I desperately want to visit. Writing about it really isn’t helping but what the hell! These are just a few of the many reasons why I am wanderlusting so hard over this city right now.
The Festivals and Parades
Whether it’s Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest, New Orleans (NOLA) puts on a whole host of festivals, parades and live music throughout the year that has both tourists and locals dancing in the street. The whole city seems to buzz with party-goers and I would love to watch the costume-clad people from a balcony, soaking up the joyous atmosphere around me while trying to persuade Mr Ayla into donning a costume ourselves and joining in with the fun below.
NOLA seems to have become a fantastic foodie destination with delicious Creole and Cajun inspired food popping up all over the city. I would need to try it all, purely for research purposes of course. A po’boy or muffuletta would be the first thing on the list – giant baguettes or sandwiches stuffed full of meats, fried shrimp, cheeses, salads and sauces.
I would also try to devour as many beignets as I possibly could because these deep fried dough parcels covered in icing sugar look simply divine and I’m trying really hard not to lick my screen right now.
The French Quarter
The oldest part of town reminds me a bit of Havana, one of the most awesome cities I’ve ever visited. Colourful old buildings line the streets with wrought-iron balconies filled with flowers, and cute boutique shops and cafes. It looks like a gorgeous place to explore by bike or by the streetcar that trundles through most of the city’s quarters.
Apparently the cocktail was born in New Orleans so for someone who loves a sweet and fruity cocktail as much as I do, this is obviously somewhere that I must visit. I’d hang out on the balcony of a bar on Bourbon Street, sipping my cocktail while listening to musicians playing jazz on the streets below.
vampires, ghost stories and voodoo
One of my favourite TV series at the moment is The Originals, a spin off from The Vampire Diaries. It’s full of, you guessed it, vampires – and extremely sexy vampires at that (no, not the Twilight sort of vampires. These are actual hot vampires. Honest). The show is based in New Orleans and it’s full of witchcraft and mystical going-ons and it makes me want to visit more every time I watch it.
Aside from the fantasy vampires, NOLA has an eerie history and is full of mythical stories, ghost tours and ancient voodoo practitioners like Marie Laveau. I’d love to go on a ghost tour, pop into the voodoo shops for some spiritual trinkets and perhaps brave a tarot reading, and visit the ancient cemeteries where the gothic tombs all rest above ground.
I’d love to explore the outskirts of NOLA too and take a slow boat ride along the waterways where the swamps are filled with overhanging trees, alligators and other wildlife. I’d be keeping my eyes peeled for the werewolves from said vampire show that supposedly live around here.
Maybe it’s because NOLA is such a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and traditions like nowhere else in the US, or maybe it’s because the city’s vibe seems to be so joyous despite the damage that was caused to the city by Hurricane Katrina ten years ago. Whatever it is that’s enticing me to visit, New Orleans is calling my name extremely loudly, and I think it’s a calling I’m going to have to answer very soon.
Have you ever been to New Orleans or would you like to go? Where are you currently wanderlusting over? Let me know in the comments below or at: