Trek America Southern Sun - Day 10

Lake Charles, LA to Austin, TX. 300 miles, 340km.

In the morning we got to have a bit of a lie in and more time to get ready, so for breakfast (not me) we had bacon and eggs, something a lot of the people in our group had been craving! 

Crossing the state line into Texas was sort of a big thing for our group and meant we were halfway through out trip. We stopped of at the visitor centre to pose with the big Texan star and walked around. In the van Phil presented us with gifts to welcome us in to Texas because Texans are proud people! 
Our campsite was the SE Austin/Bastrop KOA campsite and unfortunately it was located an hour outside of Austin. The site however was nice, even though it was quite a walk to the toilets and shower facilities. We also spotted the cutest, tiniest of dogs! We set up camp, I was happy because my tent friend was meeting her Texan friend so that meant I had two nights of having a tent to myself which was nice! Afterwards we had the most amazing curry before we got dropped of in Austin to explore 6th Street. 

I love the nightlife in America, I think it might be down to the fact everywhere is 21+ so it seems a lot more mature in comparison to the nightlife in the UK. We found a cute bar which had a rooftop bar filled with fairy lights and a live band who played pretty good songs until we left. We drank and danced and it was fun. The only downside was having to leave so early to get back to the camp ground. 

(I am going to try and make my trek america posts as detailed as possible and fit as much in as I can remember, if you have any questions about the tour ask in the comments below and I will do an FAQ at the end.) 

Trek America Southern Sun - Day 9

New Orleans, LA to Lake Charles, LA. 210 miles, 340km.

Today we had another Walmart shop to stock up on food and buy any personal goods, these stops are really useful! 
trek america lake charles swamp tour southern sun

trek america lake charles swamp tour southern sun
Afterwards we did a swamp tour. I'm sure the name of the swamp was Honey Island swamp tours. Seeing wildlife on this trip was something I was hoping for and looking forward to. On my first holiday to America we went to Florida and did a swamp tour there but we didn't see anything which was slightly disappointing. A few of the girls were hungover from last night, thankfully I didn't go out and felt fresh. It was really peaceful out on the swamp and our guide was really friendly and provided us with lots of interesting facts. 

Our guide told us that October is a really good time to come on the tour because you are more likely to see a variety of animals, the first animals were saw were teeny tiny turtles basking on logs, as well as birds such as stalks (I think.) 

trek america lake charles swamp tour southern sun
October is also the time were alligators start to 'hibernate' for Winter so won't eat as much food, the guide told us during this period they will sink to the bottom and stay on the floor and on rare occasions may come up to eat. We saw a few tiny alligators but nothing up close until we got further down the swamp. Then we saw a fairly big one lying on the side and the guide enticed it over with... a marshmallow (and party sausages). They feed them marshmallows, I have no idea why but it worked and he swam right over, followed by a smaller alligator. It was fascinating and so exciting getting to see them in their environment. Our guide explained to us why there are no large alligators, every year the government allows the big alligators to get culled, leaving only the small ones behind, this company and others are trying to prevent this from happening because these magnificent animals bring in tourism and money, people want to see alligators! It is sad but I am keeping my fingers crossed the culling will end. 

We then headed into a more densely wooded area of the swamp and our guide started to whistle and out of no where appeared a wild hog who was adorable! Sadly again these animals are hunted due to the damage they can cause to land (because apparently humans never destroy land.) We said goodbye to the hog and went further on and hearing another whistle a mother and baby raccoon scuttled out of the bushes and started climbing up the tree opposite our boat to get some marshmallows. It was amazing, I love animals so I get excited every time. I was so happy that this swamp tour lived up to my expectations and more.

After the swamp we drove to our campsite at the Saint Houston Jones SP, it was so rural there was deer and raccoon running around. Phil drove us around and I was looking and thinking to myself 'where are the toilets?' every where was so muddy and wet, he then parked up and then surprised us, he had drove us to the most rural part of the site so we would fill up with dread and then told us he had booked cabins for us as a surprise!! Everyone was happy and the cabins were so cosy. I did a little exploring by myself and walked down to the swamp area and through the woods but turned back once it started to get dark. Dinner tonight was crepes, sweet and savoury. I then had a shower and headed to bed straight after, I was starting to get a cold! 

(I am going to try and make my trek america posts as detailed as possible and fit as much in as I can remember, if you have any questions about the tour ask in the comments below and I will do an FAQ at the end.) 

Trek America Southern Sun - Day 8

New Orleans, LA.

Today we had a free day in New Orleans to do what we wanted, we met people in the morning to head down to the Voodoo museum. Voodoo has been apart of New Orleans history since the city was first established, the museum explores history, traditions and legends of voodoo and the famous voodoo 'queen' Marie Laveau. 

The museum wasn't as large as I anticipated, instead it was two snug rooms cramped full of stuff. It was really interesting reading all the different facts and history and common misconceptions such as voodoo dolls being used to harm people. Voodoo dolls were used in medicine, when a patient visited a doctor they would use a doll stick a pin in it so he would know were the patients problem was for when he returned (or something like that.) It is also really cheap to get in so I would highly recommend going. 

We then took a street car to look at the mansions and visit a cemetery. The mansions were insane and oh so beautiful painted in pastel colours, it was dreamy. Although they were huge I can't even begin to imagine what living in a mansion feels like. All the trees that were on the street were draped in beads which added to its charm. We then visited the cemetery, New Orleans are famous for their above ground vaults, New Orleans is below sea level so areas flood so they bury their dead above ground so if flooding happens the bodies aren't dug up by the water. 

The food in New Orleans was my favourite, we went to this restaurant and they din't have anything vegetarian on the menu so they made me the most amazing vegetable pasta! Our group then split up, me and another girl wanted to ride a boat across the Mississippi river whilst the others went clothes shopping. I would've loved to do the steamboat tour but we just took the ferry across the river and came back again. The French market was recommended by our tour guide and we was both hoping to find some unique items to take home with us, however when we arrived a few stalls were packing up and the items being sold were typical tourist items so we were a little disappointed, maybe it is a lot better on different days. So we then went to bourbon street to find souvenirs and walked back to the hotel to relax for a bit. 

At night we had the ghost tour, I was really looking forward to this, I was expecting walking through cemetery's, going inside haunted buildings etc. it was not like that all. Instead we had a guide who walked us around the streets of New Orleans and told us various stories about different buildings. The stories were interesting we saw Delphine LaLauries house, or the sight were it was (it burnt down when she made her escape and then was rebuilt.) There were ten stories in total from vampires, witchcraft etc. However, I googled some of the stories when I got home to try and learn more about them and see how much truth was in them and some of them appear to be made up such as the story of the vampires of the casket girls who were housed at the Ursuline convent, these girl were brought over from France to marry men of New Orleans, when they arrived they were said to be carrying caskets with them which people said had vampires inside. These vampires are said to live on the third floor were no one has entered in years, the third floor has windows that are nailed shut. Our guide told us about one of the windows being ripped off once, and two girls who spent the night filming the building to see what came out of the third floor ended up dying having had their blood drained from their bodies, something I cannot find anything online about! The nailed windows are also said to be hurricane shutters. The ghost tour was also disappointing in the fact it was walking tour around the streets of New Orleans, we paid to go on this tour but there is nothing stopping random people coming up and tagging along, it is also something you could easily do yourself by researching buildings and ghost stories and visiting them whilst you are here since you don't get to enter any of the buildings on the tour. 

A few of us headed to Bourbon street, whilst the rest of us went to have another go at tarot and palm reading, I had another turn. This one was interesting, it was a mix of palm, tarot and crystals. This lasy said some pretty interesting and accurate things, she also broke me of some crystal and told me to write three things I want from love and three things I don't want in love, burn it with the crystal and throw it out the door, which I am yet to do. We walked back to the hotel through bourbon street, not staying out late to enjoy having a bed before we go back to camping!

(I am going to try and make my trek america posts as detailed as possible and fit as much in as I can remember, if you have any questions about the tour ask in the comments below and I will do an FAQ at the end.) 

Trek America southern sun - Day 7

Day seven - Memphis, TN to New Orleans, LA. 400 miles, 645km. 

I slept really well last night in comparison to the other nights. Today was the very long trip to New Orleans but it was worth it, the drive was nice and it's fascinating seeing the landscape change from forests to swamp lands, also on the drive down I saw my first signs of wildlife a family of deer and a black squirrel. New Orleans was one of the places I was really excited to visit thanks to tales of vampires, voodoo, witchcraft and the amazing history behind the city. 

We stayed at the French Quarter Suites, the hotel was gorgeous and it felt like luxury. Before we headed out, we relaxed by the pool whilst some of us enjoyed the comfort of the hotel room. Later on our tour guide gave us a walking tour of the French Quarter, which I fell in love with instantly the architecture is beautiful, on our way into the French Quarter we were stopped by a guy on a bike who then broke out into a rap and went though each of us, paying us all a compliment.. Welcome to New Orleans. After our walk around we went to eat food at a place called Oceana, the food was incredible! It is the first place I've been in America were they actually had a vegetarian option on the menu, I opted for Eggplant sticks and a vegetarian stew which was so good, washed down with my favourite White Russian. 

Afterwards we walked down the Bourbon street, which honestly didn't impress me too much, it reminded me of a strip you get in places like Magaluf etc. However it was fun catching beads thrown from the balcony's and listening to live music. 

Later on we went to get a tarot reading outside the St. Louis Cathedral, I can't really say whether the readings were real or accurate, a few of us had them done and said that there reading was right for them whilst some were like no. My reading was interesting but short in comparison to the others. We discussed the past, which the reader said I have had an easy life with not a lot of struggle but a lot of emotional struggle and hurt and some recently, which was accurate for me, my most emotional struggle recently being my break up .My readings fro the present and future spoke about a lot about friendships, strength and love. I was also told that I will date people but not find the 'one' yet that will happen in two years time, my career will be a long path, with lots of wealth, travelling will be stable but with travel comes wealth. I can't say if any of this will be true, but it was interesting and if I'm going to get a tarot reading New Orleans felt like the right place to do it! 

(I am going to try and make my trek america posts as detailed as possible and fit as much in as I can remember, if you have any questions about the tour ask in the comments below and I will do an FAQ at the end.

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