USA - May 2019
Every year, the Globus Family of Brands take away their top 10 sellers from New Zealand (and top 20 from Australia) on a trip and this year, I made the cut, we were off to the USA!
Flying direct from Auckland to Chicago was relatively easy, especially given that we did it in 14 hours instead of the scheduled 15! We got through customs quickly thanks to automated passport control, the biggest delay was getting our bags. We were met in the arrivals area by our (as we discovered on tour) amazing tour director Peter and whisked away to our hotel. Chicago is known for its architecture and is on the banks of Lake Michigan where parks basically run between the lake and buildings for the length of the city. It is also home to the deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs (complete with 9 ingredients) and brownie to name a few – we got to taste the best on a food tour!
After two nights, we travelled to St Louis, home of the Gateway Arch (the world’s tallest arch), before heading to one of my highlights of the tour – Nashville! I was not into country music at all before, but after visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium and spending an evening with 3 songwriters who talked about their lives & singing some of their songs over dinner, that all changed! Great live music at the bars – day and night – something for everyone. We also visited historic RCA Studio B where more than 200 of Elvis Presley’s songs were recorded, so it was an honour for us to record a song of our own in the same studio, Elvis’s Can’t Help Falling in Love!
Memphis was our next stop, famous for blues, soul and rock n roll, Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum – located in the former Lorraine Motel where Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated! But also the Peabody Hotel where, since 1933, the Peabody ducks have been walking the red carpet to/from the hotel fountain from/to the lift to their palace on the rooftop!
Finally, our biggest travel day, took us to New Orleans, my next favourite city after Nashville, with its distinctive French & American quarters, jazz music and where Creole and Cajun cuisines have unique heritages and complex backgrounds. The main highlight here was going out onto the swamp and bayous on an airboat and holding an alligator! We also made cocktails, had a cooking demonstration and enjoyed a walking tour where we sampled Beignets made from deep fried choux pastry and covered in icing sugar, delicious!
As I said, our tour director Peter was amazing, he was knowledgeable, passionate & fun. He had different outfits for each city which got us in the mood for what was to come, he really made the tour for us. This is the second coach tour I have done and I truly believe it is a great way to travel, whether you’re a first time or experienced traveller