Our trip to Washington, DC

Just for the record, I didn’t *forget* to write about our trip to Washington, DC.  I just still hadn’t really figured out how to do it justice.  But since we’re heading out of town again tomorrow, I guess now is the time to figure that out.

Sara came down from MN to visit over Memorial Day weekend.  We spent a delightful weekend going to the sea turtle rescue hospital and spending a day at the beach.  Sunday, we wandered around downtown Savannah.  And then on Monday, the day when tropical storm Beryl landed near Jacksonville, FL, we drove her down to the Jacksonville airport to fly back home to MN.

Justin and I then drove back to SC, collected our luggage, and started driving north.  That’s right – we drove south through the tropical storm, back north through the tropical storm, and then continued north.  We went to DC by way of Florida.

We spent the night at a hotel along the way, and got into DC early Tuesday afternoon.  The hotel we booked near DC was amazing – I got a discount through work and got a two bedroom suite.  It had two queen-sized beds in separate rooms, each with their own shower and toilet.  In between, there was a living room with a sofa bed and a fireplace, and a full sized kitchen, complete with full sized fridge, stove with oven, sink and dishwasher, dishes, and a small table with four chairs.  We shared the suite with Justin’s friend Pat, which made it right about $70/night between the two of us.  It was absolutely perfect because we all had our own space, plenty of room to spread out, and it was totally affordable, with the added bonus of not having to figure out how to spend time with friends.

We met up with our friend Judith, who lives in the DC area (and who hasn’t had power since Friday, by the way, and won’t have it back until Saturday, probably) and went out for delicious Indian food.

Wednesday, we went into town.  Judith showed us how to get on the Metro.  A day pass that’s good from 9:30 am until midnight is only $9, compared to the many transfer fees that would cost upward of $10, plus $4.50 parking for the day.  The metro is super easy to understand and much easier than trying to drive downtown.  Our feet ached from walking after a while, but most days it wasn’t that bad.

The first day we spent a lot of time at the Air and Space Museum.  I enjoyed looking at the airplane bits, keeping an eye out for airplanes by the company where I work.  The space stuff is always fun.  I got a kick out of the planets exhibition where you can clearly see Pluto removed from some places and not removed from others and different places where it’s explained what qualifies as a planet.

In the afternoon, we went to the American Art and Portraiture Museum to see the exhibition on video games.  That was a lot of fun.  There was artwork from a lot of different games, videos of people’s faces as they played games, different consoles that people visiting could play – PacMan and Mario and Mist and several others.  And a gallery showing the different consoles over the years – Atari, PlayStation, Nintendo, etc., as they’ve changed and the types of games that have been available on the different devices.  It was a lot of fun, until the room got packed with lots of high school kids making noise and being annoying.  I would have liked to stay at that museum longer, but people were getting tired and we had to get home.

Thursday dawned bright and beautiful and we spent the day walking.  A LOT.  We went to the Holocaust museum first.  To get into to the standard exhibition requires a ticket (it’s free, but a fire marshal requirement) and the earliest we could get tickets for was 4:30.  So we went through a visiting exhibition on the marketing of whole situation.  Justin through it was interesting.  I got about halfway through and was nearly in tears, so he dragged me out of there.  We went to the Hall of Remembrance, and there I DID cry, but I think that’s appropriate.

Leaving there, we rented a paddle boat and got as close to the Jefferson memorial as we could on the pond.  That helped my mood a lot.

From there, we walked around the Mall, past the Washington Monument, past the White House, stopped for lunch, past the Einstein memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam memorial, the Constitutional gardens, the World War II memorial, the Washington Monument again, and then back to the metro and home.

I really enjoyed the Lincoln memorial.  It’s enormous and beautiful.  The reflecting pool was drained for construction when we were there.  But I bet it’s amazing when the pool is filled.

The Einstein memorial was delightful, but it kept getting swarmed by high school (or middle school – it’s hard for me to tell) kids and it was SO ANNOYING.  There wasn’t anyone there when we arrived, so I was looking at the informational placards instead of taking picture of it, and then a whole mob of kids ran up and started climbing all over it.  And then a second swarm.  And then they were taking pictures with a dozen and a half different cameras and phones and their teacher was shouting at them to stay put until the photos were done. 

All the while, I’m standing there, very obviously not part of the school group, camera in hand, trying to look patient.  Justin and Pat (Judith didn’t come with us this day) were off to the side deciding which one of the two of them they would light on fire in order to get the children to move out of the way. 

And then the teacher started yelling at the kids to get out of the way, “Can’t you see someone wants to take pictures?” like it was their fault that they’d been sitting there in my way and not because she told them to stay put.  Eventually they cleared out enough that I could get some photos, and then another swarm of the brats, I mean the delightful little angels, started running up the sidewalk.  I was standing there trying to frame up a photo of the statue and a boy ran up yelling “I’m going to climb on his head!!” and I shouted back “Just wait until I’m done!!”

We ended the day going to Arlington cemetery to watch the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknowns.  It’s beautiful in that cemetery.  I would enjoy spending more time there; it’s just so beautiful.  The ceremony is wonderful, too.  Very touching.

Friday, after all of the walking on Thursday, we were pretty burned out.  We went downtown and checked out the National Archives.  We walked through the National History museum as fast as possible, only stopping to take a couple of pictures and pick up stuff from the gift shop.  That place was crammed wall to wall with school groups and we had all had our fill of that.  We went back to the hotel.

Saturday was the wedding reception.  The bride and groom actually got married earlier in March at a smaller event, mostly because her father is very ill and they weren’t sure how long he would last.  The reception was lovely, though.  It was held outside at a park.  I overdressed.  And I got a friend so irrationally mad at me that she stopped speaking to me (I said something stupid and I apologized, but she reacted *way* out of proportion and hasn’t forgiven me).  I only knew a handful of people there, since they’re mostly people Justin knows from playing World of Warcraft.  So, yes, it was lovely.  But it wasn’t my favorite day ever.  And then we went back to the hotel instead of going out drinking with people.

Sunday, we packed up, said our final good-bye’s and set back off for home.  We stopped by some other friends on the way and had dinner with them.  And we made it home before midnight.  And then spent the next day resting because as soon as I got back to work, it was madness getting ready for a meeting that Friday.

The trip really was enjoyable.  I got tired of school kids and the reception was awkward.  But I enjoyed getting to see all the monuments and museums.  I got to look at the constitution.  We got a little tree from the Natural History museum made of quartz rocks (probably?) that looks like a cherry tree in blossom, since we missed the actual cherry blossoms because spring came so early this year.  (And that’s fine, I’m sure our allergies would have been terrible.)

And we got to spend a lot of time with Pat and Judith, which was really the whole point of the trip – getting to spend time with friends.  And we were able to spend a lot of time doing that and it was a whole lot of fun.

I do have pictures up on my Flicker account.  It was easier to upload the 100 photos from the Flicker interface rather than the one on my website here (I’ll be looking into that situation eventually).  I haven’t got the link right now, but I’ll update with that later.

2 thoughts on “Our trip to Washington, DC”

  1. You make it sound so interesting I actually want to go there. I understand your feelings about the school kids, though. I guess the end of the school year is not the time to visit Washington D.C. We’ll have to remember that, because now that you’ve described it so well, I really think we’ll go some day.

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