26 December 2009

Washington DC

Washington DC is one of the places I've always wanted to visit and I had the opportunity to go with some friends this past summer.  It was a lot of fun and we had a very amusing trek from Newark to DC.

I didn't find it amusing at the time, I was getting really frustrated, but now I find it freaking hilarious!  Unfortunately I found out the hard way that one of the people from the trip doesn't find it as funny as I do and it's a bit of a sore subject.  So I can't joke about it with her, so I'm going to stay in that state of mind and I won't be joking about it on here either.  Don't want to accidentally slip up.

We had two days in DC and we did as much as we possibly could in two days.  But we didn't get to see the Pandas and it wasn't for lack of trying.  We looked up the hours and read that the grounds opened up two hours (or so) before the exhibits.  When we read that we interpreted that you can walk and see the animals playing but wouldn't be able to go into the buildings to learn about the animals.  NO!  We were wrong.  It also meant that the animals are locked up until the exhibits open.  How lame is that?  Then why bother having the grounds open earlier?  Sorry Amanda!! (Amanda REALLY wanted to see the Pandas.)  But we did stop off at the Old Post Office and their gigantic archways.  Exciting, I know!

I definitely want to go back and see the things I missed, which actually were only a few.  And it would be more of a leisure trip since I have the "tours" out of the way.

We did make it to the Halocaust museum and boy is that moving, highly recommend it if you're going to visit DC. We had a tour of the Capital building by our representative's aide (didn't have to wait in the long line, that was awesome!).

Nothing says tourist like you and your friends putting a foot in the center of Washington DC when you're in the capital building and taking a picture of it.  Yes, you read that right, that's the CENTER of Washington DC.  And we saw the oldest bust of George Washington as well.  (among other things in the Capital building)

And we did a tour of the Library of Congress.  That place is gorgeous! 

You can get a library card to use the actual library.  We were going to do that but we were trying to squeeze a lot in and that got passed.  So next time, I'm going to get a library card and do some research in the Library of Congress.

We saw the Hope Diamond and the Flag that inspired The Star Spangled Banner.  It was big and torn and glorious!  And we didn't wait in line to get into the Smithsonian of Natural History or the Smithsonian of American History.  We think the trick is being a weeknight twenty minutes before closing.  We walked right into the museum and right up to the exhibits.  But unfortunately there was a guard in the flag exhibit so I couldn't sneak a picture.  I so wanted to!

We visited Arlington Cemetary and made it in time for the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  We also visited the JFK's grave and memorial.

We went to the National Archives because that was on the MUST list.  We saw The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Magna Carta.  I had no idea the Magna Carta was there but it is!  We were super excited to get into the rotunda and view these documents.  (The Magna Carta isn't in the rotunda, you see that before you enter the line for the rotunda.  just sayin)

Remember how in National Treasure they're able to just walk right up and see The Declaration of Independence and hardly anyone else was in the rotunda with them?  LIES!!!  Lies I tell you.  The line actually moves pretty fast for it being a long line.  I'd say we were probably in line for 30 - 45 minutes and only about 20 mins of that was spent outside.   Lies....  and this is why you don't get your info or base your facts on movies / Hollywood.  They only pretend they know what they're talking about.  Anyways it would be a boring movie if they had to wait in a long line.  That sure would slow down the pace of the movie.

We saw the White House.  Unfortuntely we weren't able to get tour tickets but that's ok, we couldn't squeeze in another tour anyways.  And while we were there there was a hunger strike going on in front of the White House, I never heard of that happening and they were going on 2 weeks.  Why doesn't news like that make it to the West coast?  Or should I play the conspiracy theory card and say it didn't make it to the west coast on purpose?  duh duh dunnnnn!

We visited the monuments and memorials and may I say that Lincoln was an amazing man and so is his memorial.  I can't recall which speach... I think it's the Gettysburg Address, is carved on his wall and very impressive.  The whole monument is impressive.

We walked along the other memorials including The Vietnam War Memorial and The World War II Memorial.

Did I mention that we did A LOT of walking?

We then took the train to New York and it was my first train ride!  That will be in another post.


Kim Despain said...

Looks super fun and historical too ~ and hey, it's okay to do tourist things when you're a TOURIST! I would've done that too :-)

laura said...

SO MUCH FUN!!! All that, on my list! Especially the changing of the guard. So cool! I'm glad you were able to go with your friends. Looks like a blast!

Nancy said...

I'm glad you enjoy traveling and learning, what could be better.......nothing! :-)

Sherri Jorgensen said...

You are a world traveler! Marks sister lives in Washington DC and so we really need to go there! We really need you to show us around!