Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Week 16 - District of Columbia

The beginning of the week was a blur. I was busy at work with allocations, a professional development seminar on Gallup Strengths and doing my portal training session. It was a four day week for me so busy  was good. I was excited to head to DC on Friday with Anne and Rene.

I ran home Thursday to do a quick load of laundry, prep the cats and throw some clothes in a suitcase. I could get used to these quick trips that don’t require much prep. We were also leaving late enough that I didn’t have to rush on Friday morning – added bonus. I had made sammies and cookies for us to eat on the plane and the flight attendant showered us with snacks when I shared a cookie with her so we had plenty of walking around treats for DC.

I was impressed while we were still in the air, seeing the monuments from the plane window. We had free shuttle service to the hotel then took the metro to King Street in Alexandria in search of a yarn shop, of course, and dinner. Fiber Space was a lovely yarn shop and I bought 2 pretty skeins of sock yarn. Aren’t you proud that I only bought 2? I was. We walked the full length of King Street and had a delicious dinner at an Irish pub. It was a nice start and was only going to get better.

My intent was to get up early and see if we could get tickets to the Holocaust Memorial but Anne beat me to it, scoring us tickets for 11:00. Rene didn’t want to go so after a hearty (free) breakfast at the hotel, we took the metro to the mall and split up. Rene headed to Air & Space and with an hour to kill, Anne and I watched the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade then headed to the holocaust museum. It was sobering for sure and I’m glad we went but I was ready for something lighter. We hadn’t intended to go to the actual festival but two girls on the metro had sung its praises so we headed there. We should have given it more thought but didn’t, paying $10 each to get in only to be faced with a mob scene. After snaking our way between throngs of people, passing booths with 40-50 people in line for food we couldn’t even see, we made a beeline to the closest exit and got out of dodge. Big relief! We were starving so asked a local where to eat and enjoyed a late lunch of yummy food in a brew pub.

Now what to do? It was almost 4:00 so we decided to head to the National Botanic Garden’s conservatory next to the capital. We grabbed a bus that was headed right there, passing by the Supreme Court, Library of Congress and the Capital on the way. We did a quick walk through before the glass houses closed and then relaxed on benches out front. Anne and I were knitting, of course. After half an hour or so, Anne mentioned that there was a ranger tour starting at 6:00 at the Lincoln Memorial so we grabbed a cab and headed right over, arriving right on time. It was a small group of 8-10 including us and we had a wonderful ranger who took us from memorial to memorial – Lincoln to Korean War to Vietnam. He was a font of information and when we were done at Vietnam (my favorite), he asked if anyone wanted to do an extra – World War II. We were in so walked there as the sun was setting. It was a wonderful tour and we got so much more out of it having an expert to explain everything and answer questions. If you ever got to DC, check out the ranger lead tours for sure.

Rene realized half way through the tour that she’d left her jacket on the bench at the botanic garden so despite it being hours ago, we detoured that way on the way to the hotel. What do you know – the jacket was still there and someone had even draped it over the back of the bench. I know there are some gnarly parts of DC but the area around the mall is pristine with secret service patrolling so I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised. But we were none the less. The cab dropped us back at the hotel and we bought pints of ice cream in the hotel lobby for dinner. We’d walked 19,700 steps that day, which equated to 7.5 miles. We were beat and slept like rocks.

Our plan for Sunday  was the American History Museum, which was the one we all wanted to see. We went there right after breakfast and spent all morning there, grabbing lunch in the cafeteria when we were done. The museums are all free but the food costs a fortune. $17 for a hotdog, collards and dessert. Oh well. Our next mission was the ranger tour of the rest of the monuments – MLK, FDR and Jefferson but that wasn’t until 4:00 so we walked toward The White House and then grabbed a cab to Dupont Circle for another yarn shop – Looped. Just 2 more skeins of sock yarn and another for mittens. Not bad for vacation yarn shopping. We grabbed another cab and got to Martin Luther King right on time. There was only 1 other man besides us so we had the ranger practically to ourselves. Did I mention the weather was absolute perfection for the 2nd day in a row? We finished the tour after 6:00 and grabbed yet another cab back to the hotel, having him drop us at the mall by our hotel. We had hoped to grab a burger to go at Shake Shack but it and everything else in the mall was closed so we got take out from Chevy’s across the street. Our plan was to be back at the hotel by 8:00 to watch Sunday night PBS – Call the Midwife and Grantchester. We were so disappointed to find Austin City Limits so steamed something on Shelter (a Jennifer Connelly movie about a homeless addict in NYC) on Netflix. It was a full and satisfying day. 17,000+ steps so we were ready for bed. We’d be leaving the next day but had made the most of our time, don’t you think?

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