Monday, May 9, 2016

DC: Touring

We flew into Reagan International late Monday night, then took cabs to our respective locations (Birdsalls at the Marriot downtown and me to the Cleveland Park neighborhood). I had to contain myself from squealing with glee the whole ride through D.C. - I LOVE THIS CITY. So wonderful!

 leg room on the first flight and reading with friends on the second flight 

 watching the very end of the NCAA tournament (Villanova won, grr) and I SEE A MONUMENT

We had a glorious reunion at Ananda's perfectly snug and classy apartment, reminiscent of all our previous reunions (hugging, laughing, squealing, then getting right back in the swing of things). We stayed up too late talking and then finally passed out, trying to get some rest before our day of playing tourist. 

together again! 

aren't Ananda and Christian the cutest?
and this is the street they live on. isn't it fabulous!?

Ananda made us a delicious breakfast (complete with a dusting of Old Bay, the MD classic!) and we were off to meet up with Renetta. We knew we wanted to head towards the National Mall but no one really had a preference for where to begin, so Christian asked if we wanted to see the National Archives and we agreed. It was the PERFECT starting point - what's more historical than the Declaration of Independence and Constitution!? It was so cool to physically see the real documents that our founding fathers penned. I could wax extremely eloquent on this subject but suffice it to say, it was inspiring and wonderful. There were giant murals on the sides of the domed room depicting the signing of the documents we were looking at and they were also very cool. You weren't allowed to take pictures in there - the words are already so faded on the old papers - but it kind of contributed to the respectful and reverent atmosphere in the room. It was very moving to see "July 4, 1776" on the Declaration - I know that we all know the historical significance, but something about actually reading that date in person was really emotional.

(Our whole trip felt like this - I love these hallowed historic places in the country that I love so much. It is so inspiring and empowering and special to reflect on these important places and events. Again, I could write and write and write about those thoughts, but I'll try to spare you!)

One more note about D.C. in general: it is clean and so cultivated! The whole city is beautifully floral. Also, I love the street names - Constitution Ave, anyone?

Other things we saw and did in two days:

Sculpture Garden
walking and talking 

 we all liked this tree sculpture

Washington Monument

Holocaust Museum - we spent three hours here touring the rotating exhibits, watching related films, and then making our way through the permanent exhibit. The pictures and stories and artifacts that they have there are very sobering. The architecture of the museum itself is very evocative and impressive, and the layout and organization of the museum is extremely effective. If you have time to go here, it is definitely worth it.
Lincoln Memorial - I love how you are expected to be quiet in this place - it really adds to the hallowed nature of the memorial. It was actually pretty loud the day when we went, but in the past when I've gone it's had a reverent hush and it's really impactful. I've never read the entire Gettysburg Address, but I read it that day and again felt so moved by the history and honor and wisdom of our past leaders.

 "quiet please"

Gettysburg Address

us in 40 years haha

 looking out from the Lincoln Memorial you can see the Washington Monument

War Memorials - we walked around the Korean and Vietnam War Memorials and drove past the new World War II Memorial. We also drove by the new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial.
 I've always loved the Korean War Memorial - you can't tell in these pictures but the statues are so lifelike and have really intense faces

Georgetown - there's no metro stop here so we walked the 30-40 minutes there, and I'm so glad we did! It's so quaint and old-timey and fun. The cupcake place we went to was insane!

Ha Renetta I love this picture

National Zoo - pandas galore! We got a good laugh out of Christian thinking pandas are lame since all they do is roll around and eat (which was true, as we observed first-hand). The Zoo is on a giant slope, so we got our exercise walking up and down.

this creature was extremely vicious-looking...komodo dragon I think?

National Gallery of Art 
Renwick Gallery - this was a completely charming building that housed full-room art exhibits that were made out of normal every-day items. The exhibit as a whole is called "Wonder" and that's exactly what it inspired - every time we entered a new room we gasped and oohed and exclaimed like children at the wonder of what we saw. (I'll post those pictures separately because there are a lot)
The White House - so cool to finally see it in person! I've been to a lot of D.C., but never the White House, so this was a highlight for me, especially after watching and loving The West Wing!

We only saw the outside, but that was enough for this trip - next time we'll try to get inside!

Where we ate:

Nando's for lunch - this was a chicken place with lots of sauces to try and unusual side dishes. It was a delightful break from our long morning - we were all completely famished!
P.F. Changs - we couldn't resist one of our favorite restaurants, even though it wasn't a D.C. original. SO YUMMY. Ananda and Christian made me try tofu, which I didn't love but I'm glad I tried it.
Old Glory? - I'm not sure this is what it's called but it was a barbecue place in Georgetown and it totally hit the spot.
Cupcakes? - again I don't remember the name but it had tons of exciting flavors of cupcakes and other treats.
Dunkin Donuts - the coffee hotspot.
Firehook Cafe - this little cafe right by Ananda's place is the best! We went there twice, once for breakfast and once for hot drinks. Fun fact - our local grocery store has crackers and other baked goods sent in from Firehook - isn't that random?!

after Changs that night we had cake and watched
Megamind until we fell asleep (which wasn't long haha)
I feel like we probably ate at more places and saw other things, but it doesn't matter if I didn't get everything down. Mostly I want to remember how much fun I had with these awesome people in this awesome city...I'm already ready to go back!

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