Sunday, March 5, 2017

Washington D.C. Weekend

Tim had a conference in Washington D.C. and asked if I wanted to come in for the weekend so we could visit our nation's capital together.  I have never been to D.C., so of course we made a weekend out of it!

I flew in early Friday morning and took the subway from the airport to Union Station.  The metro was pretty old and worn down, like, nothing had been updated since the early 70s old.  (I still love public transportation!)  But once I came up the escalators to Union Station, I started to get EXCITED.  Everything was so grand and iconic so far.  Every important building had beautiful marble pillars and a classic stately European look.  It started to dawn on me just how important our capital is; the people who make huge decisions for our country meet and live here.  This is where history happens, and has happened since the infancy of our nation.  I immediately started feeling more patriotic than ever and was aware of a feeling of awe and appreciation for our free country and the history that made us so.

We stayed at the Hyatt, which is near Capital Hill.  Tim was waiting for me, ready to start touring!  We first went to the capital, and WHOA; it is so grand and beautiful.  Nowhere else in our country does this kind of grandeur exist.  I was skipping around with excitement!  And everyone was so friendly, helping us find the best photo op and telling us where to get a free tour.  And everything is FREE!  Well, I guess my taxes were my ticket into these places, but still....

We then went over to where the Supreme Court rules.  Wow.  We were allowed to see everything!  It made me want to get more involved in the decisions that are made in our country.  It made me want to research more into our politicians and the bills that pass through government.  We the People...!!!

Then we carried on down the National Mall.  I told Tim we should go to the Smithsonian.  He wanted to go to the National Museum of the American Indian, which is what we ran into first, but it said Smithsonian on it.  I was thoroughly confused until I discovered that the Smithsonian is not one big museum; it's many many museums divided by theme.  We walked in, and guess what, it was FREE!  What a great idea because there is so much to see.

The National Museum of the American Indian was very powerful.  The history of our country's beginnings is very important.  I would like to say that Americans would never treat people today the way we treated Native Americans in the past, but I think that we would, and I think that we do.  It's awful to know a whole race of people were forced from their homes and their culture was attempted to be erased- that the children were to assimilate, not acculturate.  What an ugly part of human nature.  We need to accept differences in culture and customs and respect every individual's human rights.  Tim and I had some good discussions after a visit here.

After our first Smithsonian museum, I was getting hangry.  We ate lunch and then visited the National Archives, which was so cool!  The Bill of Rights are kept inside.  How amazing to see the documents that are the foundation of our Constitution and everyday way of life.  Visiting Washington D.C. gives a whole new appreciation for what our nation's founders have done to create a country of freedom and justice that we have today.

We continued on to the Natural History Smithsonian Museum and it was amazing!  They had all kinds of taxidermy animals on display.  The museums all had A LOT of information, but it was all arranged so as not to be too overwhelming.  We were able to see the evolution of man, the Hope Diamond, and lots of mammals. 


We kept moving down the National Mall (after a stop at Starbucks for an energy boost) and found ourselves at the National Monument.  It's pretty cool to be able to see this tall tower from all around the mall. 
We then carried on to the war memorials: World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War.  Another beautiful thing about D.C. are the honors bestowed upon those who have served and fought for our country.  It is a reminder of what it takes to keep a country (and our world) safe and free.

At the end of the National Mall is Abraham's Lincoln's memorial.  What an upstanding president who had the integrity and foresight to do what was best for our country and its people by keeping the union together and recognizing human rights.  Very powerful indeed.
After walking about 10 miles that day, it was time to take a taxi back to the hotel, rest, and get some food!  We ate some Italian for dinner and watched West Virginia win on the tele at our hotel bar.
On Saturday we went back to the Capital building to take a guided tour, and we're so glad we did!  We were able to see the rotunda where honors are bestowed upon past presidents and influential people like Rosa Parks and Thomas Edison.

Then we took the secret tunnel to the Library of Congress, which was soooooo cool!  The building reflects an Italian Renaissance style and it is beautiful!  Thomas Jefferson really encouraged the idea of a library for people to gain knowledge on a large variety of topics (don't remain closed off to just what YOU know!).  During the War of 1812 there was a fire, and many books were lost.  Jefferson offered his personal collection to the library, and it continues to grow.  People were in the main room doing research; it was really cool to see that the library is still in use for its original purpose.

We ate lunch at a great little burger place and decided it was time to rent bikes (our feet were TIRED).  We rode back to the National Mall to check out more Smithsonian Museums.  We stopped at the Air and Space museum to check out the Wright Brothers' plane and lots of other air crafts.
Then we stopped at the National Museum of American History to see Dorothy Gail's ruby slippers.  There was also a wing on First Ladies, but it was mostly about dresses and dinner that what they were known for?
Even after another coffee stop, Tim and I were losing steam.  We rode our bikes back to the hotel and watched basketball/Say Yes to the Dress.  After a good break, we walked to a delicious Thai restaurant and enjoyed a wonderful dinner together.  We then got the bikes back out and took a lovely (COLD) bike tour of the National Mall at night.  It was very romantic and a lot of fun; I love our bike adventures together!
Now it's Sunday and our flight home doesn't leave until 7:30pm.  We got breakfast, packed up, and got back on the bikes to check out the White House!  How cool to see where the presidents have lived and still live.  I didn't get a glimpse of Donald Trump, which did not disappoint me. 

We rode over to see the Thomas Jefferson and MLK Jr. memorials.  Then we had to check our bikes back in, so we walked over the Potomac River to visit Arlington Cemetery.  Also a very powerful reminder of the sacrifices made for this country.

We took the metro back to our hotel and were beat!  It was only 2:00pm, but we were too tired to do or see anything else!  So we headed to the airport and chilled.  Then we almost missed our flight after waiting for it for 3 hours!  There was a gate change that was not announced.  We saw people line up at our supposed gate, we got in line, and then Tim's ticket was denied.  The attendant asked if we were going to Orlando.  NO!!!  Where's our gate?  We had to cross the terminal and just BARELY made it on board.  SHEESH!  But we made it and it was an amazing trip together to Washington D.C.!!!! 

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