Saturday, January 5, 2008

Washington DC: Day 2

Our first full day in DC! After studying the weather forecast, we'd decided that today sounded like it would be the safest bet for more time spent outside than any other, so today was to be our monument/memorial tour.

Breakfast at Camille's Sidewalk Cafe, which was semi-near the hotel and Metro. It was kind of meh - L liked his breakfast sandwich, but I don't like eggs and there wasn't really anything else available so I ended up with scrambled eggs on an English muffin. And I do mean "ended up" because there were some problems with the order and it took them a couple of tries to get me what I'd ordered. The fruit salad that accompanied our orders were very tasty however, and my cup of Earl Grey tea was delicious.

Our Metro stop today was McPherson Square, then we walked past the White House (and took pictures of course). There were several emergency vehicles and fire trucks nearby, and when we got back to our hotel that evening we found out that Cheney's office had been on fire.

Anyway, continuing on past the White House we saw the National Christmas Tree, set up on the Ellipse, and the 56 trees for all the states and territories that are around the main tree. Each small tree is decorated by a school, institution, group, or individual from the state or territory.

The Washington Monument was our first stop, and though we didn't try to get tickets to go inside, we still really enjoyed the view from it. It's really neat to turn and see the White House, Capitol, Jefferson Memorial, WW2 Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial from one spot.

Just west of the Washington Monument is the (fairly) new World War II Memorial, which we though was beautiful and very well designed. I took lots of pictures there, and even found L's grandfather listed in the computers there for his service. I took a picture of the screen, and it came out really well so we'll send that to his family (I know, they could look it up online, but it'll still make them happy to see it and know that it was viewed in DC).

After leaving the WW2 Memorial, we headed south towards the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. That was a fair amount of walking around the Tidal Basin, but it was pretty. I'd love to see it in the spring when the trees are blossoming! The Jefferson Memorial is so impressive, and the little museum in the base was fun too. Next up was the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, which we entered from the back, but it was still really nice.

Not too far away from our next stop we found a concession stand that was open and serving snacks, so we stopped for some refueling. Then we backtracked and walked through the Korean War Veterans Memorial which I thought was really nice. I'm not sure what my final picture count was at that memorial, but it was up there. Backtrack again and we were at the Lincoln Memorial. Unfortunately the exhibit area there was not open.

Continuing on the tour our guide book recommended, we went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is so powerful. I've seen the Three Servicemen Statue before, but didn't remember seeing the Vietnam Women's Memorial.

We were flagging a bit now, having done a lot of walking, but we continued east and walked through Constitution Gardens, and saw the Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial.

We were now done with being outside, so we headed south east some more towards the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which the book said gave tours, and it was open until 5. Perfect! Unfortunately, we walked down 15th Street and the tour entrance was on 14th Street so we had to go around the block (and that's a long block). And then really unfortunately, the tours had ended at 2:30 so we'd missed that.

Despite the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum being right next door, we decided to just call it a day and head back to the hotel to give our feet a break. According to the pedometer I was wearing, we'd walked over 11 miles! We were so happy that the Smithsonian Metro station was close and we could get off our feet.

But before we got to the metro, I realized that my hat was missing. It had turned sunny and I didn't need it so I'd tucked it into my purse, but it was no longer in my purse (It wouldn't fit with it zipped, so it was just smushed in the top as best I could get it.) L was not pleased. I was not pleased either because I love that hat & I knew it would be cold again later and I'd be wanting it! So we tried to retrace our steps, and turned back around and walked around the (very large) Bureau of Engraving and Printing. After we turned the corner of the (very large) building and headed back the other side, L spotted my poor hat in the middle of the sidewalk! I dashed ahead & grabbed it, pulling it down tight on my head. I was NOT about to risk losing it again! I had been praying the entire time we walked back over our path, and I was so thankful that my hat was there & hadn't been walked on or had the birds in the area mark it. What a relief! But oh, our poor feet - they had not needed those extra steps.

Finally, to the metro and back to the hotel, where after a brief rest and some TV watching, we felt up to finding a place for dinner. It took some persuading, but L eventually agreed to an Irish place that was just a block away from our breakfast location. I'd checked their menu online while we were in our room resting (love that free internet access!) so I knew it sounded good, especially the desserts. :)

Ireland's Four Courts was crowded and smoky, but we were starving so we decided to deal with the smoke. I'm glad we did because the food was really good. I had a caesar salad (so Irish) and potato and leek soup. The salad was fine, but the soup was fantastic! L had a buffalo chicken wrap (again with the traditional Irish food) and he really enjoyed it. We both enjoyed the amber beers we ordered after carefully listening to all the draft choices. Desserts all sounded good, but L had to try the peach and blueberry bread pudding. I got the key lime pie, after some consideration of the apple pie. Both desserts were great - I don't even like bread pudding and I thought it wasn't bad. L LOVED his bread pudding. Best of all was the fact that the mini fridge in our room meant we could take half of our desserts back with us to enjoy them at another time.

On the agenda for tomorrow: The National Archives. L's love of the movie National Treasure demanded a visit there.

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