Hope everyone has a safe celebration!
D.C. Part 2
Wednesday morning was overcast and slightly wet so we decided that it would be Museum Day. We went to the National Museum of Natural History which really reminded me of the movie A Night at the Museum.
We saw the famous Hope Diamond and something even more special to me. Below is a photo of Dan standing next to a Rai stone from Micronesia. My father worked for the government and one of his jobs was to help the governor of Micronesia move to California and set up their embassy. My mom had a great experience over there and has all of these amazing stories. One of the things she always talks about is the stone money. This particular piece is 6' tall, 7" thick and weighs 2 metric tons!
It was still wet and overcast outside so we continued to our first non-Smithsonian museum, the National Gallery of Art (both West & East wings). Below is the East Wing from the Second Floor. The mobile to the right is by Alexander Calder.
I love how art museums are so incredibly inspiring . Here is the stairway to the Mezzanine and Second floor.
The coolest part was the underground moving walkway between the East & West galleries! The West gallery was a lot darker than the East gallery so I didn't really take pictures. We saw paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer that gave me goosebumps. I love to see paintings that I spent so much time learning about in school. I couldn't believe how small they were! I guess the West was our favorite because they had an American Snapshots exhibit that really captured both Dan & I.
We headed back to the hotel earlier than the day before because we were so exhausted. We were waiting for an e-mail from Dan's friend Melanie who teaches in Reston, Va. She and her husband Rich picked us up from our hotel and took us to Tyson's Corner Mall. We ate ate Gordon Biersch for dinner and then had to stop in Urban Outfitters. The ceiling of the mall was changing colors and the moment I took my camera out it went white. :/
Dan, Melanie, and Rich with our lovely hotel curtains as a backdrop.
It was wet and overcast on Thursday as well. The locals said it hadn't rained in 40 days so I was happy that the drought was getting some help. Since it wasn't raining yet, we decided to do as much outside stuff as possible in the morning. We visited Arlington Cemetery via the wonderful Metro. We saw the eternal flame at JFK's grave site. We got onto a bus and it took us to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to see the changing of the guard. Here is a photo of the newer cemetery amphitheater. You can see the original one from before 1920 here.
Another bus took us to the home of Mary Custis and her husband Robert E. Lee. The property was in the Custis family for several years. When Lee switched to the Confederate side during the war, they left this house and it was taken for what is now the cemetery. His once best friend, Montgomery C. Meigs chose his land for the cemetery to get back at him for switching sides. No furniture was inside of the house since they are renovating it now.
We went to the Hirshhorn Museum which is a really neat circular Smithsonian art museum. I was excited to see some amazing work by Georgia O'Keefe. As we were walking to our next destination we had to take a photo of another Art Museum I wish I had time to go through. Now everyone can know Dan's last name is Corcoran. It seemed only fitting to take a photo next to their sign. They had some amazing exhibits with Annie Leibovitz and Ansel Adams. I hope those travel to the SF MOMA!
I had to get a picture with R2D2! I had seen pictures of these on the usps website but I was thrilled to see one in real life!
I was really curious about going to the Daughter's of the American Revolution Library & Museum to do a little research about my maternal grandmother's family. That side of the family can trace back to the DAR but we don't know where we come from before then and that makes me really curious. Of course they wanted me to pay and become a member so we said thanks anyway and started walking to our next destination.
The Department of Commerce building? Not exactly... I wanted to see the National Aquarium of Washington D.C. It was rather hard to find since it was in the basement in this really odd building. I got Jenna a random sign that say "Beware of the Attack Lobster." It reminded me of Phoebe from Friends.
By the time we finished with the aquarium everything was closing up. We went back to the hotel and printed up our boarding passes . Then we had dinner at Fuddruckers which was conveniently next to our hotel. I have to admit I love bouncy balls and have a small collection. I happily added an 8 ball to it while at Fuddruckers.
Friday we woke earlier so we could eat, check out, and spend our last two hours in Washington D.C. before having to catch our flights back. The hotel was kind enough to hold our luggage for us while we walked to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving a second time. It was pouring rain so that was an ideal way to spend the remaining time. But there was a line and I really wanted to see the Jefferson Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial still. We walked in the pouring rain to the first one and got completely soaked. I had a lot of fun doing it! We both had our own umbrella so I had great difficulty in taking photos while holding my umbrella. It was a beautiful memorial!
We trekked on to the FDR Memorial since we were drenched any way. I'm so glad that we did because it turned out to be one of my favorite memorials! It was so long and perfect since Roosevelt was President for three terms. This was the coolest surprise for me. I was taking pictures with a little more confidence. When I got closer and saw beautiful reliefs in the wall.
Here is a very touching depiction of men waiting in the bread line during the depression.
I was so glad we fit Friday's morning visit into our schedule. It felt like a complete visit after seeing this last memorial. We high tailed it back to the Metro and then the hotel shuttle brought us back. I was going to change into warm, dry pants and socks when I turned around to find that Super Shuttle was 20 minutes early in picking us up. It was frightening how they pulled up right as we entered the hotel.
To give the readers digest version, we got stuck in traffic for over 2 hours (going in the opposite direction of the airport) and got to the Dulles airport with 19 minutes before our flight took off to Midway Chicago. Everyone was super nice and helpful in getting us to the plane. We ran through the airport to find that the plane hadn't even arrived yet. I managed to fall asleep on the plane and woke with a start as we touched down in Chicago. We arrived late and barely made our next flight back to Oakland airport. Luckily that plane was a little late as well. I got to see my Dad working at the airport before Zena picked us up (thank you) and whisked us home. My not so perfect day got a little yucky when I got my laptop out to find that the back light stopped working. Thankfully I have Apple Care so I hope this will take care of it.
And that is my detailed story of our visit to Washington D.C. If you have read all the way to the end I'm impressed! Let yourself eat a piece of candy tonight. :)