Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Tourists On The Waddle... In Dee Cee.
Welcome back kidz, time for another exciting chapter in what passes for so-called "real" life! This post is a follow up to my previous regarding the NASA Social in Washington DC. The emphasis today shall be on touring around our nation's Capitol, and such.
So let me begin by saying that WunderWife and I traveled from our home (The Hundred Acre Woods By The Inland Sea) by car to South Bend Indiana, there to go on by Amtrak. What lovely way to travel back and forth across the country. The service was great, the food wonderful, and the lack of tension and The Defartment of Home Made Security (You know, TSA; Totally Sucking Arse) made for a pleasant journey, there and back again. We both enjoyed being able to stretch our legs, have some interesting conversations, and wake up at our destinations! Next time you travel, time permitting, Amtrak is worth a look. And at less than half the price of airlines, it becomes quite attractive!
So, we're in DC, and have a couple of days to kill. We actually planned to stay on after the NASA Social so we could play tourist, and explore. And Washington DC did not disappoint! Our hotel was a couple of blocks from the National Mall (no, not the Mall where Elvis lives, but rather a ginormous area with lots of historic buildings). Having a limited budget for time, we concentrated on seeing as much of this area as we could. Along the way, one of our new best-friends-for-life and fellow #SpaceTweep, Chad decided to stay over for a day and hoof around with us. This was great as he is quite the local historian! Mind you, it took WunderWife to read the map, but between the three of us, we covered a LOT of ground!
Instead of going thru each and every building in excruciating detail, I'm gonna more or less paint the scenes with a broad brush, and in a hurry, much the way we waltzed around the Mall ourselves. We started out at the Easterly end, a few blocks from the Capitol Building. That's where the "We sucked the fun out of Dysfunctional Congress" people don't appear to be doing very much for our Country? So we didn't go. (insert chuckles here)
Instead, we proceeded down towards the Washington Monument. It is (by law) the tallest structure in DC, and a wonderful visual reference if you ever need to know where you are! Since it's closed for upgrades, and since we weren't about to attempt to climb that mountain, we enjoyed from afar!
So down we go to the World War II Memorial. This is by far the largest Memorial on the Mall (as far as we could tell) and very impressive! It was designed, and built as a centerpiece and it succeeds admirably.
As we continue to the Lincoln Memorial, we discover that the Reflecting Poll has a herd of ducks living there (probably on Government Assistance) and the bitingly cold wind has created a rough surface on the Pool, so no Reflecting? But very beautiful!
Then up a gazillion steps to see Honest Abe atop his throne, and again, the sense of history is palpable. I'll link to more pictures at the bottom of this post.
Saying farewell to Mr. Lincoln and we head to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall. Again, very moving, and brings back so many personal memories of a very turbulent time. Interesting that The Wall actually starts at ground level, and rises up to head height, then gradually down again to the ground. Also do NOT miss the sculpture of three soldiers, and don't miss the VN Nurses sculpture either!
So, for a bit of light-hearted history, we hoofed across to the Einstein Memorial, which is quite well thought out, especially with the regards to the Star Map on the floor! WunderWife could hardly sit in old Al's lap before sliding off!
Back across the Mall we go to explore the Korean War Memorial, which I thought to be the most sobering. Life sized sculptures, done quite realistically, of a patrol going thru scrub brush, and an accompanying Wall with etchings. when you approach the Wall, and see the reflection of the sculptures, you get goose bumps.
We proceed over towards the FDR Memorial, which we all agreed reminded us of a Zoo? Then the MLK Memorial (we all agreed our least favorite and most poorly done). Seems a national shame they gave him such a poorly designed Memorial.
On to the Jefferson, and more steps (why yes please and thank you) and thru the biting wind. We gave Tom our regards and decided to schlep back to the hotel. We had been hiking along, and basking in, all the history and beauty of these Memorials for five straight hours now! Very strong sunshine (Yay!) and very cold wind (Ouch!) made for three very tired, but happy folks.
We bid adieu to Chad at his Metro Station, and thanked for him going with us. His knowledge of the history of the place made each item all the more personal to us!
The next day and a half, before we rail back to the Midwest, we toured even more! We went thru some more Smithsonian Museums (they're FREE!) and over to the White House. Barack and Michelle must not have known we were there, as they didn't invite us in for lunch? Did you know that there was a time when the average person could just show up at the White House (as long as it was Thursday afternoon) and the President would receive you, personally, so you could chat? No, really!
Ah well, lastly I need mention the food in this fair city. The food was great! From the Turkish Steak Wrap we had for breakfast one day from a food truck, to the Hamilton, Carmine's and even The Old Ebbit Grille, it was all fantastic! Good thing we did all that walking, or we both would have added a few pounds?
If you have the time, you need to see our nations's Capitol. The sense of history there is unlike any other place in America. The people are warm and friendly, and the prices are lower than NYC! But when you go, plan for about a week! Once you get there, you realize that there is so much to do, you don't want to short change yourself!
If you wish to see more of my photos from this trip, please go to: