Sunday, November 28, 2010

Washington DC Trip Day Two 11-27-10

After a long flight day, we arrived in Washington DC around midnight, grabbed our checked bag, and went out into the cold to wait for the rental car shuttle, a long wait.  But it came finally and we got our Impala (with GPS), put our hotel into it and got there a little after 1:00 AM.  I was so tired on the plane but once we got to the hotel I wasn't tired anymore, so we stayed up a bit to unwind before we went to bed, still on West Coast time.
At 5:30 am (2:30 Pacific time) the damned alarm went off.  Hubby fiddled with it a while til it was quiet. For 10 minutes. Then on with the light and more fiddling and we finally got some sleep til he woke us up at 9 to go get breakfast. The complementary breakfast was pretty good though the boy was disappointed that they were out of hot chocolate.  The hotel has a complimentary breakfast that is more then pastries.  We had cheese omelette's, a ham slice and potatoes.  It wasn't bad.  After breakfast, we headed up to our room to get ready for our day.
We took the hotels shuttle to the Dunn Loring Metro Station.  Metro looks like Bart with the same cars. ticket machine and turnstiles.  We got all day passes that allowed us to ride the Metro until 9:00pm. It is a lot quieter and goes to a lot more places which makes it hard to understand.  After we got on the train, hubby started staring at the city map and the route map  trying to figure out how to get to the Smithsonian.  He even had to ask 2 young ladies for help.  They told him to get off at the Smithsonian Station. Duh! And we did and there we were. Somewhere. This is the mall and finally it looked like Washington DC.  We walked out and looked in one direction to the Capitol Building and the other to the Washington Monument. Across the way was a domed building which turned out to be  the Natural History Museum next to a bigger domed building, the National Gallery.  To the left of these was the Museum of American History and that is where the boy wanted to start.
At the Museum of American History we saw Judy Garland's Ruby Slippers from the Wizard of Oz, Fonzie's leather jacket, Minnie Pearls hat,  Michael Jackson's hat, President Lincoln's hat,  and Charlie McCarthy. Edgar Bergen's ventriloquist dummy, who didn't have a hat but did have a monocle. We also saw the  original muppets,and downstairs,  Julia Childs kitchen.
After this, we walked down the street to the National Museum of Natural history.  There were a ton of people in there, especially children, especially near the  dinosaurs. They have a great exhibit of dinosaurs but it's hard to get anywhere near them.  It was crowded, too, at the live butterfly exhibit and the line to walk in the habitat was too long to wait, but I did see some of it.
The Fossil Cafe was crowded, too,  so hubby said why don't we eat at the Air and Space Museum.  So we walked there but it is a lot farther then it looks.  We finally got there, starving, and they did have a cafeteria, a McDonald's.  We flew 3,000 miles for a Big Mac! Oh well. There are some amazing exhibits but we needed to get moving so we could catch the Old Time Trolley for a tour of Washington.  Hubby knew it stopped at the Air and Space Museum and it does.  Only we found out after a wait and a call to the company that it stops on the Independence Avenue side.  We got on and headed down the street listening to a lot of information about the museums and monuments.
We got off at the Lincoln Memorial which we wanted to see up close and I'm glad we did.  The building is enormous, beautiful, and crowded. Still, the site facing the Washington Monument across the Reflecting Pool, the marble steps and columns, and the simple grandeur of the building leaves one in awe. Here is a great statue of Lincoln, the emancipator. In front on the steps Martin Luther King gave his "I have a dream" speech. This is what we came to Washington to see.
Below the Lincoln Memorial was the Vietnam Memorial Wall, A vee of polished granite etched with 50,000 names of Americans who died in the war. Beautiful and sad. Around the Memorial, the trees were somber red or bare. On the other side, the Korean War Memorial, statues of a patrol of soldiers,  commemorates the men who fought in that forgotten war.
The next place we went to was the International Spy Museum. Hubby found it fascinating, he could relate to the stories and the history (because he's so old) but the boy wasn't ready for some of the stuff in there.
Then back to the hotel and dinner at a nice Vietnamese restaurant, and finally to bed after a long, long day.

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