Saturday, March 8, 2014

Washington D.C. 2014.

I put 2014 because I have high hopes I will get back to D.C. in the next few years.  I've been there many times and I love it.  My trip last week was for a work conference.  (For those who don't know, I am working part time for Steele County Transitional Housing doing work very similar to my old job.  In fact, I am working under the exact same grant, just a different employer and part time.) I went with a co-worker/friend, Keithia, which was a bonus.  Despite not just one, but two canceled flights on our way out there, we were able to do some sight seeing on our very minimal free time.

We were initially scheduled to leave Monday morning, get there Monday afternoon, and have time to fart around D.C. before our Tuesday and Wednesday conference.  Our flight was canceled for Monday morning due to severe winter weather on the East coast, so we were set for a Monday late afternoon flight.  When we were just about to the airport, I got a call notifying me that flight had been canceled, too.  We got on another flight for Tuesday morning leaving at 5:55am which was great, meant we would miss our scheduled White House tour!  These days, those tours require a written request via your local legislator and, if approved, a specific date and time is set.  Needless to say, we were very disappointed we had to miss it!

We landed Tuesday morning then headed straight to our hotel, also where the conference was being held.  We checked in and went right down to the training...exhausted.  Tuesday was a loooooong day, so we didn't do anything exciting unless you count lunch at Kramerbooks (jerk chicken tacos).  I ordered some mushroom and spinach flatbread and lobster bisque (no soup for you!) from room service and went to bed very early.

Wednesday was much better.  The training was great, lunch was great (BGR The Burger Joint, original burger with swiss cheese and grilled pineapple-yum!).  We walked around for about an hour looking at the neighborhoods, counting Starbucks locations.

"All Are Welcome."
My mom's cousin, Christy, lives fairly close in Virginia, so she drove into the city to meet us for dinner.  We went to Mourayo for some Greek cuisine (Ravioli Vytina).  It was delicious, but I've had Greek a few times and was hoping the menu would include Saganaki.  Anyway, it was great to see a familiar face/visit with extended family while on the trip.

Our flight home left at 2:10pm on Thursday, so we hoped to get to the airport around 12:10 knowing that left us some wiggle room.  We didn't check any luggage because it's just a pain in the butt, so we did our sightseeing with our carry on luggage.  We knew this would end up happening, but I did not plan ahead and bring a backpack.  Rather, I had a small duffle bag with one shoulder strap-ouch.  We headed out about 8:30, stopped for coffee then on to the Metro. This was a busy time of day to be using public transportation, so we were pretty cramped, luckily we didn't have far to go. 

Here begins the marathon of sightseeing... (I'm not necessarily going to include the 'best' photos that really show each monument since I have over 100 photos and you can find aerial shots all over the interwebz, just going to show my favorites. Edit: who am I kidding, most of the photos will inevitably end up on here.)  For those of you familiar with DC, or at least the National Mall part of DC, you'll notice we did some zig-zagging.  It was all in the name of our plans to see as much as we could squeeze in and our subsequently evolving transportation plans.

We were still sad about our tour, so we stopped by for a photo.
One of the many great quotations from the National WWII Memorial.

My favorite D.C. monument, the Lincoln Memorial.

Saying the Lincoln Memorial is my favorite is kind of unfair, because they're all special in their own way.  This is from the Korean War Veterans Memorial and it has always seemed so eerie to me, which is exactly what makes it so memorable.  It just seems the most real out of them all.

KWVM from the front.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Remember, our goal was to be at the airport at 12:10.  At this point, it was 11:30 and we were a short walk and quick metro ride away from the airport.  I'm cringing as I'm typing this, but after all the times I have been to Washington D.C., I had still never been to Arlington National Cemetery.  So, we decided to go for it.  It was my one "must see" on the trip and we were so close.  I took a friend's advice and used the Uber app to call a cab (super slick by the way) and we were on our way.  We got there at 11:40 and headed straight for the visitor center.  We were asked if we were trying to find anything in specific and I quickly said, "we have to leave for the airport in 20 minutes (and that was a stretch...), what will that get us?"  JFK's gravesite was a 10 minute walk, so 20 there and back, follow the signs.  You got it, lady.

Bobby Kennedy's grave site.  I took this photo because of the coins.
JFK & family's grave site with the eternal flame.
Somehow I never knew they had a stillborn daughter, so sad.

OK, so I was literally walking distance from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the clock was majorly ticking on us getting to the airport in time.  We still had to walk to the metro station (right outside the cemetery entrance, but still), wait for it to arrive, and get to the airport.  We were already walking as quickly as we could while still being respectful of the fact that we were in a cemetery, a very important one at that.  But I just couldn't stand the thought of not seeing it yet being so close.  So, I said let's go for it.  We were still carrying our carry-on luggage and it had been a few hours by now with quite a bit of walking.  We followed the signs and as we were getting closer I heard the clock strike noon.  Part of me felt like Cinderella and the other part of me was desperately hoping the Changing of the Guard was about to happen and we would be there to see it.  I really didn't want to get my hopes up since we had the smallest window of time possible.

 As luck would have it, we walked up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier just as they were starting the Changing of the Guard (click for a YouTube video).  I can't even attempt to describe the precision those men have.  Unreal.

And just like that we had to skeedaddle right outta there.  I wish we could have really taken our time there and explored more.  We only saw a fraction of the cemetery.  I took photos of graves and plan to look up some of the names to see what I can find.  I was surprised to see so many headstones with multiple wars listed - I guess I never realized so many who made it through one war went on to serve in more.

I hate being late, but there was one final memorial I wanted to see on our way to the metro.  (It really was on our way, I pinky swear.)  This one should be important to anyone, but especially since I know some pretty amazing women who are serving/have served (you know who you are), I had to see it.

And that officially ended our DC in a day (half a day?) tour!  Keithia joked that we should shoot for the Amazing Race next...we totally should, but no thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing and well done. I'd have been freaked out though in fear of missing connections...:)


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