Monday, April 13, 2009

Suz goes to Washington DC

Visit Washington DC- check!

I took a trip to Washington DC with 7 of the best girls I know this weekend and it a long and stressful at times, but I had a lot of fun and really like DC!

We left super early Friday morning and it only took about 4 hours to get to DC. We had a little problem with the hotel we were staying at because they lost our reservation, but they got it worked out and half of us ended up staying at The Normandy Hotel and the other half at their sister hotel- The Dupont Hotelfor the awesome rate of $79/night because I had the hook up. I love the Dupont Circle area (and yes that circle is kind of crazy to drive). It had a great feel and lots of cute restaurants and shops.

We took the Metro everywhere and it wasn't too hard to figure out. The escalators going down to the metro at our stop was kind of crazy though. It was way long and looked like you were going straight down into a big hole!

Friday afternoon we went to the Holocaust Museum and it was really powerful. I never knew too much about the Holocaust except that it was horrific and a lot of Jews were killed. I felt like I had read a novel after I left because you have to read all of these panels of information leading you through the whole story. My favorite parts were the model of what the concentration camp and how they tricked them in to getting gassed and the children's exhibit- Daniel's story.

After that we walked up to the Washington Monument and it was very tall and windy up there. It had already closed at 5 so we didn't get to go up to the top, but that was ok.

We then decided to take the Metro back to our hotels and get a little settled in. We then had to decide where to eat. This was a process, but we finally decided on Cafe Luna and it was good and very reasonably priced. By the time we were done it was almost 11 pm and we were all so tired and had such a long day ahead of us that we decided to call it a night.

The next day it was raining which sucked, but we got an early start at 9 am. We went to Starbucks and then ate breakfast at a very delicious restaurant/bookstore (weird combo huh?) called Kramers. They wouldn't let us bring in our Starbucks (even though their juice and coffee was included free with the breakfast) so I hid my cup, ordered a cup of their gross coffee, chugged it and poured in my yummy Starbucks. I had their Berry Berry Berry Pancakes and they were delicious. We then met up with the other girls who had eaten at their hotel and took the Metro to the Smithsonian.

Our first stop was the Museum of American History.

There were lines everywhere, so I didn't get to see everything. I saw the First Ladies exhibit with all gowns and other belongings from various first ladies, an exhibit called Within These Walls that walked you through 200 years of this house and the families that lived there and the changes the house went through, and The Price of Freedom- Americans at War exhibit that walked you through all the wars starting with the Revolutionary War and ending with the war in Afghanistan. I ate lunch in the cafeteria in this building and a wrap, water, sunchips, and cupcake cost me almost $20!

Next we went to the Museum of Natural History.

This museum was INSAINE. It was so packed I started feeling claustrophobic in the first 15 minutes. I got to breeze through a lot of the exhibits and see the Hope Diamond, but then we got the heck out of dodge because it was not worth it for the crowds.

After that we walked to Ford's Theater, but it was closed so we went across the street to see the house where Lincoln died.

Then we walked down to see the White House. They were unloading stuff for the Easter celebration and I got a few good pictures of the back. We were too tired to walk around to the front.

Then we walked down to the monuments. We started with the World War II memorial and then walked down to the Lincoln Memorial. I took lots of pictures because you could see straight down to the Capitol Building from here.

I really liked the Lincoln Memorial. It was huge!

Then we walked down to the Vietnam Memorial. This was one of my favorites too. We saw a lady in a wheelchair there that was etching a name off the wall on to a piece of paper and it was really touching.

I also thought this picture of my friend Heather turned out really good. She didn't know I was taking it and I just love her reflection in the monument and her cute little preggers belly at that one little moment.

After all this we felt like this:

But it was time to eat and we knew whatever we decided we would have to do more of this:

At this point my feet hurt so bad they felt like they were broken! I could barely stand on them. But we walked all the way up to Georgetown and ate at a restaurant called J. Pauls. It was pretty good, but honestly it was as far as we could walk and had the shortest wait on the block.

I want to make another trip to DC just to go shopping in Georgetown. They had so many stores I wanted to go in, but I knew I had no money to shop with right now. I think I will plan another trip with a shopping buddy and hit up those stores and do some things that I missed like the Art Museum and the Jefferson Memorial and the cute little cupcake shop near our hotel.

We finally made it back to the Metro and back to our hotel about an hour after we left the restaurant. (Made me think twice about complaining about my morning commute!) It was now almost midnight and we just went back to the hotel and passed out.

The next morning we got up and got breakfast at Teaism and Starbucks- mainly for me because I don't like tea. Abby and Kristin went to get the car out of what was according to them "the tiniest parking garage ever" while I walked back to the hotel to get the stuff ready to go. On the way back I ran in to the cutest street farmers market ever! I had seen people walking by with these beautiful flowers and I was wondering where they got them and now I had found the motherload. There were so many tulips, daffodils, blossoms everywhere, it was hard to decide. I ended up getting a bundle of peach blossoms and a bundle of daffodils for $10. They brightened my day and might have been my most favorite part of the trip.

Aren't they pretty?

I had wanted to stop at the Arlington National Cemetery on our way out, but there were problems with the GPS and Abby was nervous about city driving and I think everyone was anxious to get home, so we skipped it.

Overall it made me wish I would have taken a city job right out of school for a year or two just so I knew what it was like to live in a city. I would get good at navigating the Metro, walk like I knew exactly where I was going, have my "spots" in the city, and would even love to go jogging around the monuments and parks. However, I know I would be annoyed with all the tourists. I WAS a tourist and I was even annoyed with them.

I learned a lot this weekend. Here are some random observations from my trip:

- There are a lot of homeless people in DC and most don't ask for money outright (one we saw passed out on his bag in a park with his hand stuck down in a Cheerios box, and another was lying on the side of the side walk completely covered up by a sleeping bag), but the ones that do always asked me for money to get a sammich. I gave one guy a dollar and wanted to tell him to spend it on some deodorant. Another one asked me for sammich money as I was going in Starbucks, so I brought him out a bagel and cream cheese. I was starting to wonder if sammich was code work for crack because I am pretty sure most of them were cracked out. It was just different because you don't see that as much in Raleigh.

-DC fashion seems to love cute coats, scarves, skinny jeans, and i-pods. The cute metro looking ones anyway.

-I learned a lot about columns. Thanks to Ellie I can now identify Corinthian, Ionic, and Doric columns.

- I also learned about soldier on horses statues. If the horse in the statue has all four legs down then the soldier died of natural causes. If the horse has one leg up the soldier died after the war due to injuries he sustained in the war. If the horse has 2 legs up reared back, then the soldier died in action.

Overall, I like DC and I plan to go back again- just not on a busy weekend (maybe even during the week?) and with someone who wants to do exactly what I want to do so we can make an itinerary and get the most bang for our buck!


GinSpaghetti said...

Fun! Next time you go up let me konw, my best friend has been living up there since after high school (so like 10, 11 years now...). She knows all of the best places and could totally hook you up!

Akirah said...

Yay! You've crossed another thing off the list. I really like D.C. There is so much to see and lots of history. The last time I was there, I went to the Holocaust museum and it was incredibly sad, yet inspiring. I'm glad you had a good time...and it's great you were able to document your trip too!

heidi said...

Sounds like a fun trip! I was there when I was 10... maybe it's time to go back for a visit.

magda said...

So glad you had fun in my city! DC's a totally wild place. You should come sometime not on a weekend, and experience the non-tourist version; it seems like every weekend is tourist-time downtown anymore.

I'm impressed by how much you got done, though! You guys saw a lot!

Shoshanah said...

My parents took me to DC several times when I was little. My favorites back then were the Air & Space Museum and the Natural History Museum. (I'm pretty sure those were both in DC at least and not on a different vacation.)

And if you're curious they wrote a book Daniel's Story based on that children's exhibit. I read it over and over growing up. It's a children's book, but still informative.

Single Girl said...

I love DC! And you are just checking things off your list left and right.

I need to make a DC visit again soon.