Thursday, November 5, 2015

a mini vacation - part one

We went on a nice autumn driving trip up to Washington DC to spend a couple of days.  We set out early, expecting about a ten hour drive...but by the time we took a wrong exit, got back on track, got stuck in traffic, tried to find a public garage (which turned out to be closed weekends so we had to surrender to valet parking), and got checked into our hotel...over twelve hours had passed.

But we were up and going, early the next day.  The weather was perfect for doing some walking.
First up...the White House!   Only a view from outside public tours.

Of course a big delivery truck had to be parked out front to spoil our photos.

This is as close as you are allowed.

There was a White House visitor's center nearby (free). They had a short film and lots of things to look at, items that had been owned by various presidents, and furniture and dishes that had been used in the White House...and more.

Next we headed to the Smithsonian Museum area.  The first one we came to happened to be the Museum of American History.  Like all the Smithsonian Museums, it is free of charge and so enormous that you can't begin to see everything there.
Inside was  inaugural gowns of the First Ladies, the Ruby Slippers from Wizard of Oz, the original Star Spangled Banner flag that inspired our National Anthem...and my favorite - Julia Child's actual kitchen!

She donated it to the Smithsonian in 2001...everything just as it had been all the years she had been cooking in it. 

We regretfully had to call it a day when we couldn't walk another inch.   We took a cab to a well known restaurant that was near our hotel, " Old Ebbit Grill ", founded in 1856 and frequented by many presidents through the years.   

After a nice nap back at our hotel, we took a cab to Union Station, for an evening trolley tour of the city.
Union Station is a historical building, but is still in use as an Amtrak station. It's like a mall inside, with shops and a huge food court.   Many of the tour buses and trolleys start their tours from there.

Here is "Smiley" our tour guide and trolley driver.

We really enjoyed seeing the buildings and monuments lit up.  First was the US Capitol Building...the dome covered with scaffolding.  Sixty million dollars worth of repair work is being done to the 150 year old cast iron dome.  It will be finished before the 2017 presidential inauguration (they hope).

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument reflected in the Tidal Basin.

Our tour took us out to Arlington Cemetery for a stop at the Iwo Jima Memorial.  It's bigger than I expected. It's the largest bronze statue in the world.

Next was a stop at the Lincoln Memorial, with enough time to climb the steps... 

and see the President Lincoln statue inside.

 From his chair, Lincoln has this lovely view of the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool.

There were lots of people sitting on the steps enjoying the evening and the beautiful view.

And we ended the day the same way we started it...with a view of the White House, the other side this time.

Our trolley driver was nice enough to let us off the trolley near this last stop, since our hotel was just a couple of blocks away.  What a day!

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