Monday, April 12, 2010
Trip to the District
We went on vacation to D.C. last week and it was fantastic!
It has been a long time since we had a full week just to relax and do our own thing and be away from our lives for a little while. All this was made better by the fact that we were in our nation's capitol with SO many things to do and see.
We spent the first couple days with Jaala's family (Grandparents, an Aunt and her family, and an Uncle and his wife.) getting to know each other a little and just relaxing together. Our shelter arrangements were with Jaala's grandparents most of the week and the last two days we spent with Jaala's newly married uncle Jeff/J.C. (as he likes to be called). Everyone was incredibly hospitable and kind and genuinely fun to be around. Overall we had a wonderful trip made better by the fun people we were with so often.
We started out our touristing by walking around the D.C. monuments, Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson. On our way back into the city from the Jefferson memorial we stumbled across Pres. Obama's motorcade returning from the opening day pitch at the Nationals Baseball game. What a pleasant coincidence.
These fire fighters were at the FDR memorial, there appeared to have been some sort of bomb threat because all the water areas of the memorial were taped off with police tape.
Inside the capitol rotunda, which we were able to see thanks to some connections that Jaala's grandpa has, it is amazing.
Jaala's one mission was to get a photo like this. She looks so TALL!
This is the view from the balcony of the building that Jaala's grandpa works in as part of the Department of Agriculture. Pretty cool.
We took a quick trip past the White House at the end of the day.
We did our best to hit all the main Smithsonian museums, they are all free afterall, and here follows our trappings from those visits.
entrance to the Natural History museum
Hope Diamond, out of its setting for the first time in a long time.
Spirit of St. Louis, flown by Lindbergh for the first transatlantic flight ever.
The Real Wright brother's plane. You can see Jaala at the right edge of this shot. She wasn't too into the Air and Space museum. It was a guy's museum. I thought it was awesome naturally.
American History-Kermit the frog.
Dorothy's ruby slippers
Michelangelo is a party dude.
We also saw the original star-spangled banner, but we were not allowed to take photos. The same thing was the story at the National archives, where the Declaration of Independence and such are housed. Sadly the Declaration is REALLY starting to fade. It is practically blank now except for the first few lines. John Hancock's signature couldn't hardly be seen at all. The Constitution on the other hand still looks very good and is displayed in its entirety for the first time ever.
the Holocaust museum. Another wonderful museum we were not allowed to take pictures of. A very powerful place.
one of our last Metro visits. We went to the waterfront to take a boat out to Mt. Vernon, George Washington's mansion in Virginia right on the Potomac river.
It was such a peaceful and reverent place, despite all the obnoxious middle-schoolers on field trips for visits. I would certainly have loved to live there.
On our last day we took a day trip with Jaala's uncle Jeff to the Shenandoah national park and drove along Skyline drive, a 100 mile road through the heart of the park that offers amazing views of the Shenandoah valley, sung about in John Denver's Country Roads.
This is great falls park, also in VA. but home to some very large falls of the Potomac river. Click the panorama below to see a stitching I made of three separate photos. (I know it looks blurry here, but if you click you can see a legit version of it.)
This one short blog post doesn't do justice to all the wonderful and breathtaking things we saw on our trip to D.C. Nor to the feeling that is so firmly reinforced of the power of America and how important understanding our nation's origins is. We will certainly be returning to D.C. for further discovery and inspiration. Thanks to all who made our trip so wonderful and worry-free, we are greatly in your debt.