Thursday, April 01, 2010

Washington D.C.

[A walk in the woods near John and Sue's before the sight-seeing begins.]

The Dude and I returned last night from our whirlwind tour of the nation’s capital. We had a great time, and were lucky enough to stay with my brother-in-law (John) and his wife (Sue) who along with Otto were gracious hosts, ferrying us to the subway stop and other locations around town.

I’ve been to DC about 4 times – including living there for a semester in college while I was a congressional intern. It’s always a blast – but there is just too much to do.



Our sightseeing adventures began Sunday when we all drove down to Mt. Vernon. I was excited as it was on the list of DC area sites that I’d never visited. Even the Dude was excited, as every 9 year old knows George Washington, – unlike say Woodrow Wilson. (On Monday, Sue drove us around Georgetown, Embassy Row, and at one point, past Woodrow Wilson’s house – big yawn and “who?” from the Dude.)

Unlike many old historical sites, which usually seem smaller in real life, Mt. Vernon was huge. It was quite an expanse – even though the historical site is significantly smaller than its original 8000 acres.

Monday we were on our own – after Sue drove us to the Metro stop. The Dude was very excited about taking the subway but quickly learned that a slight predisposition to motion sickness, together with a little claustrophobia can make subway rides less than fun – especially during rush hour!

Despite Monday’s drizzle and cold, we hit three museums – which is one too many we learned. We enjoyed the International Spy Museum (I had never been there before.) The Air & Space Museum is always fun if not crowded. The moon rock was something of a letdown – being rather small and smooth. The Dude expected big, gray, and rough.

After those two museums, we soldiered on to the Museum of American History where we encountered one velvet-rope-line too many. No way were we going to wait an hour to see the ruby-red slippers! They had a great exhibit on Lincoln, but after that we ready to call it a day.



Wednesday dawned sunny and windy and shortly after arriving in town got a real treat – a Presidential sighting. As we strolled around the east side of the White House we observed a helicopter circling overhead, and then police stepped out to block the street and sidewalks. The Dude was confused, but it didn’t take long to figure out what was going on – and we had a front row seat.



What could have been my best picture is kind of a dud. Don’t know why I didn’t wait about 5 seconds until the Presidential limo was directly in front of me – like where the DC police car is in the picture. The Dude blew the picture too, but all-in-all, it was an exciting event.

After that we walked around the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Vietnam Memorial, we met a school friend of the Dude’s for lunch. We knew they were going to be in DC so we arranged a little get-together. I think the Dude was tiring of hanging with 40 year olds.

After lunch we considered taking another run at Dorothy’s ruby red slippers but decided to go to the Zoo instead – more subway and more walking.

Not much to say about the Zoo. Zoos don’t really impress me – but we did get some nice Panda views. My limited experience with Pandas is that they are rather inactive creatures but these guys were moving around when we were there, so the Dude got some nice pictures.

After the Zoo, we trudged back to the subway and downtown for another stroll around the White House. Alas, we didn’t get lucky that time, but did purchase a nice Obama t-shirt for the Dude and then it was off to John and Sue’s for dinner.

Wednesday – the last day – was hard. The Dude was exhausted and vowed to not set foot in one more museum. But we had time to kill before our flight, so off we went to tour northwest DC, Embassy Row, the VP’s house and a few other “must see” sites before arriving at the airport.

[The Dude flashes a V for victory, alongside Winston Churchill in front of the British Embassy.]

All-in-all it was an excellent adventure for the guys. Many thanks to our hosts John, Sue, and Otto!

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