Brian and I recently took a quick trip to DC. I hadn’t been downtown since I was going into 4th grade and I don’t think Brian had been downtown since before high school. It was overall a good trip. The weather cooperated and the time of year and days we were visiting meant there were very few tourists or crowds.
We stayed at the Washington Court Hotel. It was 3 or so blocks from the Capitol building. We walked everywhere and my calves were screaming at me for days (literally, like 5 days after the trip my calves were still sore). I guess I should have ditched my fear of “looking like a tourist” and worn tennis shoes both days :).
We arrived around noon-ish and found our hotel. Check-in wasn’t until 4 but were allowed to do “pre” check-in and stow our bags in the concierge. We asked where we could park our car because the valet noticed our wide-eyed astonishment at the $43.00/night parking fee for the hotel. He mentioned Union Station only a few blocks north of the hotel. So we headed over. The $20/night price-tag was a bit more palatable.
After parking the car and making sure laptops, gps, other stuff were safely moved to the trunk we set out for our first day of site seeing. We walked to the Capitol. And around it. And noticed lots of police dudes with very large guns loitering on the steps. We didn’t linger long…too many other things to see.
Arriving at the back of the Capitol we got a good view of the Washington monument in the distance. Brian humored me (and got laughed at by a passerby) as I tried to take his picture “touching” the tip of the monument. It reminded me of when I visited when I was younger and my parents tried to take a similar shot.
We learned that from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial (one end of the National mall to the other) was 2 miles. We set off with gusto planning to swing into a couple of museums along our trek. We stopped first in the Museum of Natural History. Walking into the museum I got scolded by the security guard. I was just following a group of people into the building and noticed the sign on the door I entered said museum employees only. I didn’t see any other way in so I just followed along. Brian, meanwhile, was trying to get me to stop and stood outside trying to figure out what to do. I got all the way to the security guard (museum employees apparently don’t have to be checked, they just get to waltz right in) before I got stopped. I guess my bewildered expression gave it away that I probably wasn’t a museum employee. I’m pretty convinced that if I had pressed in closer to the group and looked like I knew what I was doing I could have easily just walked in with no questions asked. But anyway, the guard was like, you can’t go in this way and motioned me to go over to this other side where you actually have to pass through a metal detector.
Well, Mr. Grumpy Security Guard was manning that station and didn’t like that I didn’t walk back outside and come in the “visitor” door. So he made me go back out the doors I had come through and literally come in the door RIGHT next to them. I questioned him on this and he didn’t like that. I was like, geez, I’m sorry I was just following the crowd. And then he made some snippy comment about how I shouldn’t just follow the crowd and how it might get me into trouble (or something like that….).
So we finally got through that ordeal…I think Brian was embarrassed for me, and I was just annoyed and peeved at the security guard and what a joke it was anyway. We walked around maybe one exhibit on the first floor and realized it wasn’t much different than the natural history museum in Raleigh we had visited just days before. Yes, the exhibits were much larger and maybe the animals on display were a bit more exotic…but really, we weren’t in the mood to read about animals from around the world at the moment. So we headed back out and on toward the next museum.
I forgot to mention, we swung through the sculpture garden on our way to the first museum. We broke the rules and touched the sculptures. Well, I did anyway. Brian says he didn’t touch it. I believe him. Can you see him peeking through the window?
We walked through pretty much the entire Museum of American History. It was interesting. Nothing really to note about any of the exhibits…but we DID see some really important person. At least, we assume he was an important person based on the 8 men in suits with earpieces milling around him and the guy getting a personalized tour of the museum. I even walked up to one of the suits and asked who the guy was (because we had no clue) and was told, “It’s not important” with a sly smirk. I moseyed on my way, and again I think Brian was embarrassed for me. Brian also wondered if these guys were just secret-service-agents-in-training. I don’t know, but I did learn that I’m glad I’m not famous and don’t have to have protective men around me all the time and be isolated from everyone. But that’s just me.
Next, we continued our trek to the Lincoln Memorial. About another mile to go. I think the Washington Monument is about halfway between. We made it to the memorial and ran up the steps. Of course the theme song from Rocky played through our heads, but no we didn’t do the jab, jab, fists pumping the air moves he does at the top. Ok, maybe I did…juuuuuust a little. I mean, I know these weren’t even the stairs from the movie, but you can’t help feeling like you’re in that scene when you run up a tall set of stairs. Yet again, I think Brian was embarrassed for me. Oh, but not to worry, I made him pose for another awkward photo in front of Mr. Lincoln himself.
After taking the picture we sat down on the top of the stairs; there isn’t really much else to do at the Lincoln Memorial other than go in, be quiet, and look at Mr. President and feel slightly awkward. There was some sort of presentation that was going to be done but we didn’t stick around for it. We just sat and just looked out over from where we had just come. My legs were cramping at this point. We decided to start heading back to the hotel and officially check in. We stopped back at the Washington Monument and helped two girls trying to take a self-portrait…wasn’t working so well so I volunteered Brian to take it for them. I think they appreciated it.? Hey! There’s me! No, but seriously, I liked this shot. Good job Brian!
We finally dragged ourselves back to the hotel, checked in and crashed on the king-size bed. We called our friend G for a recommendation for dinner and he suggested Old Ebbitt Grill. We called and got a reservation for 8. And good thing we did! After our mile walk there we still had to wait 20 minutes to be seated. The place was PACKED. We sat between a couple on their first date and this older lady that must frequent the place by herself a lot. It was interesting, but the food was yummy. The restaurant was directly across the street from the Justice Building which Brian and I mistakenly took for the White House. What? It was big…and white….
We made it back to the hotel and were exhausted. Brian rubbed my calves, which were incredibly painful at that point. I went to bed wondering how I would be able to do all the walking we had planned for the next day….!?