washington dc, day seven

i was really sad when the last day of our trip arrived–i definitely was not ready to come back. i was having so much fun exploring this new city, and luckily our flight left late enough in the day that we had time for one last adventure. we got up semi-early, said goodbye to meredith (so sad!) and then started off on our trek. we had wanted to see national cathedral, and had also heard that embassy row was very cool, so we decided to make a walk of it.

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we grabbed some coffee on the way and then walked up through all the embassies, past the naval observatory and over to national cathedral. the cathedral is gigantic and took 83 years to build. i didn’t realize before going there that it had only been finished i think in 1990–crazy recent! we didn’t have much time in the nave of the church due to a memorial that was about to take place, but we did wander around the grounds and the lower level a bit.

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we decided to metro back for time and feet saving reasons (good choice!) and then we stopped by meredith’s place to grab our stuff, let mabel out one last time and then head on our way to national airport.

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all in all, an incredible trip. can’t wait to go back!

washington dc, day six

day six was our major walking day where we finally broke down and took the metro because our feet could no longer carry us.  we headed out first thing to the air and space museum (the old one, not the new one in maryland i think) to see lots of planes and rockety space things.

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it was really crazy to see the space stuff and read the information about the missions to the moon, etc. here the first apollo that made it to the moon:

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we left the air and space museum to walk over and see the jefferson and fdr monuments/memorials. we walked down along the other side of the holocaust museum, which was nice to see

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jefferson’s rotunda was much larger than i expected, quite beautiful. i only wish i had been there on a sunny spring day with all the cherry blossoms in bloom at title basin!

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fdr’s memorial was very different from all the rest of the monuments in dc, but very interesting to see. it’s a series of four different “outdoor rooms” representing his four terms of office.

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from fdr we walked over towards the lincoln memorial to grab some food and then head over the bridge to arlington cemetery.

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we saw jfk’s gravesite, as well as ted kennedy’s resting place. from the kennedy site we wandered over to memorial amphitheater and then to the tomb of the unknowns.

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memorial amphitheater was quite impressive with the amount of white marble–there was white marble everywhere, including the tops of all the benches.

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we got to witness the changing of the guard, which was very cool to see. from there we walked through arlington, past the netherlands carillon

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and over to the iwo jima memorial. it was much larger than i expected, and very beautiful to see.

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after iwo jima we walked to the metro which we finally took for the first time of our trip–on our second to the last day. my feet were literally about to fall off. we got off the metro and went back (yes again) to our courtyard at the portrait gallery (shocking it wasn’t the scuplture garden, i know) for a snack and to wait for meredith to meet us for dinner.

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washington dc, day five

another semi low-key day for brandon and i (we really pushed ourselves those first few days).  we first headed to the national archives bright and early–there’s always a line, so we tried (and succeeded!) to beat the crowds.  we barely had to wait to see all the important documents for our nation (the declaration of independence, constitution, and bill of rights).  we also saw a few other documents and things along the way, and learned more about some historic events…

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i didn’t expect the constitution to be so very…faded. you can barely make out anything, even john hancock’s signature. what i want to know, is how come the declaration and bill of rights, written around the same time roughly, are in so much better shape? and why is the magna carta totally legible? obviously i can’t read it due to a language barrier, but i mean, that was written in 1215 and the ink is still really dark.

so after the national archives, we met up with one of my middle school friends–by total coincidence she was in dc visiting a cousin. we grabbed some potbelly sandwiches and headed to the sculpture garden (yes, again! we were close by) to eat.

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these pictures were taken about 1.5 hours before brandon and i got drenched in a downpour, but more about that later.

so post-delicious sandwiches, brandon and i dropped elizabeth off at the metro and then wandered over to the old post office building. the building was totally empty, and we got to go up in the tower to get a beautiful view of the city. we also got to see marine one land at the white house, which was pretty cool.

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the weird effect on the photo is due to taking pictures through the safety/security wires seen here:

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after the post office museum, we got caught in a big downpour and got SOAKED. we pulled into the portrait gallery to see the atrium skylight thing by norman foster, as well as dry off–as in, i stood under the hand dryer to help dry out my clothes.

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it was definitely worth the rainy trek. we saw some cool old portraits, some amazing photographs, and then settled down in the courtyard for some snacks and sketching.

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washington dc, day four

well after our walk-a-thon the previous day, brandon and i decided to take it pretty easy on sunday while in dc.  we first ventured over to the building museum, which had a gigantic atrium which came as quite as surprise.  i had feared that the large building was going to be dense with content–instead, it had a few small exhibits which were quite interesting and manageable, and the rest of the space was a large indoor space.

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after the building museum, we grabbed some lunch and then went over to the scuplture garden (again, i know), sketched a bit, and then wandered over to the hirshhorn sculpture museum.

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washington dc, day three

dc, day 3.  it was saturday, so meredith was able to join us on our little adventure.  she decided to take us to eastern market in capitol hill, a large outdoor farmers/flea markety type thing.  it was a great vibe–perfect for just wandering through on a sunny saturday morning.

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we stopped in the most amazing (and slightly claustrophobic) used bookstore. there are literally books everywhere piled to the ceiling–including in the bathroom and up the stairs. i’m pretty sure it’s a fire hazard, but it’s such a neat little shop. i could probably spend hours there.

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we then walked through the neighborhood, which is full of beautiful brick rowhouses, to union station to hop on the bus and head out to georgetown.

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we walked through georgetown, along the water and then up through some neighborhoods and over to the university.

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after georgetown, we went back to mer’s place for a bit to rest our weary feet. brandon and i later headed back out to go see the mall all lit up at night–it had been recommended to see the monuments, especially lincoln and the vietnam memorial late at night.

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washington dc, day two

washington dc, day two. we started our day of trekking off with a tour of the capitol building. you can’t wander the building freely as you could pre-9/11, but you can get a tour by booking online. you get to see the rotunda, the old house of representatives, the old supreme court, and sometimes the old senate (apparently it’s only open a few times a year, and we were there during one of those times). you also watch a short 15 minute film that was surprisingly interesting–much better than what i was expecting.

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after the capitol, we took the underground passage to the national archives, where we poked around a little bit before heading back outside to take a look at the supreme court–we got a peek inside the chambers, and wandered around the building a little bit.

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from there we went to union station to poke around a little bit…

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after grabbing some lunch, we were going to head to the national archives, but got distracted on the way by the east gallery of the national gallery, designed by i.m. pei. we hadn’t really heard much about it, so it was a nice surprise to “stumble upon” (i say that in quotes due to the fact that it is hard to “stumble upon” a building of that size) the beautiful gallery. we spent some time in there, just taking in the space and perusing the art.

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those of you who know me well know that i hate socks and i really don’t like shoes that much–if it were safe and sanitary, i’d much rather go barefoot. that said, you can imagine my pure delight at a little phenomenon we stumbled upon in the sculpture garden–it was totally socially acceptable (and popular!) to sit on the edge of the large fountain and soak your feet. especially after a long few days of walking, it was a total score for me. we then had a double score when we realized there was live music and beverages in the sculpture garden on friday nights–hello, new favorite past time of sketching while sipping wine and listening to music!

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after our little fountain sketch fest, we ventured home from another full day in dc.

dc day two

washington dc, day 1

brandon and i just got back from an absolutely amazing vacation in washington dc.  neither of us had been, so it was a new city for us to explore!  a close friend from high school lives there (with her adorable dog mabel!), and was generous enough to allow us to crash at her beautiful place for the week.  it was such a special vacation!  the opportunity to investigate dc and spend time with an old friend was priceless–not to mention the fantastic warm weather!–i was in heaven.

day 1 consisted of: the washington monument, the holocaust museum, the world war ii memorial, the lincoln memorial, the vietnam memorial, and the white house

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in summary, our day (this is our streamlined route–there was inevitably some wandering, and some weaving looking for lunch, etc.)

dc day 1