Monday, April 28, 2008

Home Again, Finnegan Thanks to computer glitches, it has taken me quite a while to finish my story! But, we left Alexandria about 11:00 a.m. on Friday, 11 April. It took us a while to get out of town, but once we did, we had clear sailing - for most of the trip. We ran into rain in West Virginia and stopped at Arby's to eat during a storm. After that, the weather began to clear.
Difficult to get a good photo from a moving vehicle, but I persisted, anyway!
After the rainy weather, there was a beautiful sunset. My extra-special thanks to David and Natalie for a wonderful trip. I had a great time and was thrilled to be included in their vacation! (If you return to DC before I'm too old to do all that walking, maybe you will invite me to go along again.)
Love you both!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Old Town Alexandria, VAWe didn't make many stops in Old Town simply because we were eager to get on the road. We stayed in the Sheraton Suites in Alexandria, but spent our days in Washington, so this trip on the way out of town was all we really had time for. This is the inside of Christ Church - the church attended by George Washington and Robert E. Lee.
The is George Washington's family pew, as noted by the marker below.

This photo doesn't really show up very well, but on either side of the altar are hangings of the ten commandments, the Lord's prayer and the Apostles' Creed. They are the original hangings and were hand-painted by the architect. Amazing! President Washington looked at the very same thing. I sat in his pew, too. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), it didn't make me any more presidential!
Note the original cobblestone street and the view of the Potomac! What a beautiful town, full of colonial history. Maybe we will be able to spend more time next time.

Our Last Night in DC On our last night, we stayed in DC to see the Capitol and the Washington Monument after dark.
It is really impressive to see the capitol all lit up.
Isn't that pretty?
This is a Civil War monument by the reflecting pool.
We didn't have the time or energy to see all the monuments at night, but we did see a neat way to see more next time - a segway tour. For a mere $70 per person, you can take a segway tour of the monuments at night. That sounds expensive - but worth it! We saw a group making their rounds and it looked like so much fun. If we start saving now, perhaps we will be able to afford that when we go back (assuming that I am invited when they decide to return to Washington, D.C.).
Anyway, as you can see, even after a long day (which included more walking than the previous days, I'm sure), our sense of humor was still intact! We had a wonderful time and even though we hated to give up and head for home, I think it was time for a rest! I love to walk, but we really took it to the extreme! While it would be impossible to see it all, we saw a lot - and made note of what to see next time.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The National Cathedral . . . . . . was next on our list of sights to see. We took the Metro to Tenleytown and walked somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15 blocks (I'm guessing). Whatever the distance, it was a l-o-n-g walk. But it was worth it. Unfortunately, we got there after the guided tours were done for the day and after the gift shop closed. But, we wandered around inside and out and saw plenty.

This will have to go on our list of things to see next time we go to Washington. It would be interesting to hear the history and lore that are part of the church.
We headed to a Metro bus stop and caught a bus back to Tenleytown where we caught the Metro to Capitol South. There we ate at Bullfeathers, another hangout of the upwardly mobile. The meal was delicious and the place was fascinating - a great place for people watching.
The day's not over yet!

Onward to the Zoo On our way to the National Zoo, we stopped at a restaurant called Medaterra, a Mediterranean place specializing in Greek food and seafood. I had a crab cake sandwich - mmmmmm. It was a gorgeous day and we ate our meal at the sidewalk cafe.
The zoo was another hike from the restaurant. So far, walking less than the day before isn't panning out. :)
The highlight of the zoo is the panda exhibit. I'm not sure which panda this is - male or female, but we never saw more than two. Don't know if the cub, who would be nearly 3 years old by now, I guess, is even there. Guess if we'd taken time to read the signs, we'd know - but there were just so many people in that area.
They are fascinating to watch - they have such personality!
While we looked at more exhibits, we weren't really impressed. Louisville has such a beautiful zoo that the National Zoo actually paled in comparison. Plus, the National Zoo doesn't seem to have a circular path, so you see going back up hill what you saw going down (knowing full well you were going to have to climb that hill back to the top). It wasn't as "user friendly" as our zoo - but it was free while our zoo is not. Still, I think a trip to our zoo is in my future. We had a good time and the panda exhibit was well worth the trip - the other exhibits were fun, too - just not as nice as Louisville (in my humble opinion).

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Arlington . . .Among the notables we saw were President Kennedy and Jackie Onassis who are buried along with two of their children by the eternal flame (which is not in the photo because jockeying for the perfect photo was not possible with the crowd of onlookers in attendance).
This is the memorial for President Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln and his family.
This is the marker for Oliver Wendell Holmes, who served in the Civil War and later became a Justice of the Supreme Court. He lived from 1841-1935.
We didn't see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but we saw a wreath ceremony - very impressive.
In the distance is Arlington House - home of Robert E. Lee until he joined the Confederacy. The home belonged to his wife and he lived there for about 4 years. It was in the process of renovation, so we weren't able to see much inside (but it was quite a hike to get up to it).
"Beneath this stone repose the bones of two thousand one hundred and eleven unknown soldiers gathered after the [Civil] war from the fields of Bull Run and the route to the Rappahannock." Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, World Heavyweight Champion - 1937-1949
Memorial for the 101st Airborne Division

We say good-bye to Arlington, and . . .

. . . with David leading the way, we head back to the Metro and on to the National Zoo!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Washington, D.C. - Day 3Day 3 began at Arlington Cemetery. What a gorgeous morning. It started a bit cool, but it didn't take long to warm up! We took the Metro from Reagan to Arlington, stopped at the welcome center for me to make a pit stop, then started our hike to see the sights.
There were several school groups and tours and they headed off toward the JFK Memorial, so we headed out to see the Marine Memorial. The statue of the marines at Iwo Jima is really impressive (and we were fortunate enough to see it without all the crowds).
It is mind-boggling to see so many graves, knowing that so many have died for our freedom.
As we walked back from the Marine Memorial, we saw preparations being made for a funeral. Each veteran receives a 21-gun salute and a bugler plays "Taps." These servicemen were out there, standing at attention, in full dress uniforms (in what was rapidly becoming a very warm day) for at least a half hour before the funeral procession arrived.
No, this is not President Taft's headstone. We saw President Taft's grave near this one, so we assumed there was some relation, but the reason I photographed this one is because it says under his wife's name, "Beloved Wife, Mother, Best Friend, Homemaker Extraordinaire." I like that - I think I want that on my headstone (eventually!).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More of Day 2As you circle the tidal basin on the way to the Jefferson Memorial, you walk through the Roosevelt Memorial. There are quite a few statues depicting the life and times during Roosevelt's presidency.

Finally, the Jefferson Memorial comes into view. You can't imagine how far we walked to get this far! And the walking wasn't over yet. Thomas Jefferson had some mighty big feet, didn't he?? Bet he had a tough time buying shoes!Fortunately, the kids were there to hold the building up! Can you imagine the disaster that might have ensued??Isn't that beautiful?We walked all the way back to the Smithsonian Metro stop and boarded the subway, getting off at Capitol South. We ate at a neat Mexican restaurant - Tortilla Coast. The place was filled with upwardly mobile young professionals - fresh from Capitol Hill. The food was delicious, the crowd interesting and the time off our feet very much appreciated. After supper, we headed back to Reagan and on to the hotel . . . . . . looking forward to Day 3, which promised much less walking! (But, we will see about that!!)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More of Day 2

On to the Lincoln Memorial.

The Washington Monument as viewed from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

To say we were tired is an understatement!

But, that didn't stop us from heading over to the Vietnam Memorial!

And, from there to the Korean War Memorial, which is really kind of eerie. The statues are all life-size and emotional. A very strange, maybe even uncomfortable, sight. Perhaps thought-provoking is a better way to put it.
Now on to the Jefferson Memorial. Notice Natalie walking in the grass - an attempt at saving her poor feet! Also, notice the cherry blossoms. There are more around the Jefferson Memorial, I think, than anywhere. Very beautiful!