Sunday, August 14, 2011
to the city, to the city!
Dusty and I had the chance to take a few days before orientation starts and head down to D.C. to sight see, and spend time with friends. It was incredible to spend time in a place that many people only dream of seeing. The history, the architecture, the art. We drove down on Thursday morning, and ended up staying until Saturday evening.
The drive is supposed to be around 3 1/2 hours, but...for US, it ended up being more than 5! We took several wrong turns, and best of all, we got pulled over and handed a speeding ticket in the lovely land of Cumberland. These slow roads of Virginia are going to take a LOT of getting used to. Sigh.
We met with Dusty's cousin for coffee in Alexandria, and then headed into the city to see Dusty's friend Rob, who we were staying with that first night. It was a beautiful day! In the city, we met up with Christina, a close friend of Dusty's family. Her and her husband Jeremiah are lawyers in D.C. We walked down the National Mall, and she led the way to an amazing burger place! On our way there, we passed by the Capitol. There weren't many people around, and it was such a gorgeous evening. We just took a moment to drink it all in, and take some pictures. It was the perfect night to walk from sight to sight
Good Stuff Eatery was top of the line. A sincerely delicious experience. They had tasty and innovative burgers, (mine had a sunny-side-up egg on it! the Sunny Side burger is a must-try) as well as amazing thyme and rosemary seasoned french fries. And, last but not least, their shakes. My toasted marshmellow shake was most definitely the best I've ever had! (Any visitors, if you make it out to the D.C...be sure to try it!)
Out of all the amazing things we saw, these are some of my personal highlights. We were able to see the Washington Monument and the WWII Memorial at night, and the way they were lit was beautiful.
On our second day there, we rented bikes for the whole day. There's a really cool system called "bikeshare", which allows you to pay an initial $5 fee, and use bikes from different stations all over the city. After the "membership fee", each time you take a bike from a station, you have from 0 to 30 minutes of free riding time. Long story short, you have 30 minutes to ride from one station to the other. This was the perfect way to ride from one station, to Starbucks, and back to another station. Grab a new bike, ride to the Lincoln Memorial, and back to another station. It was fabulous! The seats left our tushies a bit sore, but the lovely riding breeze all but eliminated the humid heat and the exercise felt great (without the blisters from walking too much!).
We saw the Lincoln Memorial, as well as the Korean and Vietnam Memorials. Such beautiful testaments to the many lives lost. It's sobering to walk through each one, and read the inscriptions and the names. I am so very proud of our nation's capital.
We spent most of our time in the Air and Space Museum, and the National Gallery of Art, my personal favorite. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. As an Art minor, my Art History classes were my absolute favorite. I never thought I would actually get to see some of the paintings and I had studied in person! Not to mention see a whole room full of John Singleton Copley, who was the artist I wrote my paper on my senior year. For those of you who care, he was celebrated for his realistic portrayal of fabrics, and his painting "Watson and the Shark" (seen below!!!) is a romanticized portrayal of one of the earliest documented shark attacks, and is a very fascinating story, etc. etc. And, despite my absolute terror and loathing for sharks, it's one of the most fascinated paintings I have ever studied and seen in person (yay!).
Once we entered the National Gallery of Art, we didn't exit for nearly three hours. I was lost in there. One of the random but really interesting things we got to see was a painter copying one of the museum paintings. Despite the many people gathered to watch his work, he was very focused. He was quite brilliant, really.
We also saw paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Monet (my childhood favorite, of course). What an incredible experience.
We spent the evening with Christina and Jeremiah, and although we had plans to go back into the city and see the Natural History, Modern, and Holocaust Museums the next day, the sudden downpour after breakfast sealed our decision to head home.
We can't wait to go to D.C. again soon. Now that we know the way, and we will be SURE to go the speed limit and try our best not to get lost, we know that there are a million more things to see and wonderful people to visit with. Until next time!
One a side note, while in Alexandria, we picked up a few cookbooks on sale! One of the best ones we found was this one. A lot of great and easy ideas to make great use of leftovers and meals on a budget. Looking forward to trying these out!