Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Day 3 - Mamma & Daughter DC Trip

Sunday was our last full day in DC. We arrived at the Air & Space museum just a few minutes before it opened.

A&S has some really fun toys, and we enjoyed them tremendously. We're definitely a couple of science nerds. I've often regretted that I didn't major in biology and become a scientist. It will be tons of fun to watch Kathryn pursue her forensic science degree over the next few years. 

The A&S gift shop was AWESOME. We both purchased gifts for the men in our lives at that shop PLUS I bought myself Rosie the Riveter earrings (yet another feminist-themed moment in our vacation) and bought a NASA suit in a baby size with the idea that we'd dress our schnauzer in it for fun but one day it could become a cute outfit for a grandkid so it's TOTALLY fine and normal that I spent $30 on a gift for my dog. 

After A&S we crossed the mall to head into the National Gallery and really enjoyed soaking up the art. It was perfect. It's always amazing to see original Renoir and Van Gogh and be just inches away from the actual brush strokes. However, it's just as incredible (but in a different way) to see new art. One of the highlights for me was walking through the special exhibit on Bazille. A month earlier, I'd heard the story about Bazille on NPR (take a listen to it here - it's great). What a great way to experience the art! As soon as we returned to the hotel room, I played that NPR story for Kathryn. We ate a delicious lunch at the art museum before heading over to the wing with the modern art then returning to the hotel to rest before our evening excursion. 

I loved this piece of art - very fun and inspiring for me:

After our rest, our wonderful relative, Aunt L, picked us up and drove us to Annapolis for our final evening. What a gorgeous place. We wandered through the brick streets, admired the harbor and ate dinner at a French bistro. Heaven. 

Afterwards, she drove us over the Chesapeake bridge just to see it and then took us to see the Jefferson Memorial at night. We were all exhausted but so glad she insisted that we go see at least one memorial at night. If you know me, you know I'm a HUGE Hamilton fan so I was thinking of Daveed Diggs the whole time I was looking at Jefferson's huge statue.

The view of the Washington Monument was gorgeous.

After that we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our final morning. We calculated that we'd have enough time to run by the FBI building so I could grab a photo of Kathryn in front of it since she hopes to someday work for the FBI. Yea for our awesome relative who made sure we ended our trip with such an inspiring site!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Day 2 - Mamma & Daughter DC Trip

Subtitle for Day 2 - And Yet, They Persisted...

Here's a lovely statue (sorry for the poor photo) of Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Three women who fought diligently for our freedoms.

And here we are, 21st century American women at our nation's capitol. Getting ready for the first tour of the morning. It was GREAT. We learned so much.

Our tour guide, Hal, knew so much. Here he is explaining that we are in the crypt, which (I learned) actually means a room that supports another room above it.

We saw a statue of Abraham Lincoln, commissioned by Congress right after his death. The artist was an 18 year old woman. How awesome is that? Especially since I was enjoying this tour with my own 18-year-old daughter. Feminism. For. The. WIN. 

There's a tunnel that goes from the Capitol to the Library of Congress, which is gorgeous. (The library, not the tunnel, although there's nothing wrong with the tunnel.) The gift shop in the LoC is my favorite. I resisted buying the bag with this punk version of my favorite poet on it but only JUST.
Speaking of feminism...
After the tour of the Capitol, we headed over to the Botanical Garden, which is one of the most peaceful memories I have of my honeymoon. Kathryn loved it also. Woot!

Then it was time to head to the Holocaust Museum. We walked part-way then Ubered the last little bit. As you might expect, the Holocaust Museum was emotionally draining and I shed some tears but it was so well done and I hope everyone makes a point of seeing it at some point. Even the architecture is profound, it very much feels like some of the photos and videos you've seen of the railway stations and concentration camps associated with the Nazis and their evil regime.

This photo is from the Children's Tile Wall and I loved this quote: "I think the Sun should come out for Everyone."
After resting at the hotel for a bit, we went on a cruise which we'd expected would include sights of the monuments and such but...not so much. Sigh. Oh, well. You can tell we aren't terribly thrilled.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Day 1 - Mamma & Daughter Trip to DC

My first born just graduated from high school so we are celebrating by traveling to D.C. together. (That might sound odd to some, but I told her to pick a place for a vacay and if I could make it happen I would. I raised her well to be a complete museum nerd so she was eager to return to our nation's capitol for a Smithsonian trek.)

We flew into Dulles then hopped onto a a bus to get to the metro and we both looked SUPER stylish after starting our day with a 5 a.m. flight out of Austin, Tx. Beauty comes from joy and we are pretty darn excited.

Man...I wish Texas had good metro systems. Sigh.

After checking into our hotel we walked to the International Spy Museum. This is yet another instance (there have been MANY in my life) when I am so glad to have Kathryn as a friend. I wouldn't have picked this museum but it was really cool. Lots of artifacts, lots of history and we each had to memorize a "character" that we were quizzed on throughout the exhibits to make sure we had what it took to be good spies. Pretty fun.

 This is a toy truck brought into Canada by the son of a foreign intelligence operative. It had about three concealed tiny tools (like a reader for "microdots" - which I'd never even heard of until today - go look them up on wikipedia if you're curious) for spy work. Sort of makes me ponder the family dynamics in that case. Cool toy for the kiddo but it's so dad (or maybe mom?) could spy on Canada. Did the kid sometimes wonder why his toy was missing in action? Something tells me that child grew up with many interesting stories to share.

Speaking of interesting stories....I'll just set this photo out for your perusal. Hmmmmm. Spy work ain't so glamorous after all, is it?

The photo below is an example of how spies and private citizens escaped from East Berlin before the East German government caught on to this insanely cramped way of escaping the communist regime and started examining cars more closely. 

It's sort of hard to tell, but there's someone crammed up in the engine block area and two people behind the driver. What a nightmare. It really makes me grateful for the freedoms we have in our country and the fact that I don't have to figure out how to escape from an oppressive regime. By the way, happy almost July 4th. Let's make sure we protect everyone's freedom, ok?
*shakes head, resumes vacation blog*

By the time we left the museum I was STARVING so we Yelped nearby options and found Hen Quarter (this location just opened 6 weeks ago). This sounds insane but I'm not kidding when I tell you the food was a RELIGIOUS experience. I got the fried chicken plate primarily because it came with collard greens and everything was incredibly and perfectly delicious. WOW.

The food, my friends - the FOOD!!!

Tomorrow we will be at the Capitol bright and early for a tour. Stay tuned!