First, apparently we (we being me because Adri doesn't book our flights) had booked our flight for a day earlier than we thought. So when we went to check in, there was no flight for us. I promptly called Delta, and after a few moments on hold the person came back on the line stating we would be there a little later than already planned, but at no additional charge. I'll take it, thank you Delta. Off we went on a 1:40 AM flight, with connections in Memphis and Atlanta, and at 2:00 PM we were finally there.
Off we raced to the Capitol Building where my brother-in-laws brother works on the police force. We met up with him and my brother Jeff for a private tour of the Capitol Building. We saw a place where one Senator shot another in a fight and the guy bled on the stairs. We took stairs and an elevator reserved for either Senators or those with direct authorization. We even learned that there are certain carpet and tile patterns that are trademarked by the Federal Government. Apparently that means that if you are caught copying them, you could be thrown in jail. Sounds like the early stages of piracy protection to me. We saw where the President walks to go out onto the West Lawn when he shares a message outside the building. We walked all over the building and even saw where they kept Abraham Lincoln's body for a period of time before burying him. I even stood in the exact center of Washington, D.C. It was an incredible tour, so thank you Jesse!
That night we watched a concert on Capitol Hill and fireworks near the Washington Monument. Problem was, they didn't tell anyone how far away the fireworks would be... across the mall (huge, I mean huge, grass field). So, as the final band played the fireworks started and suddenly everyone was bolting to a better location to see them. We didn't get to see the entire show because we had to find a spot to watch them from, but we did see some. And, from what we saw they were incredible... especially as we got to see them light up the monuments.
On day 2 we headed out first to the National Air and Space Museum as well as the National Gallery of Art. I've always loved the Air and Space Museum and Adrienne loves that kind of stuff too, so this was an easy decision. Plus, while it was 100 degrees with humidity it was a good excuse to be inside. We saw all the plans, space ships, rockets and space stuff we wanted.
After some time there I wanted Adrienne to see a few pieces of art at the National Museum of Art. As we headed through the sculpture garden we stumbled upon a fountain you could put your feet in. So we stopped for a moment and cooled off there and were joined by a visitor taking a bath. He was quite the energetic little guy.
In the National Museum of Art we looked at Jackson Pollock's "Lavender Mist," Mark Rothko paintings, Matisse, and many others. I unfortunately do not know many artists names, but I love looking at their work. I got some pictures, but they just don't do the paintings justice, so I decided not to show them. There was also an exhibit by an artist, Bruce Nauman, called "Fifteen Pairs of Hands." It was quite cool. We also saw the sculpture "The Thinker" and didn't realize how small it was. I was always under the impression that it was quite large. Maybe there is another one.
After spending some time here we headed out to Georgetown to see where my brother works and then go to dinner and see the area. We loved the Georgetown area. Awesome buildings, right on the Potomac River and just a really cool area. There are some random things there too like the stairs that were used in the movie the Exorcist. They were actually pretty creepy even not knowing that.
After seeing Georgetown Jeff needed to head home, so Adri and I decided to rent bikes to ride along the Potomac and to go see some monuments. We grabbed some bikes from Capital Bike Share and headed out. It was a gorgeous ride and probably the thing Adri loved the most. We rode by the Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson Memorials. Spent some time admiring each and just enjoying the serenity, history and sheer reverence there. I admire these men and the other Founding Father's for what they did to set up such a wonderful nation.
We dropped off our bikes and were headed back to the Metro when I realized that my wallet was nowhere to be found. Not in my pocket, not in my backpack and not in Adri's purse. Frantically we started thinking about where I could have misplaced it, or if I had been pick pocketed. All of my credit cards were there, my driver's license (wouldn't be heading home without it), and our Metro passes. Luckily Adri had a credit card on her. So after a quick prayer we rented bikes again and started heading out, retracing our steps in the dark down the road. About 2 minutes in Adrienne yells to me, "What do you think about going to the Lincoln Memorial?" I thought about it, and it felt right and made sense. I remember distinctly putting the wallet in my backpack so it wouldn't fall out of my pocket, and that was the only place I could remember even fumbling with my backpack. So, we sped through the mall passing the Washington Monument and the WWII Monument and headed back to Lincoln. I went straight to where we were at to look for my wallet and Adrienne headed to the Ranger post. I didn't find it and as I pulled up to where Adri was, the Ranger pulls out a wallet and starts checking the ID to see if it was me. Sure enough, it was my wallet and nothing had been taken. I guess people felt honest around the memorial to Honest Abe. That and of course their hearts were touched by a quick little prayer. After the wallet was recovered we headed back to the Metro to go get a good nights rest. Getting on the Metro this night was not the best idea, but really the only option. We hopped on and instantly started sweating. Apparently because of the recent power outage the AC was not working, and I swear it was 120 degrees on that subway. I don't think I have ever sweat that much while doing nothing but standing in my entire life. Needless to say, we were exhausted and slept well that night.
Day 3 we decided to rent a car and head out to the Washington, D.C. Temple and then to my home town of Winchester, VA. We reserved a car the night before and so I headed out to get the car while Adri finished getting ready. After 40 minutes of waiting (while being told it would only be 20), and then being told it would be another hour, we cancelled the reservation and changed our plans. Needless to say, I was not happy about that. But, we went to the Museum of American History and saw an original sun stone from the Nauvoo Temple and the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the "Star-Spangled Banner." After some time there we ran out to meet up with Jeff for dinner and a movie near Chinatown. It is so weird to see all the places we are familiar with, all with their signs in English and Chinese. Even weirder, I think at least, to not see anyone that even looked Asian, let alone Chinese.
On our final day, the hottest of all, we head out to lunch with Jeff and to head to the National Cathedral. Due to some car trouble, plans changed and we headed out to Arlington National Cemetery. This place was incredible. The spirit present just made me so grateful for the men and women who are giving and have given their lives to defend this country. It was the highlight of my trip for sure, and I could have spent hours there just taking in the feelings. We saw where JFK was buried, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (including the changing of the guard) and everything in between. Although the grass was not green (105+ degree heat tends to do that to grass), it made for some awesome pictures.
(I blanked out the name on this one because I had no idea who the person was)
All in all, the trip was awesome! We will for sure go out there again. Probably not this time of year, more like spring or fall... but we do plan to do it again. If you ever get the opportunity to be in Washington, D.C. no matter the time of year, we would highly recommend it.