Thursday, March 5, 2009


Our Nation's Capitol

Washington D.C....Where do I begin? I can tell you with certainty that I never though that a city could actually move me to tears. (more on that later). And had someone tried to convince me that I would, I would have been highly embarrassed and made sure I ignored every opportunity to be moved. It would have changed my whole experience. I'm so glad I went into it not knowing anything.

Going to D.C. was a last minute trip. When Brian's project in New Jersey ended a few days early, we hopped in a car and drove a few hours south. What an experience! I couldn't believe how much the girls were interested in everything we did, and I was surprised at how much I actually knew. It was fun too cuz it got Brian and I into conversations...asking questions about our country that we didn't know. Things like...where was the capitol when the Declaration and Constitution was first signed. It wasn't in D.C. And why did they choose D.C. of all places? It was fun having in depth conversations with him. And Xanthe actually impressed one of the tour guides with her questions that he gave her a prize. He thought it was so cool that she was actually listening.

We thought it would be fun to buy tickets to one of those cheesy touristy city buses that have the tour guides. I love those things cuz I'm in love with Useless Facts. I even used to subscribe to a daily email called the Useless Fact of the Day. And where else can you get random facts to the place you're going than the cheeky tour guides who are full of so much information that they are bursting at the seams to tell us.

First stop on the tour...Washington Monument

This is that big tall looking phallic (sorry, had to) monument. The cool thing that we learned was that it's the tallest FREE-STANDING monument. It has no glue, mortar...NOTHING to hold it together. The elevator we took to the top was it's own structure through the middle. wouldn't have been so scary HAD IT NOT BEEN WIND AT 60 mph! I was laughing so hard cuz it was literally blowing us to the side and we couldn't even walk. It was faster than I've ever felt before. We had to leave our stroller down at the bottom and I had to buckle the seat buckles around a pole so it wouldn't get blown away. Then I went and buckled everyone else's that were starting to blow away cuz how much would that suck for them? And after we got down from being up there, they closed it down from anyone else going up there cuz it was too windy.

So, start with a REALLY windy day, plus a free standing building, and one girl who's deathly afraid of heights...not a good mix. It's a good thing it wasn't like the Empire State Building where you're's totally enclosed and super safe. Check out my hair in this picture. Too funny, huh?

Up at the top of the monument, there were some really cool displays and dedications to the work Washington did. They had all these tiny windows that you could look out of to see a 360 degree view of the city. What I didn't realize til I had actually gone there was that D.C. is pretty small and everything is all centered around each other. All the main monuments you can see from the top of the Washington Monument and it's not that far to get to. Even when you're on the streets. You turn one way, you can see the Capitol, turn the other way, you see the White House.

One thing I loved about being up there is I got to catch random people's conversation and getting their random information (remember? useless facts. :) ). They had these tiny windows that you could look out and see the 360 degree view of the city. One guy was pointing to the Pentagon and describing where the 9/11 plane hit...not just the one side that it hit...but that it hit a flagpole and then nicked the hotel that was right next to it before crashing into the Pentagon.
One thing I had forgotten was that it was the week right before President's Day. I learned from one of the tourists (who obviously had been there lots) that on every president's birthday, they do some sort of tribute. And we had just missed being able to look out one of the windows to the Lincoln Memorial and see Obama giving a tribute to Lincoln. (There was some dispute as to whether he actually did it at the memorial or at Ford Theater. Either stuff.)

Can anyone see what this view is of?

They also had something that I thought was really cool, but didn't get a picture of. As we were going down the elevator, it would slow down and the clouded windows would then become clear...revealing the inside stones. Each state, when the monument was being built, donated a stone that was handcarved with their symbols (like their State Flag, or symbolic people). There was a ramp around the inside of it that people used to be able to walk up to the top. However, they had to close it down and build an elevator because people were stealing pieces to these stones, like noses and toes. How random is that? And saddening at the same time. (I got this tidbit from a Park Ranger who happened to be riding down the same elevator we were. LOVE the conversations in that city.)

I loved this view of the Monument...

Next Stop on our Tour... Lincoln Memorial
P.S. Blake, I totally know that I might have gotten a few of my facts wrong. I'm sorry. And for those of you who don't know Blake, he's a very good friend of mine who lived and worked in the D.C. area for 4 years and was the first person I turned to when needing advice on where to go. He is also one of the most awesome persons I know who carries random historical facts around with him like it's nobody's business. Thanks Blake for the tour via text messaging and email virtually from the State of Washington. :)
Also, PLEASE do I have to explain why it took me so long to get to this post. I'm in California...drove here by myself with the 3 kids. Does that explain enough? :)

1 comment:

Randi said...

I am glad you have pictures of your trip. Looks like a ton of fun. Enjoy your time in Cali...see you back here soon.