Saturday, August 02, 2008

Washington DC

We woke up early today, courtesy of Aunt Evelyn’s next door neighbor who is building a shed in his backyard. There was a lot of banging and power tool noises. A lot of banging.

When we went downstairs we found Aunt Evelyn who had been up for hours. After visiting a bit she offered us breakfast and suggested pancakes. Bernie offered to make the pancakes. Bernie and Aunt Evelyn enjoyed the pancakes but it was way too early for Mar to eat anything yet, not being a breakfast person … or a morning person either, for that matter …

We had done our research last night and found a few things we were interested in seeing in the area. Aunt Evelyn was kind enough to let us borrow her car to go into DC. It would be much easier to maneuver around in a car than our Bella (we don't have a toad).

First, we went to Georgetown. Just crossing the Key Bridge to get there was an experience, the view of the Potomac River with these gorgeous houses all around was breath taking.

We drove around and ended up on a street with a canal and a visitor’s center. We decided to stop and take a look. Just by chance we were there when the boat came in. We got to see this amazing system of getting the boat up and down the river by opening and closing the gates to let the water in or out. As the water is released the whole boat is lowered down into the canal. It was amazing. When down, the top of the boat was level with the grass we were standing on, so then it could pass under a small bridge, and do the same thing again on the other side. There are no engines on this boat, the boat is pulled by mules. People can ride this boat, there are three tours a day. If you are ever in Georgetown you should check this out.

Then while we window shopped and walked around Georgetown, it started to rain. We took cover inside the nearest store which happened to be a Barnes and Noble. Question: What better place to wait for the rain to stop than a bookstore? Answer: A bookstore with a coffee shop, of course.

Next we went to the National Mall. We saw both walls, the Korean War memorial and the Vietnam War memorial. Both are beautiful, touching memorials. As we left the Vietnam wall we saw the memorial to the seven women, all nurses, who had also served. This too was an incredibly moving experience. The memorial is a life size statue of three women and a wounded solider, all very lifelike. Then we took pictures of the Washington Memorial at the other end of the reflection pond and then climbed up the steps to the Lincoln Memorial.

After that we got in the car again and headed for Arlington VA. Bernie has family buried there, an uncle and a grandfather. However they were closed when we got there, so we were only able to see the cemetery from outside. A very impressive sight.

We kept driving and somehow ended up at the Pentagon. It was a little late by now when we were a little lost and saw a sign for the Pentagon memorial. Unfortunately we could not find the memorial. We ended up circling the huge parking lot a few times and then we were greeted by an officer in his patrol car. He wondered what we were doing, after all it was about 9:00 pm and we were driving around in circles in the parking lot of the Pentagon (sound strange?).

We asked the officer where to find the memorial. He gave us directions, but to a different one, the Missing Man Formation memorial, which is a memorial to the lost pilots of the Air Force. We thanked him and went to find it. A few seconds later we realized we had our very own "escort" to the memorial as he was following us. Maybe he didn’t want us to get lost again, right? (the trouble we find!).

Next we were driving down another street when we noticed a lighted glass pyramid. Of course, we had to pull over to take a closer look. It was the roof, at ground level, of the shopping mall in the Plaza hotel. We could see the stores below as we looked down, we took some pics and left.

It was getting pretty late, it was probably around 10:00 pm by now, and we decided we were hungry. We drove around until we found DuPont Circle. Once there we went around the circle several times, trying to figure things out, getting a lay of the land. Finally we stopped and asked around for a good burger place. We were told the best places to eat were all on 17th Street so that’s where we went. We found some great outside dinning at a little place called Trios Fox and Hound. It was nice to sit and do some people watching, while we had our hummus and guacamole cheeseburger.

What a long day. We were so tired from all the walking we did today, sore feet, aching bodies, and tired minds. We were really ready for bed when we got back to Aunt Evelyn’s.

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