Blake and I decided awhile back to make this summer a good one. There are many reasons why: school starting in August, still newlyweds, no opportunity thus no work over the summer, etc. But the biggest reason we are so excited about this summer is that we live in Washington, D.C.! Who couldn't get excited about going to school in the nation's capital! So before school starts and life gets crazy, we wanted to enjoy DC as tourists. Yesterday was our first big 'tourist' day.
We started by taking our first public transportation (thanks, Dad, for the Smartrip cards!) bus downtown. We had to walk a good ways, but we made it to the Washington Monument before 11 AM.
I grabbed tickets to ride up to the top of the monument. Tip to tourists: the tickets go fast. Even though we got there around 10:30 the tickets were already mostly sold out. We went up at 8 PM. People start lining up at 7:30 AM to get tickets for the day!
We walked over to the Smithsonians next. Blake and I were really excited about seeing some history! We went in the first museum we came across: The National Museum of American History. We spent a long time in that museum! I think we might have read every plaque and seen every exhibit! Maybe a little overzealous but we had fun! Here are some things we saw:This is a vacuum cleaner made in the late 1920s from the same company that Blake's brother, Marcus works for now!
Judy Garland's red slippers from Wizard of Oz.
This is an Olympics display with Apolo Ohno speed skates, Brian Boitano's ice skates, Nastia Luikin's leotard, Bobby Morrow's 1956 gold medal, and an Olympic torch from the 1984 Summer Games.
Kermit the Frog puppet from 1955!Fonzie's jacket, Minnie Pearl's hat, Cheech and Chong's record, Vaudeville Slapstick, Martin and Lewis puppets, and Phyllis Diller stage props.
We also saw the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's National Anthem poem, Julia Child's kitchen, the original Greensboro lunch counter where the 1960 sit-ins occurred, and lots of other neat collections and exhibits. Mine and Blake's favorite exhibit was the First Lady exhibit. There was a dress or artifact from every first lady, even as far back as Martha Washington! Michelle Obama's dress is already on display from the inaugural ball. So fun!
After the museums, Blake and I went outside and enjoyed some snacks that I had stashed in my purse. We were trying to do this on a budget! We went to the National Museum of Natural History next, but it was really crowded with school groups and annoying people, so we didn't spend an incredible amount of time in it. There were several neat things that we saw though, and we'll plan another trip to discover it another time.This is a suspended globe that has images projected on to it. It served as a presentation on wind and air currents. Really cool!
There was a really neat exhibit called Written in Bone. It goes through some recently discovered forensic evidence from the Jamestown settlement in the 17th Century.
The picture of the skeleton was really interesting. It's the skeleton they found in a shallow grave in the cellar of a house in the Jamestown settlement. Based on technology, they could tell that he was a young immigrant and that he had had a very hardworking life. Because trauma to the skull they decided he'd died of a head injury and, based on some fractures in his wrist, he'd fought defensively right before his death. All of this from a skeleton!!
From there we decided to eat dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl. Blake's writing a post about it as we speak! When we got back, we went to the United States Navy Memorial. My dad served in the Navy on a nuclear submarine for 8 years, and in the reserves after that.
We made it back to the National Mall and walked from the Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. It was really hot outside!
We relaxed a little and then it was time for our trip to the top of the Monument! I was really excited about it, and the timing was just perfect. We went at 8 PM and the sun was setting and the visibility was great. Here are some of the shots we got from the top:
You can see the capitol, White House, Lincoln Memorial, WWII memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and the Smithsonians from the top! You can even see the National Cathedral... which is close to where we live!
On our way back to the bus stop we ran into this memorial to Simon Bolivar! I was so excited because my Spanish degree came in handy once more! Simon Bolivar to Latin America is like George Washington to the United States. He helped bring about freedom from Spain and was first leader of Gran Colombia--a union of many independent Latin American nations. He also served as president of Venezuela, Colombia, and Bolivia.