Sunday, September 07, 2014

DC class trip! (Day 6)

Day six…our final full day in Washington DC.  I can’t believe we’re already at the end of our trip!  What a fun week it has been!

We didn’t get back to our hotel until after midnight last night, so we were all relieved that our appointment to “skip the line” at the National Archives was at 10:30 this morning.  We made it in to view our country’s founding documents…we were awestruck.  It was very surreal to look at the actual documents.  We all marveled at their size.  We didn’t expect the pieces of parchment to be so large!  It was a very moving experience.  I didn’t expect it to make me feel as strongly as I did.  The visit was an after thought, and I’m so glad we took the time to go over there this morning. 

Our next stop was the National Gallery.  As soon as we walked into the building we smelled delicious food.  It happened to be lunch time.  We decided to go ahead and enjoy lunch at the French inspired cafĂ©.  We enjoyed the food on the buffet and headed upstairs to the main floor of the gallery. 

We could have spent all day there, walking slowly from room to room and taking it all in.  Unfortunately, we were unable to stay too long, as we had other stops on our “must see today” list.  We asked the docents at the information desk if they could suggest highlights.  They gave us a list of artwork that is considered “must see” and a map to follow.  Within a short time we were able to see everything they suggested, as well as a few other pieces that we really wanted to find. 

Leaving the National Gallery, we headed to the Natl. Gallery Sculpture Garden and walked through on our way to the Museum of American History.  This museum was full of interesting information organized by theme.  I was excited to see some pop culture items, and enjoyed the Food exhibit.  I thought this was a great way to make this topic relevant to kids.  Daddio and I enjoyed the sections that reminded us of our childhood, and Sunshine was intrigued by the early fast food section, particularly the photos of old fast food restaurants.  She also learned about “t.v. dinners” and how microwaves revoluntionized the food industry. 

We stayed at the Museum of American History until we were kicked out by the guards.  No “Night at the Museum” for us! J  It took us a few minutes to decide how to tackle our next list item: seeing some more memorials.  We decided to walk down to the Vietnam Memorial and then work our way around to the Korean War Memorial and the MLK Jr Memorial.  It was a long walk, but it was fun and full of good conversation.  I was happy to see the Vietnam Memorial in the daytime, too.  I think it made a huge impact on Sunshine, seeing the names in the sunlight, the sheer number of people whose lives were lost.  We also passed by Abe Lincoln again, and had to stop and say hi.  It was good to get some daytime pics there, too.  On to the Korean War Memorial…

The Korean War Memorial design is unique and really brings the reality of war to life.  As we were standing there, a young man walked to the front of the memorial where the wreath had been laid.  He bowed his body and then bowed his head, standing in silence for a moment or two.  As he lifted his head and looked out at the memorial, I could see tears streaming down his face before he quickly wiped them away.  Observing his private moment was so intimate, and something I will never forget. 

The sky was full of ominous clouds, and the thunder rumbled not too far off.  We were racing the radar, so we had to quickly move on to the new MLK Jr Memorial.  I love how they used the imagery of his quote to bring the monument to life.  MLK Jr’s statue looks out over the Tidal Basin, which is a a beautiful sight with the Jefferson Memorial in the distance.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to make it out to the Jefferson Memorial.  It was about to start pouring, and after our rainy playtime earlier in the week,  we decided it was time to head for shelter.  We called a cab company and asked them to come pick us up, and then several huge gusts of wind came through and we decided to try to hail a cab on the street.  We flagged one down heading the other direction and he made a quick u-turn and came back to pick us up.  Whew!  We were on our way to dinner.

On tonight’s menu: Cuban food!  We were excited to try a restaurant we walked past a few days ago.  Sunshine had an alcohol-free, raspberry mojito.  Daddio and I had raspberry infused caipirinhas.  Delicious!  We also started with shrimp ceviche before our entrees came.  Daddio ordered the seafood paella, while I had Lechon Asado and Sunshine had the El Cubano sandwich.  We finished our meal with their dessert tapas sampler (rice pudding, flan, tres leches cake) and coffee. 

We made our way back to the hotel and everyone has passed out from a busy day.  I’m looking forward to seeing what we can cram into tomorrow!