The holidays are over and I can at last take the time to reflect and record my impressions of my recent visit to our nation’s capitol with 2 of my bff’s recently. Kim, Shelly and I were lucky enough to stay with Kim’ s daughter and family in a lovely section of Arlington.
We arrived around lunch and so began our adventure with a rainy walk through the streets of Arlington to a mussel house for a delicious warming lunch. We spent the rest of the afternoon touring Arlington National Cemetery where we visited the Kennedy grave sites and watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was a drizzly day, but it is a place of such quiet beauty that I was speechless. Everything is so pristine and the autumn colors were bursting. The afternoon light on row after row of white markers and the meticulous reverence of the changing of the guard were powerful sights that I will never forget!
Day 2 consisted of museums, museums, museums! What can I say? They were incredible, some of the artwork brought Shelly to tears. One could spend months exploring. We also toured the Ford Theater and museum which was quite sobering.We found ourselves downtown where we wandered through an outdoor Christmas market and walked through Chinatown where we didn’t see many Chinese people. Washington is a town of sirens, they are constant. Word to the wise: if you hear a siren get out of the road fast, those government motorcades don’t stop!
Day 3 started with a frantic drive/walk to the White House for a tour. We were only able to get 1 pass and I was chosen (rightfully as it was my idea) to go. After a long wait and many security checks I was inside with a LOT of other people. The history of the place is quite awe-inspiring and as an added treat it was decorated for Christmas. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I am so grateful for but I must say that I thought it would be more grand. I figured I was just being judgemental but then I heard President Obama talking about the White House on TV and that people often said they expected more of a mansion. He said he loved to remind them that it was the people’s house and not meant to be too “grand”.
After lunch we wandered the mall and all the monuments. We met Alaina and family for dinner at Union Station, a wonderful train station and then took a night bus tour. Washington is definitely lovely at night especially with all the Christmas lights. I found the statues of soldiers very moving and the Korean memorial depicting a platoon of soldiers out on patrol in that cold hard land was especially so. It all makes one so aware and appreciative of the sacrifices given for our country. The monuments of famous people all featured famous speeches and quotes from that person. I was especially touched by the words of Martin Luther King Jr and reminded of the relevancy of his words today.
Day 4 began with tea and pastries in Georgetown followed by a day of exploring and absorbing the ambiance of that very upscale and wealthy neighborhood. We loved checking out all the lovely row houses and the shops. We ended the evening with a delicious Thai meal in Arlington.
On our final morning we rode around a bit with Alaina as chauffeur to see a few sites we had missed and hear a few more sirens then we were off to the airport and heading home to kick off the holiday season.
Its been a great Christmas in so many ways. I lift my face in gratitude for family and friends who help me indulge my passion for travel. Now onto to 2016 for more adventures!