11 years ago, Day 46

Well, my journal is empty for Friday the 14th, too, so I guess I’m not falling down on the job as much as I thought I was when I didn’t write yesterday’s entry.

Anyway, 11 years ago yesterday was my first full day in The Other Washington (as the Seattle news anchors tend to refer to it).  One thing I’ve learned in my travels since I moved to Washington state is that the farther away I am from here the more likely people are to think of DC when I say I’m from Washington.  It’s safer just to say I’m from near Seattle.  People don’t mistake Seattle for anything but Seattle.  I don’t know how eastern Washingtonians deal with the problem when they travel. 

One thing I learned while I was in DC (this was my second visit there, but my first was just a quick walk down the National Mall with my ex on our way to Williamsburg one year) is that if you want to get into some of the famous buildings and monuments, you’d better be an early bird.  I missed out on both the Washington Monument and touring the White House because I didn’t get there at the crack of dawn, and I waited forever to get into the U.S. Capitol building.

But my first day was a museum day, or, more precisely, a Smithsonian day:

This is the original Smithsonian Castle, which the museum complex itself has obviously long outgrown

“I spent the morning at the National Museum of American History, admiring First Ladies’ gowns and Archie Bunker’s chair and a display of communication from the telegraph to the PC, and Dorothy’s ruby slippers and umpteen gazillion other things.”  After lunch (and my weekly call to my mother), “I went over to the National Museum of Natural History, and spent an hour or so in the rocks and gems section, admiring, among other things, the Hope Diamond and one of the world’s biggest emeralds.”

The National Archives was next, and I saw the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the arrest warrants for Butch Cassidy and Pancho Villa.  “They had a copy of the Magna Carta, but I’ve already seen one of those in the British Museum, so I didn’t wait in line for that.”  How very blasé of me.

I ended the day at the National Portrait Gallery.  “I like portrait galleries.  They’re pictures of people I’ve actually read about.”  Everyone from Bill Clinton (who was president eleven years ago) to Louisa May Alcott.  A temporary display was of political cartoons by a fellow named Sorel, many of which were laugh-out-loud funny.

I then dragged my aching feet back to the Metro, which whisked me back to my hostel, where I chattered with a couple of girls from New Zealand for a bit, then crashed early, my head full of all sorts of interesting things.

I barely scraped the surface, and I know it.  I wish I could have spent about a month just doing DC museums, but that wasn’t part of the agenda, alas. Maybe someday I’ll get to go back.

I will write today up later this afternoon.

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Categories: history, Long Trip, museums, national parks, travel | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “11 years ago, Day 46

  1. Arthur was 7 when we did the Smithsonians and the National Zoo. He was not up to the walking the adults took for granted. He predictably wanted to go back to the dinosaur area in the Natural History Museum. I think I saw opals that got me salivating–but I remember there was one other large gem that got to me, and it might have been the emerald.

  2. I don't remember why I just did the gems in the natural history museum, but someday I want to get back and see the rest of it.I wondered about all the kids I saw in DC, and how well they handled it. DC doesn't, in the "let's do everything" way most families vacation, strike me as a very kid-friendly place in the long run.

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