Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DC WEEKEND: the rest of the story

we've made it - to the other half of our DC trip! the fun is only going to continue. so, let's go!
it is sunday funday morning. and we are just over the halfway point in our trip. it is easter and there is a bustle around the city of people in colorful dresses and well tailored suits. DC is known for brunching. and well, easter is the holiday for brunch. so eating breakfast at a brunch spot without a reservation was not an option. thus, we decided to start our morning together at le pain quotidien for breakfast. my aunt and uncle had eaten there the day before and enjoyed it, so we all went along for the adventure today. it was quite delicious. we ordered a breadbasket for the table to share, which came with countless jams and spreads. my favorites were apricot and the hazelnut spread. yummm. as we enjoyed our breakfast we planned out our morning together. we decided that we would head over to the tidal basin toward the thomas jefferson memorial. it was a beautiful walk right on the river. we took a few pictures of the remaining cherry blossoms. the memorial is also located along the river. it is quite a sight to see! 

after exploring the thomas jefferson memorial, my aunt, uncle, and cousin, decided that it was time for them to head home [very sad]. we hated to see them go, but were so glad we didn’t have to! after saying our sweet goodbyes, we headed over to the FDR memorial. this might have been one of my favorite spots. it is the absolute best tribute to FDR. It is a stone and water structure complete with iconic FDR quotes and statues. the entire memorial creates this appearance of unyielding strength, toughness, and unshakable firmness. 

*side note/rant: i was slightly disgruntled while we were at the FDR memorial. there were obviously a lot of tourists there, many of whom were of varying nationalities. but i was taken back by how many people were so disrespectful to the memorial. they jumped on statues as if they were meant for riding; they yelled and were loud instead of respectfully and quietly observing the memorial; and they interrupted/pushed in front of others who may have been looking at a particular statue or structure. it was as if they had no care for anyone at the memorial other than themselves. all the memorials in DC are just that, a place to honor and memorialize important figures or events in american history. so it saddened me to notice people who would walk through these memorials and not honor those who have done so much for this country. whether you are native to america [or not] or disagree with where this country is heading, our foundation has very profound roots that is worth celebrating, remembering, and honoring. and to do any of those things properly, we must offer respect. and if respect cannot be offered to these memorials, then perhaps they are not a place one should be.
*end side note/rant.

after our visit to the FDR memorial, we walked and walked and walked to the arlington national cemetery. i was really tired when we got there. i remember thinking “how the hell i am going to walk around this massive cemetery?” as soon as we entered the gates this lady walks up to us and informs us that she has two extra tram tickets that she did not use; and we were welcome to them. the tram is like a trolley that drives you around the cemetery, and stops at various locations within the cemetery. we kindly took her tickets and thanked her for saving our visit! being able to sit and enjoy the sights versus even attempting to walk the grounds, made the visit so much more enjoyable. the tram stopped at the JFK gravesite, the tomb of the unknown [where we got to see the changing of the guards], and the arlington house. the changing of the guards ceremony was very powerful and so intense. we are so glad we were able to watch it. i would recommend this to anyone to see at least once.

after the cemetery we needed some food [as always]. and after much debate, we headed back to capitol city brewing [CCB]. we just couldn’t resist the delicious food and beer. again, we sat and rested for a long while. relaxing, resting, and nourishment felt amazing. 
a spot i really wanted to check out was old ebbitt grill. it is the oldest saloon in DC. it dates back to 1856. we went there for a later dinner. it was very rustic and manly. there are green velvet coverings on the chairs, rich wood paneling throughout, and low lights. it reminded me of a cigar bar; a place where men would go to smoke cigars and sip on bourbon. the food was delicious! i had the easter dinner special [and why not?!], which was basically pasta and cheese with a few vegetables. it was so rich. keith had pork chops that were cooked just right. and, of course, we had dessert [creme brulee], which is my favorite!
after stuffing our faces full, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night. we were tired and very happy after yet another busy day in DC.

we awoke on monday, our final day in DC. we really only had one thing left that we wanted to do: the national zoo. why not check it out? it's free! so, we checked out of the hotel and grabbed a quick breakfast at pret again. then we were on our way. well, apparently up north "easter monday" is a thing. i am not really sure how easter can span the course of two days. but anyway, it's another excuse to have a holiday and day off work/school. so there were a lot of people at the zoo that day. we saw almost everything that we wanted to in the 2 hours that we had. my favorites: the bears, elephants, wolves, river otter, and BIG cats [lions and tigers]. it appeared that most animals lived with a "buddy", so they weren't alone, which to me, seems important. i couldn't imagine living in a cage alone with thousands of people looking and yelling at me all day. the BIG cats were the only ones whose living space didn't seem big enough for them. in my opinion, there was no real room for them to run around. i mean, i have two domesticated cats and they have times where they are definitely running around. even my caged beasts need room to run. those cats didn't seem like they had the space to do that. because i think about a lion in the sahara, i mean, he's going to have miles to run. these cats had [maybe?] 1/4 mile triangular shaped space. so, it kind of broke my heart a little bit. i want them to be safe, but free to be the BIG cats they are. to run, to be free. le sigh. 
so that got us discussing: how helpful/beneficial are zoos really? [just some food for thought.]

after our visit with every child and parent in the greater DC area, we headed back to the hotel to grab our bags, got a quick bite to eat, and then we were outta there.
just like that, our trip was over. 
it was such an awesomely busy trip it took us two days to fully rest and recover. it was worth every minute of exhaustion. we'd do it all over again.
in a heartbeat.

DC, you surprised us in many ways. we expected a great trip out of you, but we received an amazing and awe-inspiring one. we cannot wait to go back to visit more of the "tourist spots", but also to learn more about what the locals do, see, and eat.
DC, thank you again for a wonderful weekend with our wonderful family. we will see you soon!


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