D.C. in a Day!
Friday, September 3, 2010
This morning I took Greg's great advice and simply took the Metro into DC from Silver Spring. Er, that was the idea anyway. Here's what actually happened: I drove to the Silver Spring station, pulled into the public parking garage, where every single valid spot was metered parking. Thinking I didn't have enough quarters (I later discovered more in the armrest compartment of my car, grr), I walked to a nearby bank, got quarters, walked back to the garage, fed the meter (it was cheap, only like $3.50 for the rest of the day), walked to the Metro station, and saw several buses going to "Archives." I hopped on and learned they must only take exact change, and it was some weird fee, like $1.27 or something. Peeved, I went to the bank right in front of the bus. I went in, asked if I could get change, to which the lady asked me, "Are you a member here?" I replied no, but luckily all she gave was a little hesitance and proceeded to make change for me. I got on the next bus to "Archives," and between the schizophrenic lady talking, cussing and yammering to her imaginary friend, and the manual labor dude who got everyone into a tizzy when he spilled his iced coffee (and decided to just get off instead of cleaning it up), it proved to be a very amusing a ride. That was until I realized it had already been over an hour, and we were still far from DC and getting virtually nowhere with the insane obscene traffic and stopping at nearly every block. And it finally dawned on me. The Metro also has a TRAIN, and it was the TRAIN that Greg was speaking of when he told me to take the Metro. Argh. I felt like such an idiot. Then, my attitude changed, and I thought to myself, "If I had taken the train I wouldn't have seen the part of the DC area no one talks about. I can take the train back. I'm glad I did this." And that my friends is how I keep sane and rational, lol! A fellow passenger told me I could get off with her and I could take the metro from China Town, which is exactly what I did. Within a few minutes I was in DC. =)
My first stop was the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. Did you know that the Smithsonian is made up of 19 different museums, the national zoo and 9 research centers? Yep. And has over 140 affiliate museums around the world. I always thought it just a big building with a lot of art in it. I was way off. And, better yet - they're all free. That's right. FREE. Music to my ears...
My first stop was The National Air and Space Museum, which houses 62 aircraft, 49 space vehicles and artifacts, and more than 2,000 smaller pieces, and is the most visited museum IN THE WORLD. I spent only a day in DC, but I could have easily spent one whole day here alone. I got up close and personal with missiles, robotic exploration instruments, the Apollo 11 Command Module, touched a piece of the moon nearly 4 billion years old, and walked through the Skylab space station, and more.
Next, I visited the Library of Congress' main building, the Jefferson Building. It's an absolutely astounding building, with its grand marble Great Hall illuminated by stained-glass skylights in a 75-foot ceiling, and the Main Reading Room topped with an ornate 160-foot dome).
I walked the grounds of the United States Capitol (my attempt to enter without surrendering my bottle of water was denied, they said it had to be disposed of or leave, so I left). Then I walked moseyed through The Supreme Court, then over to The National Archives for an up close look at the original handwritten copies of the Declaration on Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, just as the founding fathers drafted them.
I walked The National Mall, a two-mile stretch of green in the heart of it all, stopping for the National Museum of Natural History, and the original red sandstone visitor center known as "The Castle," which is the Smithsonian's original building. Next I saw the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury building. Back on the National Mall I visited the 555 foot Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, which felt sacred, and I found myself especially emotional, reading the words of his Gettysburg Address. A perfect way to end the day (as I roll in the hay, down by the bay...)
Oh, and you'll be happy to know the smooth TRAIN ride back was 20-30 minutes of ease =)
Labels: Washington D.C.