This last week I have watched a few episodes of my most favourite TV show ever, The West Wing. Probably not surprising then that today's Travel Bug Tuesday theme is Washington DC - a not-to-be-missed US destination for this West Wing fan. ;)
I have been working on my US/Cuba photobook, or attempting to at least. As I spend more time looking at my photos I find more and more favourites that I just can't bear to not include. I started with with 70ish photos of the Library of Congress and narrowing them down to these 6 feels like an incredible achievement.
I signed up for a free walking tour this morning and ended up meeting another Delanie, my first ever! She is a first grader from Nebraska and gotta say, it was very disconcerting when the tour guide kept saying Delanie and not meaning me. :)
The tour was great until, surprise surprise, the heavens opened and we all got absolutely saturated.We walked past the White House, Reflecting Pond, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean Memorial and vaguely saw the World War II Memorial through the teeming rain. I heard someone speculate we caught the tail end of the typhoon storm system that had been hovering. Regardless, it was wet!
For some place dry I headed to the Museum of American History. I've now seen Michelle Obama's inauguration gown, Lincoln's top hat, Dorothy's ruby slippers, Julia Child's kitchen and the star spangled banner that inspired the national anthem. Plus I learnt a bunch of stuff. :)
When the museum closed I hurried over to the Kennedy Centre for their nightly free performance, only to find preforming tonight - a Slovakian pantomime artist. Not quite the high brow entertainment I was anticipating!
I took the Metro to eat at a DC institution tonight, Ben's Chili Bowl, where only Bill Crosby and Barak Obama can dine for free. I had their famous (according to the guidebook anyway) half smoke hotdog with mustard and chili sauce. It was pretty delicious!
Going to rest my feet now, ready for my last day in DC tomorrow. So much to do here that I wish I had longer. DC museums are actually interesting - who would have thought?!
If you read my last post, I kind of left you hanging there. Wasn't intentional but another of those spur of the moment things.
It is a tradition in DC that on the Tuesday before Halloween there is a foot race between drag queens, complete with high heels and all manner of costume. I'd read about it a while ago but thought nothing more of it. As I was sitting in the hostel lobby typing the last post, one of the guys who worked there asked if anyone was interested in going and he'd give them a lift. I said yes and in less than 20 minutes I was standing in a crowd of thousands watching 50+ drag queens sprinting, running, walking or meandering along the road. I'll admit that I didn't have the best view but the atmosphere was fantastic. As were the costumes. I can barely walk in heels that high, let alone run! So that was my evening. :)
This morning I went to the Holocaust Museum. One of the things that really grabbed my heartstrings was a scrapbook. The woman, a Polish Jew I believe, had created this scrapbook of memorabilia after her release from a ghetto. After years of discrimination and suffering, she chose to document it with a scrapbook. That was a real human connection for me.
Next up I took a tour of the Capital Building and wandered around the Library of Congress. Both are amazing buildings with such ornate decoration.
Last stop of the day was the Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum, housed in the same building. There was a exhibition of Norman Rockwell painting that I really enjoyed and the recent portraits really interested me too. I arrived only and hour before the museum closed but I saw a lot in that hour.
So there you have it, another day in DC. Peanut butter frozen yogurt, buffalo meat, free museums and tours, drag queen race - just like any old day! :)
Ok, maybe this comes under the category of too much information but I couldn't resist sharing. As I type this I am this sitting in the lobby of my hostel, in my pajamas. My mismatched pajamas. Oih - the life of a backpacker!
Pretty much all my other clothes are in the washing machine. I have about 5 minutes before I need to put them in the dryer. So, I better type fast.
I have had an absolutely random and spontaneous evening. My feet ache because of it. But it was pretty great.
I arrived at the hostel in Washington DC at about 5:30pm to discover they offered a free chili dinner starting at 6:30. So I signed up. That's where I met Nina, a 21 year old German girl currently studying French in Quebec. We got chatting at dinner and afterwards decided to go for a walk.
Time for the dryer.
I'm back. I had no plans to leave the hostel (I needed some clean underwear for tomorrow!) but when Nina mentioned she was going on a walk I asked to join her. Well we walked and walked. And walked some more. I had no idea where on earth I was and we could have been going around in circles for all I know. We turned a corner and the Washington Monument was looming in the distance. Another corner and there was the Capital Dome. A few more corners and I was standing outside the White House! Pretty amazing.
We were walking for about 3 hours before we realised we were now in Georgetown. Nina had wanted to explore the area more before she left tomorrow but we looked at a map and thought it was too far. With our random turns, crossing on whichever pedestrian light turned first, chatting and laughing, we had ended up there anyway.
As we passed an alley we noticed a jazz club and decided to go inside. There was a cover charge so we ummed and ahhed, neither of us really that big a fan of jazz, but decided to go in anyway. We joked about one day telling our grandkids about listening to jazz in DC with someone we met over a free chili dinner.
Oh, I should point out that it was only at this point that we introduced ourselves and learnt each others names - 3 hours later!
We listened to an incredible Moroccan jazz singer that we were both really amazed by. Very soulful and emotive. But, I also get to say that I had a pomegranate martini in a jazz club on an alleyway in Washington DC. Wont the grandkids be impressed! :)
As I said, it was a pretty incredible, spontaneous evening. Then we headed back to the hostel (by metro as we were miles from where we started) and I'm back to the mundane of life - doing washing after midnight in my PJs.