Washington, DC - February, 2004
Lisa and I took off Thursday wondering if DC was going to be too cold. But as luck would have it, the bad weather didn't stop us from doing much.
The flight to DFW from OKC was pretty normal. And waiting around the airport wasn't too painful. I had a beer across the way from the terminal. Once we got close to DC, we were delayed 40 minutes by the weather. The airport was spraying de-icer on the runways, which we had to wait for. The taxi line was the slowest I've ever seen at the airport. I would have been much faster to take a shuttle or the Metro.
The Marriott hotel was OK. The rooms are pretty small, but I guess this is just a convention hotel. The metro stop is three blocks away, but there is a nice view of the frozen Pottomac. Our first night, we went to the bar and had some chicken strips. It was already very late and we were tired. I good night's sleep would be the best thing for us.
Friday morning, I introduced Lisa to the DC Metro System. She caught on very quickly. From on stop in Rosyllyn, we went to the Smithsonian stop, then walked to the Washington Monument. Because of the rain and cold, there weren't too many people. We were able to walk-up and get in line immediately. Usually, you have to get tickets for later in the day. I did seem like we had to wait in line a while. The wait probably seemed long because of the rain. After going thru security, we took a quick elevator to the top and did the best we could to see our the rain-soaked windows. One the way back down, one is able to see many of the ornate commemerative stones that line the inside of the monument.
For some quick coffee, we stopped at the National Musuem of American History. We did take the time to look at Julia Child's Kitchen after our coffee break. Fonzi's jacket was close by, as well as Ted Knight's jacket.
We then proceed to our main destination for the day - The National Gallery of Art (NGA). The NGA has one of the best collections of art that I have ever seen. It always a 'must see' for me. We arrived just in time for the introductory tour at 11:30 am. The tour walked us thru art history, stopping along the way to see a DeVinci, a painting of Napoleon, a Guagian, a Monet, then four paintings by Thomas Cole. Both Lisa and I enjoyed our tour guide. We then hustled on to the next tour, which was the Italian Renessiance. We saw the DeVinci again, talk about the Church's influence in art, use of color and perspective, and about the artist. A very nice tour.
For lunch, we headed downstairs between the East and West galleries. The food was very good, which kind of surprised me. Of course, it was expensive, but at least it was well prepared. For the next couple of hours, Lisa and I just roamed the galleries, viewing the likes of the Dutch Masters, Reniors, Monets, Manets, and the like. I was getting pretty tired and was looking to take it easy for a bit.
We headed off to Union Station, shopped a little bit, then went to the Capitol City Brewery. OK, here's a travel tip. If you pick up a map from the Old Town Trolley Tours, there is a coupon for a free t-shirt from the Brewery, if you purchase $25, which isn't relatively easy to do. So, we got a very good meal, had some good beer, and got a free shirt. Good finish to the evening.
Saturday morning finally brought us some sunshine. From the hotel, we took a quick shuttle (if the driver didn't have to stop, talk on the cell phone and work out some problems) to Georgetown, got some coffee from Starbucks, and hopped on an Old Town Trolley tour ($26 each). The tour is an excellent way of getting to see all the top spots in DC.
We got off at the Lincoln Memorial to see some sites. As well as the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial are all in the immediate area. Across the reflecting pool, work was continuing on the National World War II Memorial.
Back on the tour bus, we saw the Capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court and many other sites. Because this was the only tour that went all the way out to the Washington National Cathedral, we decided to get off there. It is a very impressive cathedral and always a pleasure to visit. Helen Keller is bury in the basement.