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Published: July 12th 2015
…in Washington, D.C. What a long, tiring day! We drove to a park and ride about 20 minutes away to take the light rail train into Baltimore. Warning: you must be smarter than the machine to purchase tickets. It took us three or four tries and two machines to realize the credit card was facing the wrong direction.
We hopped aboard and grabbed a couple seats. They were facing backward. Oh well, we’ll be able to see where we’ve been. The last stop before that particular train went to the airport was not where we needed to be to catch a train to D.C. Using the handy-dandy driving app on my phone, we walked the mile or so to Baltimore’s Penn Station.
Once there, getting tickets was easy now that we knew how. We had our tickets just in time to catch the net train into Washington, D.C. The train was nearing its final boarding call so we ran to get on. We jumped on the second car we came to and found two seats together…facing backward. The ride into Washington’s Union Station was about an hour long,
but it was stress-free and relaxing. We got off the train and made our way inside. It reminded me of the airport with all its shops and people with carry-on luggage walking in every direction. It was a lot bigger than I imagined. We had no idea where to start on our self-guided tour or even how to get there, so we went to the information desk. There was a very helpful older woman there who took her time and explained where we were in relation to where we wanted to go. She pointed out all the places we mentioned, showed us which roads to follow and made sure we were all set before we left. She even explained how to get out of the building so we were pointed in the right direction.
We exited the building and the first thing I see through the columns is…The Postal Museum. Of course we had to take a look. It’s a pretty nice museum. They even have a table with a box of stamps you can scrounge through. I think they ask you to limit your acquisitions to 5.
From the Postal Museum we made our way to the
U.S. Capitol Building at the east end of the National Mall. The dome of the building was hidden behind a labyrinth of scaffolding. It was still impressive. We then made a plan of attack. We decided we’d walk to the Lincoln Memorial and work our way back. Looking back, I think that was a good decision.
On our walk to the Lincoln Memorial, we passed by the Washington Monument. The tickets to go up were sold out for the day so we enjoyed it from the outside. We also stopped at the World War II Memorial at the opposite end of the Reflecting Pool from the Lincoln Memorial. Lots of people taking lots of pictures. We met a couple of young women from Federal Way posing in front of the Washington State column.
Walking along the Reflecting Pool, we saw dozens of ducks and ducklings. It was cute watching the babies get in and out of the water.
There are quite a number of steps leading to the Lincoln Memorial, but they’re worth it. The pictures I’ve seen of the statue itself doesn’t give justice to the actual size of it. Holy cow it’s big! I like
that people seem to be quite reverent when they’re visiting the different memorials. Kids aren’t being boisterous, people aren’t calling to each other from across the way.
The next stop was the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial. Again, the reverence shown was amazing. I didn’t see anyone taking rubbings of loved one’s names at the time we were there, but there were several fresh and recently fresh flowers propped against the wall here and there.
From there we decided we’d make the trek out to view The White House. No, we didn’t take the tour; maybe next time. On our way back to the main part of the National Mall we came across the Boy Scouts Monument. I didn’t even know they had one. It was nice and it had its own little pool in front with benches around. Sadly, that part of the Mall didn’t seem to be as well-maintained as the central strip. The grass needed mowing and weeds had begun to take over.
Next up we crossed the Mall to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. A friend told me that at the very least see the children’s portion. I’d love to go back and see
the rest. Because we got into Washington later than we wanted, our time for going through the museums was limited. They close at 5:30.
We were becoming tired and our feet were beginning to hurt so we made quick tours of our last two museums on our must-see list: the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. Hippos have shorter legs than I thought and more teeth than Mike thought. We walked into the Air and Space Museum and what do I see first? The Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall in white letters on a blue background above The Spirit of St. Louis. Great, I go all the way to Washington, D.C. and I see things I could see at home. I know, it’s bigger than the Museum of Flight in Seattle and the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Everett and has more stuff, but come on…you’ve seen one old airplane, rocket, lunar rover you’ve seen ‘em all.
By the end of our self-guided, whirlwind tour of the capitol’s tourist offerings we slowly made our way back to Union Station. First stop, something to eat and cold to drink. Most of the waters we’d taken
with us were gone. The last two we were working on were warm. A slice of pizza and ice cold lemonade later we went to find out when the next train would depart.
Reading the constantly updating train schedule for the day, we’d just missed one heading back to Penn Station. We didn’t see another one listed. We weren’t sure how we were going to get back north. We went to the ticketing agent and asked for tickets to Penn Station and he sold them to us so there must be another one coming at some point. Mike finally noticed a list of stops for one of the northbound trains. Ours was on the list so we ran to catch it. We found a couple of seats…facing backward and collapsed. An hour later we arrived. Not wanting to walk the mile to where the light rail dropped us off in the morning, Mike asked the man at the information counter the quickest way to Hunt Valley (the stop we needed). He pointed to the stairs that led to the light rail track. Ookaayy… At the bottom of the stairs are the ticket machines and route maps. We met a
couple young ladies who were trying to get on the same train. One of them asked us for help, but we told her we were in the same boat. According to the route map, you can’t go directly from Penn Station to the blue line which takes you to Hunt Valley. You have to take the red line to the first stop and switch trains. The woman who asked for help decided that’s what we should do. We had purchased round trip tickets in the morning which technically means down and back on that train only. We were living on the edge using our round trip tickets for multiple trains. Oooohhh look at us being rebels! Of course our tickets were never checked and each time we got on a train our seats faced…backward. I didn’t care, I just wanted to get back to the trailer, wash the day off me and put my aching feet up. Ahhhhh….
Tot: 2.406s; Tpl: 0.067s; cc: 9; qc: 49; dbt: 0.041s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
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