Monday, May 9, 2011

Washington, D.C. -- continued

Our trip to DC was based around the "Azalea Walk". Brian's cousin Rich and his wife Laurel hold an open house party at their home in Alexandria, VA. Last year after returning from the party, Brian and Betty said, you guys would love it. So, we booked our flights and crashed their party.
The entire neighborhood is full of blooming Azaleas and it's quite beautiful, and also a good reason to eat and drink and socialize. We decided to make a week long vacation out of it and tour around the D.C. area.

During the party, Carl and I walked the neighborhood to see the marvelous homes and blooms.

Carl and Brian, unplanned, happened to wear the exact same outfits, down to the same buttons on their shirts. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle (you know), Frick and Frack.

Betty and Brian at the house before all the guests arrived. Eventually about 50 people showed up, all bringing trays of food. I took on the job as official taste-tester.

Me in front of one of the neighbor's homes.

This is Talia, the darling grand-daughter of Betty and Brian. She's a very smart and cute little gal. She is a fashionista and chose her own outfit for the party.

La Verne's finest has-beens and cast-offs, doing what they do best.

This is Nate and his dad, Tom. Tom is married to Megan, but I never did get any photos of her at the party. Hmmmmm. Nate is Talia's little brother.

Brian and his twin cousin, two funny guys. I met so many interesting people at the party, the house is beautiful, the weather was great. Thanks for inviting us.

Today is Sunday. We slept in, took the Metro to Union Station and had some breakfast in the station.

After breakfast we bought 2-day passes on the hop-on hop-off tour bus, that goes all around the D.C. area, stopping at all of the monuments.

This is Union Station. All of the buildings in Washington, D.C. are so old and majestic, for American standards.

This is Ford's Theater, where President Abraham Lincoln was murdered. The line was massive, so we passed on that stop.

The Avon Walk for breast cancer was taking place through the streets, so some streets were blocked.

I wondered about the blue sign over the Pennsylvania Ave. street sign that read Evacuation Route. Are they expecting a Tsunami?

The Washington Monument, so tall and proud.

Our first stop was the Jefferson Memorial.

Look at how tall that statue is, compared to the people near the bottom. You can click on any photo once, then again to enlarge.

Next stop, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. A fairly new memorial and one of the best.

The bread lines.

The memorial has four sections, each with a water element, and each a different time of FDR's life.

Using the camera timer, while waiting for the bus to pick us up.

Next stop, the Lincoln Memorial. Each and every memorial is so awesome, everyone should make a point to see them at some time in their life.

All of these monuments are pretty emotional.

Near the Lincoln is the Korean War Memorial. This one is awesome. Larger than life statues of soldiers, walking through the jungle with all of their gear and the strain on their faces. These are two Korean War Veterans who were gathered with others to visit the memorials. It was pretty emotional, I was choked up and teary-eyed.

Part of the same memorial is a long wall with faces of soldiers etched into the granite.

Then we took a really long walk to the World War II Memorial, Carl was about ready to fold by then.

From there we walked another 1/2 mile to the Vietnam Memorial. Again, you have to see it and all of the names of soldiers who died for their country?? Very very sad.

Even though we were so tired, we continued on the double decker bus tour, across the Potomac River and on the Arlington Cemetery. We did a whole lot more walking. Up hills, around bends, sometimes confused. The first stop was at JF Kennedy's gravesite and the Eternal Flame. Jackie Kennedy lies next to John.

We then walked up to the top of Arlington to see the Arlington House, General Lee's home.

The rooms were empty mostly, this is what they would look like furnished.

We made it just in time for the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Very precise and very emotional.

We caught the bus back to the Metro after that and headed back to our hotel. I was starved, hadn't eaten since breakfast. We found a terrific Italian restaurant down the street from our hotel and we each had our own custom pizza, the best ever.

Monday was day two of the double decker bus tour. We took the metro to the Smithsonian stop, which put us right next to the Air and Space Museum. We covered every inch of that museum, must have been there for at least 2 hours. Below, Carl is trying to figure out what kind of dry lakes car he can put this engine into.

These are missle rockets. Ka Bammm!

Look! There we are. Inside the helmet.

This is the Wright Brother's Flyer. I learned a lot, doesn't mean I'll remember any of it.

You can only imagine how large this museum is.

It was time for lunch, so we went to a sports bar near the Capitol. After that we walked past the Newseum, a museum all about news. In front of the building are newspaper front pages from all over the country. Guess what they read?? BIN LADEN IS DEAD! Oh Ya, good news, and to be in D.C. when it happened.

Next stop, the National Art Gallery. We saw paintings from the famous artists; Renior, Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, on and on.

Carl in the rotunda of the gallery.

We had a tour of the Capitol on our first day in D.C., but we entered from underneath the building, and I wanted to go up the steps and see it from the front. Carl and I walked to the Capitol from the Gallery. All the news media were stationed in front of the Capitol building for their 4:00 news reports. This reporter was standing on a suitcase box for some height.

This is Carl's photo of the Capitol building. I think he was glad that he saw it up close and in front.

The tourist.

This is what I was looking for the first time we visited the White House, the Rose Garden view, which is the back of the White House. I wasn't sure we could see it, but we figured it out. There sure is lots of security and more because of Bin Laden.

We walked around to the front of the White House, expecting to see huge crowds because of last nights extermination of the bearded rat-bastard. Hardly anyone was there at all. There was this smelly-rotten radical troublemaker, with his sign reading the only God is Allah. I told Carl that I was going to run by him and push over his suitcase and keep running. He talked me down. So we walked off.

Last stop for the day was the White House Gift Store, down the street. I bought some postcards, so we got to take our picture in the Oval Office, well, a backdrop and a desk, inside the gift store. Carl thinks he's the President.

On Tuesday, we checked out of our hotel. Betty and Brian picked us up at 10:15 and drove us to Great Falls, VA. Ultimately, we will go to our new hotel, right next to Dulles Airport so we can fly out early on Wednesday morning.

We are standing by the Potomac River, on the Virginia side, and Maryland is on the other side. The snowmelt causes the river to swell and the power of the water is incredible.

We walked around the park and watched a video in the visitor's center all about George Washington. That's the way they should have taught us when we were in school. I didn't learn much back then, and it's fun to learn it now. Not that I will remember much for very long.

We then drove to Leesburg, VA and had lunch at Lightfoot.

It was once a bank building, so beautiful.

The four of us ready to enjoy a terrific lunch.

My salad was the best ever. I wish I had one right now. It had chicken, raspberries, almonds, goat cheese, pears, oranges, and much more.

We then drove through the countryside to West Virginia to visit Betty and Brian's friends, Anne and Frank. They build a beautiful log cabin home, way out in the middle of nowhere, and they love it.

This is the view from their backyard, hills and trees. They have a balcony patio that goes all around the house.

The four Amigos. Anne wants to come to California just for Margarita Night. We'll let her know when the next party is on. Great people and a wonderful vacation.

I took 880 photos, deleted about 200, and chose these for the blog. I hope you get to see this party of the country someday if you haven't already. It's our country, our history and so different from California. I still love California best, but it's great to get around.



Lacey said...

Kathy I loved seeing all this! So many amazing sights to see. I'm in love with those houses in DC, totally my dream home style. Thats it I need a vacation.

Shannon Olson said...

The flowers in front of the houses are amazing! You two really missed out on not seeing where Abraham Lincoln was shot and where he died in the house across the street! That was my favorite part of my whole trip, when I had gone.
Looks like a great time, you look really cute in the black and white outfit towards the end of the post
Love you