Monday, August 24, 2009


We just returned from a little summer jaunt to our Nation's Capitol. Washington D.C. is one of my favorite places - perhaps because it is easily accessible, I've gotten familiar with the city over the last couple of trips - or perhaps because there is always more to see, do, and experience even after several visits. The public transportation is easy to navigate and relatively inexpensive, and all of the Smithsonian museums and government buildings that you can visit are free. This visit was a little different from the last two, since we had a little trouble with the weather. Not surprising for August, I know, but it was HOT. Also HUMID. It was mid-90's thereabouts every day. I spent a week with sweat dripping, red-faced, guzzling water. Many of my well planned activities were ditched because we just didn't want to spend much time outdoors.

Harry managed to get no less than 25 geocaches while we were there. Mostly he hunted them alone in between his meetings because after the first afternoon where I followed him on the cross-mall caching death march I wasn't a good sport any more. Here's Hannah claiming the virtual cache in the fountain in front of the Library of Congress' Jefferson Building.

It did blessedly cool off a bit in the evenings. We were able to walk the west end of the Mall then. The west end of the National Mall, that mile-long space between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial isn't easily accesses by Metro or the Curculator Busses. So, unless you are willing to spring for a taxi, buy into the exhorbatantly priced tourist busses, or try and figure out the convoluted Metro Busses - you and your feet are on your own. Once the sun went down and it cooled to a balmy mid-80's we enjoyed seeing the monuments at night. The WWII monument was especially nice, since if you remained well behaved and respectful the guards didn't mind letting people put their feet into the pool of the fountain. Aaaahhhh!

We spent a morning visiting the Washington National Cathedral. I had wanted to do this since my first visit, but since it takes a combination of Metro and city bus to get there, we just hadn't wedged it in. Pity, since it is now one of my very favorite places in the area. It is a lovely Gothic cathedral that is also distinctly American. It is evident that it is no museum, like many of the great churches I've visited in Europe, but houses a thriving congregation while continuing it's mission of being a 'place of prayer for Americans of all faiths'. I love all of the chapels, big and small. This picture is of a cross made fron the rubble of the Pentagon after the 9-11 attack. It is in the Veterans Chapel.
I found it interesting that a few weeks back we visited Bloomington IN, and passed a large limestone quarry with the slogan -"Builders of America's Monuments" on the signs, and in Washington DC were able to see that many of those lovely buildings, including the Washington National Cathedral were indeed built from Indiana limestone.

I took this snapshot in the Smithsonian American Art museum. I wish it had better lighting, since it kind of distills the effect of art, and the atmosphere of creativity. The extra large abstracts and the open gallery space - along with the music running through her head inspired a little spontanious dancing - posing really - as she enjoyed art. I'd have been doing it too, if I weren't such a stodgy mom-type person.

We're back in good ol' springfield now. The weather is cool and the acedemic year started today. We figured it might as well since all of H Girl's PS friends went back to school this week or last. We'll get to Washington again, I'm sure. I still have too many things unchecked on my "A" list not to.

Cheers! ~M.E.

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