Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Washington D.C. - Days 3, 4 and 5

Day 3 - otherwise known as D.C. Day of Awesome

On day 3 Becky and I got an early start and left her apartment around 7:30. Up first (after coffee, of course) was a walking tour of the monuments in D.C.

I have to admit, I really really really looking forward to this part of the trip! I've seen these monuments on tv my entire life, so to finally see them in person? That was pretty magical! We saw the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, Abraham Lincoln Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. I was extremely disappointed that there was construction being done on the Reflection Pool so there was not water in the pool, but I know I will be back someday and will see it full of water!

{Iowa's column! Short, just for me! ;)}

{Becky and I with the WWII Memorial in the background}

{Abraham Lincoln Memorial}

{Looking down those famous steps, to the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Memorial. What a famous view!}

After the monument walk (where we sweated our tail off and I'm positive we walked at least a few miles!) we headed over to the National Museum of American History. I was really looking forward to this museum!! There were so many awesome exhibits and it is so hard to choose a favorite. I went in thinking naturally the First Ladies dresses would be my favorite, and I did love it, but the Star Spangled Banner exhibit, which featured the original American flag that was flying when Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner. I mean... how can you... words are just lost! It was so amazing to see this in person. It gave me goosebumps!

{We couldn't take pictures inside, but this picture sums it up perfectly! Source}

 {In one of the United States Presidents exhibits - I think I'm dressed for a speech... no?}

We also saw a great exhibit on Slavery, specifically at Thomas Jefferson's estate, Monticello. Outside of this exhibit we even saw an interactive enactment of the sit ins from the Civil War - it was so cool!

Before all of the museum fun though, Becky and I met up with Mandy! She saw most of the exhibits with us and we had the best, long, leisurely lunch in the museum's cafeteria. I'll Mandy tell you about this wonderful lunch though, because she does such a good job here!

Just as Mandy was meeting up with us though, I had a brief hassle to take care of with my bank... I bank with Bank of the West and have been with them for years. In fact, I have not had any other bank. We've been with them since they were about 5 different names! Well, on Friday, I went to pay for gas at the pump and my card was denied. I freaked a little and called the bank to make sure nothing was wrong. Everything was fine, but the woman did put a note on my account that I was traveling and would be back in the Midwest on Monday. Completely unnecessary considering I was traveling domestically, but I thought, whatever, extra precautions are nice. Well, this woman accidentally CLOSED my card. The next day it was declined at Starbucks and that is when I knew something was really wrong. There is no way my bank card could be declined (unless someone got my numbers and wiped out my account). Of course it's 7:30 am on the East Coast, but on the West Coast it was only 4:30! I had to wait until it was 9am their time to get in touch with a live person! So, long story short, Mandy walks up (meeting me for the second time in her LIFE face to face) and I am on the verge of the ugly cry because I cannot access my checking account.

{I'm pretty sure this was right before I started crying my eyes out and tried being mean and demanding to Bank of the West. Becky and I called this photo, "What Tired Looks Like." We were pretty exhausted by this point, but Mandy perked us up when she arrived!}

Luckily, I got in touch with someone higher up, who rushed me a new card and opened my account long enough to get to an ATM and withdraw enough cash to get me home. It all worked out in the end, but phew! What an ordeal and I cannot believe that happened.

So, after that, we all had some lunch, enjoyed a few more exhibits, checked out the gift shop and then we were on our way to the Holocaust Museum for 2:30 tour time.

I specifically recommended seeing this, and I was shocked that Becky had never been. After going through it, I have the utmost respect for her family's decision though. As a child they said she wasn't old enough, and she knew as an adult that it would be a hard couple of hours. I think I was being a little naive in my wanting to see this museum, and I'm honestly not really sure what I expected, but I'm glad I saw it. I'm not ignorant of what really happened, but at the same time, we are all just a little ignorant, because wrapping your mind around the actual events is horrifying and close to impossible.

Nothing was sugar coated in this museum and the information really was horrifying and heartbreaking. At the beginning of the tour everyone is assigned a real person, and by the end you find out the story of what happened to that person.

I definitely recommend this museum for anyone visiting Washington D.C., but I strongly urge you not to bring your children. Let the information slowly be introduced... it is a lot to take in.

{A few more pictures before saying goodbye}

After leaving the Holocaust Museum, we had to say goodbye to Mandy, and Becky and I headed up to relax a little bit and spend some time at home. I am so glad we did this, we really needed this time to relax!! We watched Bourne movies, painted our nails, ate lots of yummy Thai food and drank some wine. It was fantastic!

Day 4 - Relaxation Day

Becky had plans to attend a yoga class at 9am and I was really excited to join her! I have done a little yoga, but I haven't done a class since I was an undergrad at ISU. After reading about how good yoga is for runners, I had been meaning to give it more of a chance but just haven't made it happen!

I thought this yoga class was a little hard, but it was just hard enough to intrigue me and make me want to do more. I could not believe how much I was sweating (partially due to the fan not being on. Ha!) and when I looked down at my chest I could not believe I was dripping with sweat. I wasn't even really aware! When we left, I felt so good. I knew I had sweated out a ton of toxins and that always feels amazing.

After yoga we stopped at the farmers market so Becky could get some produce for the week. I helped her pick out some corn! How fitting! ;)

We ran a few more errands, got some groceries and then headed back to Becky's to have some lunch with her husband, Ben before he went in to work. I believe this is the day we finished the third Bourne movie too. It was such a relaxing and good day. I'm so grateful that Becky put some downtime into the itinerary. Smart woman! I tend to try to do too much and go go go... having someone make me slow down and anticipate exhaustion before it happens was just what I needed!

Day 5 - Departure Day :( 

Departure day always sucks. That looming moment where you will have to say goodbye is like a rain cloud over your head. I hate it. Luckily, we had one of my favorite activities left to do before heading to the airport... a used bookstore! Did you think I would go on vacation and not come home with some new books? Haha, you're silly. Becky introduced me to the most organized used bookstore I have ever seen and I found some great books! This was a perfect activity to brighten the day.

After leaving the bookstore, we were off to the airport and we said our goodbyes.

I had such a great time in Virginia and Washington D.C.! Becky was the ultimate host and I am still so grateful to her and her husband for having me for the weekend. Hopefully someday I will get the chance to return the favor and I will get to show her around Iowa! We don't have monuments, but we do have the biggest State Fair and .... bacon wrapped corndogs (pssst, Ben! That's for you! ha!)

Do you tend to stay really busy on vacation or do you schedule in down time?


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Sounds like a wonderful vacation! I would love to visit the Holocaust museum, but know it will be a harrowing experience. I went to a couple in Europe, which were all amazing and so impactful.

I like my vacations to have a combination of downtime and time spent out and about. I did a great job of this when I went to Paris as I did do a lot of sightseeing, but I also spent time in cafes reading!

Donna said...

I tend to veer in the opposite direction while I am on vacation. I would sit on my butt the whole time if given the opportunity! But my husband is very go, go, go, so we have to balance it for the two of us. And of course take into consideration that the kids can only do so much in one day. When they get older our vacations will probably become much more active.

Amber said...

Your trip sounds so great!! I think scheduling in downtime while traveling is VERY important. It's so easy to get burnt out and exhausted doing the go-go-go thing!

Becky said...

Wahoo! Great recaps! Haha bacon wrapped corndogs - I better make sure Ben doesn't read this or he'll be trying to book us on a plane tonight! :)

It was so much fun having you here - you're welcome back anytime!

Lexilooo said...

I think that the Holocaust Museum is one of DC's best...I've been several times, and it was the first museum I visited after moving here. I've lived in Poland and been to Auschwitz more than a dozen times (for classes I was taking at the time), and I think that the museum is just so well done. You said it so well by saying that we are all a little ignorant, and I agree completely. It's so important to know about though!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I am glad you had fun! It's a bummer that the reflecting pool was not full of water; when I was there in April it was under construction then too! It looks great no matter what, but there is just something magical when it has water. You will have to go back! Love the dress! Was that your "go to" outfit!! Did you end up getting everything in one bag after all?

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

Oh my gosh! What a crazy time with the bank! I hate when things like that happen. It looks like you had a good time though in DC and the monuments are always so cool to see!