We were pretty wiped out from yesterday and we're still on California time. Our hotel is pretty old. In fact, it's a historic landmark or something. The room is small, but I guess you could call it cozy. It's got a weird room off to the side; it's pretty big, but it has just a table and two chairs. I guess you can use it as an office, but it doesn't have a real desk and there's a lot of empty floor space. We're using that room to lay out our suitcases and dump miscellaneous junk.
Guido got up really early to go down to the Washington Monument to get tickets for us. The rest of us got ready so we could leave when he came back. The weather has cooled off substantially from yesterday. In fact, we need to take umbrellas with us for the rest of the trip (residual effects of a storm are making their way toward us).
Our hotel is up the hill from the Dupont Circle subway station. The subway is going to be our main mode of transportation on this trip. I actually love public transportation and try to use it in every city I visit, so I am very excited.
Okay, so there's a loooooooong escalator down into the sub station. It's scary. Escalator etiquette applies here. You stand to the right so people can pass you on the left. I need to hold on tight to the railing, because I feel like I am going to fall forward. I don't know how people can walk down this thing with a briefcase in one hand, coffee in the other, talk on a cell phone, and NOT tip over into the abyss below.
Our first stop is the Bureau of Engraving & Printing - that's where they print MONEY! But first we make a stop at the Holocaust Museum. It's a pretty intense experience, so we are doing just the children's portion. I think our kids can relate to it a little bit, because we have talked about how Japanese-Americans were sent to camps during WWII. Of course, most people would think that was nothing compared to the Holocaust.
The BEP is interesting. Printing money is a very complicated process. Did you know that paper currency is actually more like cloth than paper? That's how it can hold up to changing hands so much. The BEP also prints postage stamps. The printing area stinks - all that green ink. It brings back memories of those summers I worked at the print shop.
The afternoon is devoted to visiting one landmark after another. First stop is the Washington Monument. Those tickets Guido got us this morning are our passports to the very top of the monument. Wow! The view is awesome. We're looking at all the places we'll be visiting on this trip. On the elevator ride down, our guide stops periodically to show us stones that were sent by various states. Each state has contributed a stone to the monument. There are also stones provided by various organizations and even some other countries.
We walk to the Lincoln Memorial. It reminds me of Fluffy's 100th day of school when she "made" a Lincoln Memorial out of 100 pennies.
We also make a quick tour of the WWII memorial, WWI memorial, and the Korean War memorial. I am looking for the Viet Nam memorial, but Guido says it's near the Capitol (wrong! It turns out we walked right past it, but I was so disoriented and I didn't have my map, I had no clue where we or anything else was).
The last stop is the Jefferson Memorial. Guido thought we were taking the short way, but it turned out to be the long way. The upside is that we got to walk underneath the cherry blossom trees.
Dinner is at McCormick & Schmicks on K Street. BTW, some of these street names are sounding very familiar. Unfortunately, I still remember parts of The Exorcist which I read in the 8th grade. Too scary.
It's raining and it's pretty late by the time we get back to the hotel. It's a long walk back up that hill.