One of the fun things about this trip was showing my husband and my son some cool stuff. This was my fourth trip to DC in as many years, and I'd always taken an extra day to explore before heading home. Now I got to share some of that stuff with them, and they shared some of their discoveries with me!
We went back to the Mall and headed towards the Lincoln Memorial. To get there, you have to go past the Washington Monument, the new WWII Memorial, and the reflecting pond. The WWII Memorial is beautiful. We walked around it just looking.
As we rounded the other side, there was a small, gated-off vent area, and just above the vent was Kilroy. Etched in stone, part of the memorial. I laughed out loud and wondered how many people missed this rather humorous addition to a somber memorial.
Leaving the WWII Memorial, we continued down the reflecting pond to the Lincoln Memorial. When I was 12 or 13, my grandmother brought me to DC and it seems like we saw EVERYTHING. I have no idea how long we were there, but it must have been during the week because I don't remember so many people being in all these places.
I remembered the Lincoln Memorial as being so quiet and awe-inspiring (in spite of the pigeon that had perched on Mr. Lincoln's head). It was a different scene last Saturday when we were there....
Lots of people. Lots. And one of the guards at the Hirshhorn said it was very quiet this weekend because no one wanted to travel on Friday the 13th. They see it everytime.
After the Lincoln Memorial, we visited the Vietnam Memorial. I'd finally made it last year and saw it in the pouring rain. This year it was sunny and cool. I don't know which was worse. Mourning while the universe mourned with you or doing it on a sunny day. Either way, it is a somber experience. Even Z-boy fell silent faced with so many names.
We definitely needed a pick-me-up after that. The guys decided to show me the sculpture garden and some of the Hirshhorn before we headed off to the Zoo. The garden was wonderful. And I got to see "Ed Bradley" for myself in the museum's gift shop.
Back on the Metro, heading for Woodley Park and the National Zoo. I guess they're doing some renovation, because we saw lots of closed exhibits. No wallabys to be seen. A far-off glimpse of the giant panda. Exhibit after exhibit - no animals. Finally! Seals! One in particular was appealing to us. The head had the same shape - the animal had the same sort of attitude... My husband and I looked at each other over Z-boy's head and said "Beryl" at the same time. Yes - we still miss our dog. The sea lions were quite entertaining as well, but then we found the real treasure of the National Zoo. Amazonia. Tanks of stingrays and prehistoric looking, enormous fish. Beetles, spiders and other inhabitants of that part of the world. Then a simulated environment. No bars. Just stay quiet and stay on the path. Monkeys swung on vines above us, birds flew within inches of our noses, fish parted the waters below us. It was magic.
Finally we began to feel that we hadn't wasted the trip to the zoo. And we came to the next really cool thing....
The anteaters were absolutely charming. They would come and visit, then walk around to the back side of their building, and come around again. They did this numerous times. I wish my camera had been more cooperative. It was a little slow on the uptake since the batteries were in sore need of replacing.
Finally, my tired guys and I got back on the Metro and headed back to the hotel. We ordered room service, ate, and went to bed.
Sunday's trip home was uneventful. Z-boy acted like flying was old hat this time around, even switching seats with me to sit by the window on our last leg of the trip. He wrote in the travel journal I got him at the airport almost continuously all the way home (he lost his note pad during a fire alarm at the hotel during breakfast Saturday. By the time we got back in, our breakfast had been cleared and his notepad was missing).
The cats were overjoyed to see us. Lava kept bashing himself against his glass in his eagerness to be noticed and have his vase stroked. And it felt really good to sleep in our own beds.
There really is no place like home.