Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Break Day 6: Washington, D.C.

So, I'm officially a month behind in blogging. Ahhh!! School is crazy getting stressed for TAKS and then the fall festival this weekend and Saturday School. But, I digress...Back to Spring Break! I had the MOST amazing time in DC walking around the National Mall and all by myself. It was definitely another #1 travel moments of my life! So, of course, I was following 1000 Things to See Before You Die so I started off with the first place...Arlington National Cemetery. Unfortunately, I got a late start because I locked myself out of the condo, lol. So, I didn't see EVERYTHING I wanted to (like the Confederate Army and Revolutionary Army and Challenger astronauts) but what I saw moved me even more than when I came in high school 10 years ago.
Everyone suggested that I take the (above-ground subway) Metro into the city but I just followed my GPS in the rental car and found it just fine. (Well, ok, not fine, I got lost but I handled it). :)

When I got out of the car I couldn't help but feel a bit of glee at the Washington Monument and the beautiful blue sky surrounding it. It was a really nice day out!
Walking into the lobby area where the Information Desk was with the MAPS! And the wonderful gift shop. I SHOULD have shopped before hand but I was silly and didn't. Ended up running out of time and it closed while I just had time to pick a few things out.
LOVED the signs that were posted for any foreign visitors or careless people.
Arlington National Cemetery is so regal, beautiful and moving. It's so solemn to see all those who have passed away in deadly combat...but so patriotic in knowing that these men and women gave their lives so that teachers and kids and all citizens could have the privileges we have today. We are amazingly blessed in the US!
Rows and rows :(
My favorite shot....
The cherry blossoms were blooming which created a beautiful addition to the area.
JFK's gravesite was very moving because of this speech. I took pictures of all parts that make up a half circle. Hoping to memorize it for something one day...
Walking up to JFK's gravesite.
The eternal flame and grave markers. JFK on the left. Jackie Onassis on the right.
Another beautiful view of the National Mall.
The bigger markers were the Generals and higher ranking officers that I can't quite remember at this moment. Colonels, Lt ______s etc.
A picture of the cherry blossoms with all other color taken out.
The amphitheatre on the back of this picture is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Tomb of the Unknown Solider...Got there in great time when there was hardly a crowd. Before changing of the guard.
:) Yea....
Hello.....I was really thinking horrible things instead of honoring the fallen. Don't get me wrong, I did say my prayers for the men and women who are and have served our country. But, come on, you know what I was thinking while photographing this man. :)
And then there was DOUBLE.... Oh, it was fantastic. I had a FRONT row to this majestic, moving tradition and with such beautiful "scenery." However...right then.....My camera died. Yep, it was SO aggravating. And my extra battery was in the car, a mile away. No bueno!
After Arlington National Cemetery closed around 5-6pm I figured I'd go check into my hotel . I loved the room! It was my FIRST sleep number bed and I loved it! I only wish I could have actually slept in it...but since my flight was at 6am I ended up leaving around 3:30 in the morning. Will have to return, though! This individual coffee maker SAVED ME when waiting up for my flight that night.

Actually, I never really intended on going to the National Mall. I figured it was too late but was really looking for Ben's Chili Bowl, recommended by EVERYONE including the Travel Channel and Food Network. But there was parallel parking along the road the GPS took me through. So I went with the flow and got out ready to explore! It was completely spur of the moment and it was probably the most fun I had on the trip.
A beautiful view of the Capitol Building from the Washington Monument.
The White House from the Washington Monument.
The WWII Monument and Lincoln Memorial behind that.
Loved the flags around the Monument with the Capital peeking through.
Another view of the Capitol Building through the American Flags of the Washington Monument.
Washington Monument when walking towards the Lincoln Memorial.
At the WWII Memorial. Dedicated to my Grandpa who was a Merchant Marine during the War. Love my Papa!!
Half of the WWII Memorial...
Hook em, Texas!!
Another view inside the WWII Memorial.
From WWII to the Washington Monument...while the sun was setting. Ahhhhh, life was so good at that moment. :)
WWII and Washington Monument
Jefferson Memorial from the WWII Memorial. Didn't have the time (or daylight) to make it there AND the Lincoln Memorial. Sadly, ehough, I also missed the new MLK Memorial. That made me COMPLETELY devastated.
Walking up to the Lincoln Memorial.
Unforutately the reflection pond was being drained. :(
View from the Lincoln Memorial...
Getting closer! I could see Lincoln peeking out back there!
I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this moment. Finding the marker where MLK stood for his I Have a Dream speech that I've taught every year for 5 years now. It was an amazing moment for me!
The view MLK had...
And, then.........Lincoln!
And again....and again......I have at least 20 shots of this, lol.
During sunset when it first was lit. Amazing!!!!
The Vietnam Memorial...Unforunately, it is NOT lit at night. Very depressing. It was chilly by then and so I had to get some coffee. I should have known there were no drinks allowed. So, I waited too long for the sun to set.
A very somber moment......
I cried.....and cried.......and cried.......the whole walk.
And when I was done.....The new moon was out. It was amazing. This camera doesn't even COMPARE to how big that moon was that night. It was ......... (words don't express)....magical.
Another shot...with the Capitol Building sticking out.
The WWII Memorial lit up.
Really beautiful....
WWII almost all of it....So pretty at night. And so many people walking around. I loved it...
Having a bit of fun lol.
Lol, can you tell I was getting a little lonely spending the whole day alone? LOL
Last view of the WWII Memorial and Lincoln Memorial behind it.
By then it was way later, like around 8-9pm and the rental car was due back. I drove by Ben's Chili Bowl but the area was PACKED and it wasn't the safest looking neighborhood at night. So I returned the car and suddenly realized that I hadn't eaten all day. Luckily there was a mall, business district across the street and down a few blocks from the hotel. Ended up finding a Chick-fil-A and took it back to the room. Stayed up ALL NIGHT and caught my plane back to Houston (the day before the Reagan controversy with air traffic controll, lol). Glad I flew when I did! The airport sucked, though, at 4am that is. Got ripped off by the cab driver too. But all-in-all I had a WONDERFUL spring break. Hoping next year's is just as good!!!!

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