Saturday, August 29, 2009

Capitol Visit

Whew! Been a busy month with work - no traveling, but report-writing mania that took over my body and soul (so it seemed). So, no blogging or picture-taking until last weekend. It was great timing: Paul and I needed a break from work, and my cousin invited us up for a visit, so we got away for an extended weekend to visit my cousin Laura and her husband Nate in Washington D.C. They are getting ready to move, and we wanted to see them before they left the east coast.

Last Friday, we got up at 4:00 and drove to the Light Rail on the outskirts of Charlotte because we have seen the Amtrak station in Uptown, and didn't want to leave our car there for the four days. It was a good choice! We took the Light Rail into Uptown, and then caught the bus to the Amtrak station. This did take a coordinated effort to figure out what time we needed to catch the bus, which route and how to work it. We got it down, thanks to a very patient bus driver. Once we got on the train, it was smooth sailing and we had plenty to do: movies to watch on our laptop, knitting, books to read and we even spent time talking to each other, despite all the media devices. We arrived in D.C about 10 hours later, quite refreshed after all the naps.

First thing we did when Laura and Nate picked us up was eat dinner and head to the county fair to see if Laura won a prize for her oatmeal cookies she submitted. They were very good cookies and figured the judges must have erred.

We were pretty tired after that and headed to "Bedfordshire" as Paul calls it, waking up at a decent time to hit the sites the next morning. We started the day by going to Market Lunch for breakfast- a fun experience where good food is served at a price: "No Saving Seats". It was a free for all once you got your food- you had to hurry and sit down on the bench. Paul had his tea and sat down to save me a seat while I rounded up condiments on our tray and put syrup on the pancakes. By the time (30 seconds later) that I got to where I thought Paul was sitting, he had already been whisked away by the bus boy, who said that tea does not count as having your food, and he must vacate until he has his food. While stressful, it was worth it and worth the half hour wait in line to order your food.

We wandered around the outdoor market after that and spent some time in Capitol Books- a very intriguing used book store that was loaded literally from top to floor with books. It was an old house so there were books in the "bathroom" books in the sink, books in every bedroom and even lining the stairs.

We all went to a museum and to the White House and then Laura and Nate had a wedding to go to, so Paul and I continued to wander around to see the Capitol....

And to the national botanic garden...

...And then the fog and rain set in so we high-tailed it into the National Air and Space Museum so Paul could check out all the planes and space craft. It was pretty interesting, even for me.
By the end of the day, the rain had cleared out all but the most stalwart of tourists and so we got to see the Declaration of Independence with hardly any wait at all. It was wonderful to see the most important documents of our nation in person.
Then the sun peaked out, just to say goodnight as we made it to the Washington Memorial.

More to come on the next day... later! I'm heading to bed. Goodnight everyone.