07/09/2005: D.C. Day 1, Museums and monuments
We spent the night in the livingroom of Ken and Beth's apartment over the garage. Occasionally, we'd hear the dwarf donkeys or the horse out back. Pleasant rural sounds.
We had a blueberry pancake brunch there, and then the four of us took the 45 minute drive and half-hour Metro trip into the center of D.C.
The Mall, bounded by the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the many buildings of the Smithsonian and other museums, was covered by tents, canopies, and stages. These were left from the 4th of July shindig, and take weeks to clear out.
My goal was to register for a special tour at the Smithsonian Castle, and then to see the new American Indian Museum. We trotted along the Mall in the hot sun, and then explored the too-cold-for-my-taste Indian Museum. We followed part of a tour, and then had a very nice lunch. I recommend this museum as a place to eat on the Mall (if you like any form of native food).
After lunch, we looked over more of the museum, and then headed back westward. We stopped at the Holocaust Museum to see their special exhibit on medical experimentation. At the door, the guard had no sense of humor. The post-911 search at the Castle and the Native Museum seemed perfunctory compared to the going over at the Holocaust Museum. Karen even had to drink some of her water (I suppose to prove that is wasn't Nitro-Glycerin). This museuam is as unsettling in its design as the Jewish Museum in Berlin (that I saw 2 years ago) was. Distinctly creepy.
I've always enjoyed looking at a single monument from a variety of perspectives:
After the Holocaust Museum, we walked clockwise around the Grand Basin. So we did the new F.D.R. Memorial backwards. Toward the end (beginning) we came across an enthusiastic Park Ranger with a talent for story telling. Lowell Fry captivated us, and we followed him back from FDR's first term until his death (FDR's, not Fry's).
Then we headed back to the Metro, and home to Ken and Beth's