Okay I lied about posting this recap yesterday, but you didn’t really expect back-to-back blog posts from me anyway, did you?
So far, this week has been full of the standard recovering-from-vacation activities… unpacking (still not done), cleaning up the messy apartment we left behind (almost done), avoiding the grocery store (ate egg sandwiches for dinner) and getting back into the swing of things at work (which continues to go well!).
I always feel like I need a mini-vacation to get my life back in order after a vacation, but this past weekend was SO WORTH the recovery! Brandon and I were in Washington, D.C. visiting two of his best friends. We flew out Friday night after work and got back pretty late on Sunday night. I had never been to D.C. and hadn’t seen Brandon’s friends since we were all in college, probably four years ago! It was fun to celebrate Brandon’s bday with a special trip and a chance to hang with his dude-friends.
Both of Brandon’s friends grew up in D.C., so I was kind of expecting them not to want to do all the tourist-y stuff I wanted to during the trip because I assumed they had done it all before. I was so wrong – not only were they excited to see the sights with us, they also turned out to be the BEST tour guides and helped us pick out the best itinerary for a super-quick 2 day trip. One of Brandon’s friends is getting married next year, so the trip was the perfect chance for me to get to know his fiancée, too. (I’d post names and more details but I try not to expose my friends to the whole internet like I do to myself without asking!)
It was pretty much a perfect trip. We had great weather – sunny and 70-80’s the whole weekend. We saw everything I really wanted to see. We laughed a lot and made new friends. Here’s what else we did:
Started off the trip right with some cocktails (and Instagraming) at the airport bar:
After arriving late Friday night, we hung out in the hot tub and had probably a few too many beverages. We stayed at Brandon’s friends house in (what I think is?) the suburbs of D.C. It was so much better than staying in hotels for travel! The drinks came back to haunt me Saturday morning when we got up early (for me, on a Saturday.. it was probably like 9 AM) to eat bagels and get ready to head to the Capitol for a tour. Tours are free (YES!) but you do have to make reservations.
I’m not going to go on and on about all the buildings we saw but I will say that they were all stunning and awe-inspiring in person. All the marble, pillars, ornate molding and details, and amazing sculptures seriously take your breath away.
Look how beautiful the Capitol is:
In addition to being excellent tour guides and chauffers, Brandon’s friends also served as photographers all weekend:
It is almost surreal to be at the Capitol after reading and learning about American history and about the decisions and policy-making that goes on HERE! Right HERE:
We were soooo lucky to have such great weather. And now you are so lucky because you get more pictures of my super tan legs in shorts!
The Apotheosis of Washington is painted on the dome of the Capitol rotunda. Apparently, by depicting him in this painting and suspending it above the Capitol, this painting symbolizes Washington becoming an American god. We also saw the crypt where George Washington was supposed to be buried and the National Statuary Hall Collection, which has two statues donated from every state in the nation. Our tour guide was unbelievably knowledgeable and had a pretty funny sense of humor, so the tour was enjoyable and I learned more about the history, architecture, paintings and sculptures of the Capitol than I will ever remember.
After the tour, we walked through a connecting tunnel to the Library of Congress, where you can actually get a library card and visit to read the reference books kept here:
We were all starving after walking around the Capitol, so we asked our tour guide for a restaurant/bar suggestion and he flashed us his U.S. Capitol Drinking Team pin inside his uniform blazer (seriously) and pointed us in the direction of the Tune Inn, a Capitol Hill classic that offers DEEP FRIED BURGERS. Surprisingly, Brandino stuck to a regular burger and I had some delicious chicken fingers, which helped my hangover, and a couple pints of beer, which did not help my hangover.
The next stop was the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. We pretty much went just for the gem collection, which has the most impressive sparkly items I have EVER seen (better than the Crown Jewels in London I think!). We saw the Hope Diamond:
and the prettiest emeralds, rubies, sapphires, more humongous diamonds….. I tried not to smoosh my face on the glass while I was drooling. We also saw some rocks of the non-Beyoncé type:
There were a bunch of other exhibits that would have been interesting but we could have spent all weekend just in that museum, and we were on a mission! So after viewing the gems, we headed to the National Archives to check out the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The documents are so old and so fragile that you can’t take pictures because the light is damaging. The lights in the exhibit room are very dim, and the exhibit is very popular – it was probably the longest line we waited in all weekend (although none of the lines were really too bad). The Declaration of Independence was actually in worse shape than I expected – you almost can’t read any of the signatures anymore, and there was a document called Magna Carta in the Archives from the 1200’s that was a lot more readable than the Declaration from the 1700’s.
and on that note, it is getting late and I am getting tired, so I will be back later this week with the rest of my pictures from D.C. and more stories!
Have you visited the East Coast? What is your favorite city to visit on the East Coast? I’ve been to Philadelphia (in the city itself very briefly), and I’ve also been to NYC and Richmond, Virginia, but do either of those count as the “East Coast”? I really want to visit Boston!
Have a great hump day!