This is where we began day whatever in DC. The Things might have been most excited about this. And when they were I tried diligently not to become the pious mother and shame them for not being this intrigued by the White House, other Smithsonian museums or even our tour of the Capitol which was scheduled for the next day. As yet another disclaimer I was actually quite impressed with this museum and the knowledge I gained while there. Now, for the rest of this post call me Gretta please.
Once you enter the museum small groups of unsuspecting participants are taken by secret elevator to the alias room, hence Gretta. I know, I know. Moving on. You are given a mission and are invited to participate throughout the tour. The Things were able to climb through air ducts, learn all about the important role spies have played in helping maintain our freedom and we were also given the nugget that Washington D.C. is home to the highest spy population. Thanks for that one. Thing 4 and Poppi walked around calling out the spies they supposedly saw and remaining in character, much to our delight. It was entertaining. I think what I found most fascinating about this place was the history. We moved through rooms, into bunkers and all about. All the while chronologically following the evolution of the spy. Cameras hidden in pens, the smallest microchips, toys smuggled across borders carrying top secret documents and on and on. Wow.
Recognize this family?
After having our fill of hiding out we bee lined it to the National Archives (no photos allowed ), passing tap the Navy Memorial on our way. There is a world map on the ground within a large circle of flags and water surrounding and standing large on the other side of the street is the National Archives building.and building. That grand structure completely overwhelmed me. The Magna Carta, an eight hundred year old document lay behind glass and was actually legible. I stood and gazed in disbelief and then we moved on to the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. We moved along due to the crowd pressing in but we had our fill and tried with all our might to discern the signatures. History, at our finger tips. From there we walked to China town where a tall and enormous friendship bridge stands. We visited Vapianos, an Italian restaurant ( ironic, I know since we were in Chinatown) that Husband Jared and I had actually dined at in Vienna. Delish. Check it out if it's in a city near you, I think they are beginning to infiltrate the US market. More walking, more metro riding.
Maybe a nap or two?! Don't tell.
With imminent weather looming we weren't certain our twilight monument walk would be a good idea, so not wanting to take any chances or miss anything we hoofed it and made up our own tour. First on the list, the Washington monument, still stunning even with it's construction fences. There we found shade in the shadow of the monument and caught our breath and discussed relevant facts and details.
On to the World War Two Memorial. A wreath for each state that sacrificed soldiers, a fountain for the European countries and a beautiful wading pool in the center of it all. If my brief descriptions and lack of detail concerning each monument seems void I apologize and no disrespect is intended. There is so much to be said for each and everyone and I encourage you all to do further research of your own and see what you discover. We walked through the park, along the pond and I would be remiss if I did not mention a protester whose path crossed ours. We exchanged words of encouragement and "God bless you's" and then were on our way. Four Things were not at all surprised that I stopped the man, but of course. The Vietnam Memorial was breathtaking. To see those names, numbers unimaginable, in order, year by year. There just aren't any words.
Then there was Honest Abe, standing, well sitting tall, larger than life. His words flanking the walls surrounding.
The six Hansons
The 16th President of these United States
We toured the area and then the rain came. Before we could run to catch a cab the girl Things had overheard a man preaching just below the monument. Not wanting to miss a moment they ran down after seeing Mr. Lincoln and listened. They were hoping to hear a message of grace and that is just what they heard. Affirming he was "on the right track" we had clearance to move on.
Preacher on the left, tye dye shirt - Thing 1 and next to her Thing 2
A full day, full of history and heart ache and triumph and national pride and sacrifice and memories. We raced back to the hotel in cabs, literally.
Four in one, four in the other
Dinner this night presented major dilemmas. So much so that we needed to cool off in the pool before we decided on anything, which is exactly what we did. And then we chose Mexican food. A rather hip tapas style place that intrigued all of us with it's traditional menu. The decor was bright and possibly our favorite feature was the large LCD TV framed in an elaborate, gaudy gold frame that ran the same movie in Spanish continually. Entertaining. Thing 4 chose the King's chair at our table and we began perusing the menu and making our choices. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity for a culinary adventure and I went for a grasshopper taco and lamb tamale. Whew, so very good. The taco was earthy, and according to Husband Jared it tasted like "grass". Well duh!
It was an enjoyable night and the conversation seemed to center around eccentric foods and whether or not we would be brave enough to try. For the record the Things did not try my taco. Yet another memorable meal ending another full day of being tourists in the capitol.