Friday, May 29, 2015

DC: Tour Till You Drop!

Our day began at the crack of dawn, a.k.a. 5:00am. Our sweet friends got up with us to make us the best coffee ever (because it was their version of the Island Vintage Latte in an Island Vintage coffee mug). We left the house at 6:00am and drove to the area our tour started from. Traffic was not a problem and we had plenty of time to figure out parking, use the restroom, check in, and wait in line. 

 Union Station

The View from our open top, double decker, Grayline bus. 

The tour started at 8:00am. On the drive we were given the history of the surrounding buildings and monuments. First stop, the Capitol Building. 

The Capitol Building has been under restoration for a while, hence the presence of the scaffolding.

The sign says "In God We Trust" when you walk into the Capitol. The statue is a replica of the one on top of the dome and is called "Freedom." 

We found something Hawaii related! 

We were able to get a tour inside the Capitol Building. It started with a video. Something I found interesting was that during the Civil War the dome was still under construction. President Lincoln decided to complete it despite the war to show that he still believed there would be a Union. 

The inside of the dome under construction. 

The gray pictures at the top there are actually paintings and took 75 years to complete! 

These next pictures are from the Statuary Hall. All the states donated two statues to have on display in the Capitol building. The House of Representatives use to meet in that room, however, because of its shape (which I tried to capture) the echo made it easy to hear people across the room speaking, but impossible for those in the middle of the room to hear anything. 

Texas contributed a statue of Sam Houston. 

Underneath the center of this picture is where President George Washington was supposed to be buried…only he'd been dead for 30 years…and there were laws against him being relocated. 

We were to be back at the bus at 11:00am. The clock was striking the hour as we ran across the lawn to the vehicle. Right as it came into our view it started pulling away! Mom about jumped in front of it waving not to leave us. That's the first time I've ever had to run to catch a bus. Turns out, more than half the group was missing, late, or at the wrong meeting place. Our driver was thrilled not too excited about that.

Next stop: the White House! This was as close as we were allowed to get. 

At the White House Visitor's Center we got to read about many things related to the house over the years and see it's layout and such. Evidently, nail scissors are too sharp to be in the visitor's center, as Chloe's were almost immediately confiscated. Like she was going to search the depths of her bag and unearth them to take a stab somebody. They had a spot to write down what we'd do if we were president. Here are the things Christian and I came up with:

This is the Iwo Jima Memorial. It was one of my favorite things to see. Our guide told us it took 9.5 years to complete this bronze statue and it is the largest in the world. 

Arlington National Cemetery. 
We only drove by it, but the small portion we saw was huge and sobering. 

Entering: World War II Memorial. Another of my favorites as well as Mom and Dad's. So beautiful! 

Lincoln Memorial. 

From the steps. 

Inside. The statue is 19 feet tall and if he were standing it would reach 28 feet!

From the bottom of the steps. 

Gabe, ready to strike a pose as always. 

Vietnam Memorial. 

We stopped at several other memorials, but I don't have pictures for everything. Lunch also took place somewhere in there and we were always some of the first people back to the bus. No close calls for us again! We saw and learned about so many things and walked a lot. Currently, as I sit cross-legged on my bed, my ankles and shins are screaming at me for abusing them so badly today and asking why I hate them so much a bit sore. 

The tour ended at 5:00pm back at Union Station. Getting our truck was not difficult and we made it home safely. (I refer to wherever we are sleeping that night as "home" by the way.) Dinner was all ready for us when we walked in the door ready to sink to the nearest couch in exhaustion or better yet skip that and just hit the floor inside the door ready to rest and clean up from the warm afternoon spent in the sunshine! (I even got to work on my tan while out all day…which is currently in the most gorgeous shade of lobster you will ever see.) 

The rest of the day has been spent relaxing, although you'd be surprised at how much energy kids can still have when mixed with other kids they have not seen all day. I believe the chemical equation is "crazy with a pinch of monkey juice and giggle gas".  

It was a very fun, very long, very active, very educational day. I am sure everyone will sleep like a rock. 

The Herd: Quoted

"Oh. We are at a stop light. I was like 'why are we just sitting here?'" -Me

"These bus seats aren't very good for sleeping." -Dad
"What? You wanted to drive all the way up here, pay for a bus tour, and get on it only to take a nap?!' -Me

"Oh, I would have been so mad if we'd missed it." -Mom
"Spirit of aloha. It's all good. We made it. We're okay." -Dad 
"No, this is DC. We are not okay to miss our bus. We have to be early." -Mom

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