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Washington DC October 6, 2008

Posted by Beth in Personal.

Here’s a peek at my trip with Eva to Washington D.C. Many of the places we visited didn’t allow photos (like the chamber of the House of Reps, the Spy Museum, and the National Gallery of Art – but you can see an image of my favorite painting here, although the internet can not come close to reproducing the incredible detail and accuracy of the painting. It seemed like if I could stroke Napoleon’s skin it would have felt soft, warm and smooth.) We had only 10 minutes in the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. Guess I will just have to go back!

From the Washington Monument

From the Washington Monument

We were able to tour the Capital- well just the House side. The Senator’s offices don’t give tours and the Rep’s aren’t allowed to take tours to the Senate side. I was impressed by the statuary and art work, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to appreciate it all. Eva was able to see the originals of several works of art she studied last year through Scott Powell’s History at our House (see link in side bar) including the Baptism of Pocahantas and The Westard Course of Empire Takes its Way.

Here’s something I never noticed before about one of my favorite paintings. Do you see how Jefferson is stepping on the foot of Adams? I find that pretty funny!

Detail from John Trumball's Signing of the Declaration

Detail from John Trumball's Signing of the Declaration

The House chamber was essentially empty and some poor Rep was blabbing to himself about a project he wanted funded. It really struck home how many laws get passed without anyone truly understanding what they are all about. I think we would be a lot freer if our Congressmen had to sit and listen to everything being said. They would have less time to write up laws– most of which just spend our money and restrict our freedoms– and maybe they would think more about what they were saying if they knew that they had to sit and listen to whatever everybody else had to say. Sort of like batters used to get hit less by pitchers when the pitchers knew they had to take their turn as a target….I mean up to bat.

Dome of the Capital

Dome of the Capital

Eva doesn’t like hiking and the weather was too iffy (rain) to rent bicycles, so I didn’t get to see as many of the memorials as I would have liked. My favorite though was the Korean War Memorial with its ponchoed solidiers slogging through the jungle. The wall off to the side was etched with ghostly images, almost like the souls fo the soldiers were there keeping watch. A beautiful flower wreath from the Ambassador of Korea adorned the memorial with thanks. It was nice to know someone remembered and appreciated what young men from the U.S. have given to the world. Freedom does have a price.

And it is more than eternal vigilence.

I didn’t know that there is more than one copy of the Magna Charta and that one of the originals is at the National Archives. It was exciting to see what good shape it’s in, even after 800 years. The Declaration and the Constitution weren’t as well preserved, but it was still exciting to see them. No flash photos allowed, and the light was dim, but here is what I could capture:

We spent a day at Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. I love this place. They have preserved it so well that you truly get a glimpse of what life was like back then, and of what a remarkable individual Washington was–and all done with privite funding. I regret not taking more pictures of the grounds (none were allowed of inside the house.)

We had a taste Peanut and Chestnut soup for lunch–a bit like drinking peanut butter–and saw the actual key to the Bastille. The educational center has a fascinating exhibit where using computer technology, they reproduced images of Washington at various ages and then made incredibly life-like wax models. All in all a wonderful tribute to an amazing man.

This trip would not have been possible without our hosts and tour guides, the Cardiff family.
My favorite part of the whole trip has can’t be reproduced here as it was the concert Eva and Gwen gave us on piano and guitar.

I gained a lot of confidence on navigating cities and in particular the use of the Metro. It is nice to be home and engaged in a predictable routine for a while, but when the next opportunity for travel arises, I will be ready.


1. LB - October 8, 2008

There never seems to be enough time to see all that you plan to see in DC. Luckily for us, it’s not too far away so we try to get to the general area every two years or so. We just visited Mount Vernon last year for the first time (very interesting), but really, I can’t wait to get back to Monticello.

Thanks for the peek at your trip.

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