Friday, November 9, 2012

Epic European Tour, Part I: Washington, D.C. Prelude

I must blog about the cruise before it gets too far past!  So here we go.

First things first, we knew that since we were flying out of JFK we should take advantage of being back east, so we planned a day or two on either end of our vacation to see some of the sights, and finally visit Emily at her house!  Where I have never been!  We had a pretty okay flight (besides that whole rush-to-the-airport-and-make-it-just-in-time-to-catch-our-flight thing that we're making way too regular an occurrence...), and we were so glad to make it to Emily and Elise's house at last!  After all these years I finally have seen their place!  It was so very very wonderful to spend time with Penny and the triplets and get reacquainted (it's kind of a fear of mine that my nieces and nephews elsewhere from where I live will grown up not knowing me).  We had a nice evening visiting with Emily and KC and Alex and Bennett and Ruby (I would probably jump off a cliff for that girl's face) and Jeff and Elise and Penny (she acted shy of me, but it only took reading her one book for her to warm up to me).  Emily was a great hostess and provided a very comfortable private room for us, and dinner and everything.
Little ones love jumping on me for whatever reason.
Ruby was helping Julie brush her teeth.
The next morning we jumped on the very nice metro with Elise and Penny and Grandma Ribeira and headed to D.C.!  Julie had never been, and it's been several years for me too, so it was really great to see everything.

We saw the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial (which would have been nice to have realized that it was right next to the Lincoln Memorial before walking all the way back to the mall) and then spent many lovely hours in museums galore!  We went to the Museum of American History (Kermit!  Dumbo!  The Star-Spangled Banner!) and the Museum of Natural History (where we met Jeff for lunch in the cafe and saw the Hope Diamond), and then spent a good couple of hours in the American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, then swung by the National Archives to see the very old Documents in the rotunda (where I was called Captain America by a security guard, who certainly earned the salute he received in return), and THEN hurried our way through the National Gallery of Art (which was a bummer because it closed so early and without so much as a warning or a chance to go through the gift shop, not to mention a very unfriendly staff).  We also walked by the Library of Congress and the Capitol Building and saw the White House and it was so crazy that all of these things are all so big and real and close by each other!  It's really cool to see things that are not only such famous sites in movies and American culture, but also, well, American history of course.  It would have been great to have had more time to soak it all in.
It's so tall.
There it is!  I don't much care for the current tenants, so we didn't bother taking a tour.
WM 4eva.
Who has two thumbs and comes from MO?  This girl!
It's like a family picture!  Penneh is the best.
Not too crowded!
Top pop!
These Chinese schoolkids were just enthralled by Penny!  Their teacher came to shoo them along, but then she was likewise enthralled and whipped out her camera too.  She is pretty cute and stylish.
Julie really liked the local wildlife.
A huge dollhouse!  It even had toilets.  I am standing there for scale.
They had blank walls for people to create their own superheroes.  Elise came prepared.
Supes' costumes used to be a little less fancy.
The lovely kitchen of the one and only Julia Child!
I love this frog.
They even had a little display about those wacky Mormons.
She likes the T-Rex.
'Twas closed, but it was nice to see it.
A librarian!  At a (closed) library.
We were a little bummed that we ran out of time, but for one day we thought we did pretty darn good.  Next time we'll hopefully spend a little more time and a couple more days seeing things before they close up.  By the end of the day our feet and eyes and faces were pretty worn out, so we headed home, where we visited some more and had a delicious dinner and Survivor of course and those kids are hilarious and then we went to bed so we could wake up nice and early to catch our bus to New York City.

So the next morning we woke up nice and early to catch our bus to New York City!  It was incredibly bumpy and the WiFi did NOT work as advertised, but we were glad to make it the city in just a few hours, and we had a nice long afternoon before we had to catch our flight across the ocean, so we walked through Central Park and had lunch Bethesda Terrace (walking around NYC isn't quite as exciting when you're lugging suitcases, especially when they keep breaking and stuff).  Julie had also never been to New York, so although we didn't have a lot of time there, it was nice to get a taste of the bigness and the tallness and the coolness and everything.
It was very early, did I mention?
A timely pit stop!
The city!  We made it!  (Bleargh, bus ride.)
Central Park is big.

Thanks for the great sandwiches, Elise!
For love.
Sassy!  We had to fit in with the New Yorkers.
Elise just loves to be the center of attention.
A trio of jet-setters.  So cosmopolitan!
And then we made it to the airport in plenty of time to sit around for a few hours (much better than hurrying to barely get there in time, though a happy medium would still be preferable), and then we caught our flight and we were on our way!
Let's try this one again...  We're a little punchy at this point.
That's a little more like it.
We sat all in a row and watched movies (Moonrise Kingdom... um) and read books and ate so-so food and tried to sleep and then finally we landed in Barcelona!  Spain!!!  To be continued...


  1. Here are some of my favorite things about this post:
    1) Remembering that amazing Star-spangled Banner exhibit
    2) Remembering all those trees and greenery of the more easterly states
    3) Those sandwiches! Everytime I think of those sandwiches I feel warm and fuzzy inside.
    4) Squirrel!

  2. You guys really packed it in! Good for you. I'm so happy to have shared some of your vacation time with you!