Day 1 - Fly to Seattle and spend the night with Carmen and Jeremy and the highland dancing sensations! That's always one of the best parts of any trip.
Day 2 - Jensen's introduce us the the Seattle Farmer's market and Vietnamese food. I always enjoy whole-in-the-wall establishments. We got on a flight around 2 p.m. that had 30 or so empty seats. At one point Kaitlyn had one bench to herself and I had one for myself. It was pretty low key. 5 hours to D.C.
Day 3 - Eat a very expensive breakfast in the hotel restaurant. We visited the Holocaust Museum. Wow, it is a really big place. Something that was really interesting, at least for me, was that at one point we got to walk through one of the train cars that transported people to Auschwitz. Upon entering the train car I felt an incredible feeling, that I can't entirely describe in an email, and left as soon as I exited the car. Of the whole museum, that part stuck out to me the most. It was like I could feel the fear of the people who once inhabited the car. We next followed the parade of motorcycles (apparently motorcycle riders ride to the Lincoln Memorial every Memorial Day, not the best day to visit the President Lincoln). We walked over and looked at the Washington Memorial (from afar) and continued on to the WWII veterans memorial. We then went to the Lincoln Memorial and had to traverse a crowd of leather wearing, tattoo showing motorcyclists. We then visited the Korean War Memorial and Vietnam Memorial. We tried to go see the National Aquarium, but decided that free exhibits were more fun than $12/person tickets to see exotic fish. By this time we were so tired of walking in the blistering sun that we went back to our apartment.
Day 4 (Memorial Day) - We started our day by trying to go to Arlington National Cemetery. Firstly, let me tell you that if you wan to go to Arlington don't choose Memorial day. It's funny how that never really crossed our minds until it was ultimately too late. When we arrived everything was closed down and there was a mob of hot angry tourists numbering about 400-500 waiting to enter the cemetery, but were unable because it was locked down awaiting the exit of Vice President Biden (who had just given a televised speech honoring veterans). Since the park didn't know when V.P. Biden was going to actually leave, everything was on hold. After waiting for about 45 min, we decided that a glimpse was good enough and decided to return to D.C. and begin our Smithsonian experience. The funny part is that as we walked back, with the entrance to the underground metro-rail in sight, V.P. Biden decides to come out and the police make everyone on the sidewalk stand still and wait for him to drive by. Finally, we did make it back to D.C. (only after a sardine like packed ride on the metro) and wen to the Museum of American History. This museum is all about pop culture and things we use everyday. We go to see Dorothy's Red Shoes and Kermit. Most importantly we go to see the remnant of the "Star Spangled Banner" Flag that flew over Fort McHenry in the war of 1812. It was really neat and really huge. We next wen to the Natural History Museum (Night at the Museum stuff) and had a blast learning about evolution! Really, this museum is basically filled with a bunch of stuffed animals, not much to say.
Day 5 - We got tickets to a tour of the printing and engraving bureau and watched them print the new $100 bill which will be released in late fall. While we were waiting for the tour to start a stranger stopped by us and offered two tickets to tour the inside of the Washington Monument. Of course, we accepted and it was a blast to travel up the 50 stories inside the tallest free standing brick building in the world! Actually, the ride was about 30 seconds and was pretty uneventful, but the view was cool. We then went to the White House visitor's center, which surprisingly is no where near the White House. Frankly, I think the President must have a hard time living there knowing that everything he sits on is older then him and is worth more. It's a museum in itself. Says the visitor center. We couldn't get an actual tour because apparently you need to write your congressman and ask for one. Lame. We wen to the National Archives next, and for a history teacher, this was the krem de la kreme! We got to see the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. Even better, we got to see the MAGNA CARTA! Holy cow, the MAGNA CARTA! That was way cooler than the Constitution, written 1215 A.D. and was surprisingly not guarded, which means somebody (me) got ridiculously close to it. :) We finished our day at the Air and Space Museum, which by this time was near the end of our stamina. We were so tired that we flew the museum, only spending about an hour there (which, if you've never been to a Smithsonian is lightning quick).
Day 6 - We rent a car and go the D.C. Temple. Really neat. One of my favorite designs. I think it is so pretty. Upon entering we noticed that there was see through windows, which surprised us because one can't usually see into the temple from the outside, especially behind the closed doors part. Overall, it is shaped similar to Provo where the Celestial Room is surrounded by six Endowment Rooms. Interestingly, the Endowment rooms don't have a middle isle, which means that the men and women sit next to each other. Not often that one gets to hold hands with their spouse during and Endowment session. Neat.
We then drove the 2.5 hour trip (4 in actuality w/traffic) to Monticello. Monticello was Thomas Jefferson's residence after his presidency. It is in a beautiful mountain top over looking the University of Virginia. This day was probably my favorite because of the shear beauty of the area.
Day 7 - Spend entire day flying back to Idaho Falls. Washington D.C. to Seattle was packed 3 to a bench all the way through. We need to become richer and get first class because full coach stinks.
Things learned from D.C.
Firstly, we realized that big city life is not in our future. There were way too many people to feel comfortable. People drive crazy in D.C. There are lot of jokes about Utah drivers out there, and perhaps some of them are true. D.C. drivers made Utah look like model citizens.
Secondly, don't visit D.C. on Memorial Day.
Thirdly, riding the Metro wasn't that bad, once you get the hang of it. Just don't ride the green or yellow lines, we got a lot of crazy looks being the only caucasian folks on the train for 30 sec. Scary. I mean...I was fine.
Fourthly (and most important) - don't rent a 4 star hotel when you're a 2 start kinda person. Give me a continental breakfast any day.