We were really lucky to get to stay with JJ and Jen and their four cats. Here is me and Cuomo, the king of the cats. I loved him.
Roo and I both believe that it's who you're with on a vacation that really makes it great (or not so great.) Luckily, we got to spend the week playing cards, watching Harry Potter, and eating cupcakes with JJ (Roo's brother) and Jen. Plus, Spencer (Roo's other brother) and Kristen and their ultra intelligent children drove down from Rochester to sightsee with us--we had J, Sam, and Knox to explain to us what E Plurbis Unim meant, why the Classical architecture and symbolism of the city was so pertinent to our American ideals, and what they were going to be for Halloween--so we pretty much had a guaranteed awesome trip.
Here's what we saw:
Probably my favorite museum was the Holocaust Memorial Museum. The subject is really important to me, and the museum was fantastically done! It was tragic and hopeful at the same time. The building itself was such an amazing, symbol-filled work of art. Below is what the architect had in mind when he designed it:
"Everywhere there are dualities and options. The west wall of the Hall of Witness is made of black granite, the east wall of white marble — the former ominous, the latter hopeful. The play of light and shadow, along with contrasting wide and narrow spaces, arouses contradictory notions of accessibility and confinement.
The entire Hall is defined by unpredictability and uncertainty. Altogether, the interior suggests a departure from the norm, informing visitors that they are in a profoundly different place. It is an environment that stimulates memory and sets an emotional stage for the Museum's exhibitions. Exposed beams, arched brick entryways, boarded windows, metal railings, steel gates, fences, bridges, barriers, and screens — all "impound" the visitor, and are disturbing signals of separation.
The fissure underscores a sense of imbalance, distortion, and rupture — characteristics of the civilization in which the Holocaust took place."
This room was full of pictures of the faces and lives of a small but thriving Jewish community that was completely wiped out by the end of the war.This was a plain, reverent room with rows of lit candles and Old Testament scriptures on the walls. It was very lovely and peaceful.
I could not stop thinking about who had worn these shoes. When was the last time they had taken them off? I found this especially moving.
A perfect Isaiah quote.
Did I mention that a storm of permanent, non-stop, freezing rain decided to visit D.C. too? It was bitterly cold and wet, and I had gotten a nasty cold, so walking around all day outside was really a sort of crucible of wills for me. But I still loved the city!
We took a tour of the Capitol in the rain:
We took a tour of Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate in the rain:
Saw the very impressive and beautiful Lincoln Memorial in the rain:
Walked the deceptively lengthy distance of the reflecting pool in the rain:
Went to the WWII Memorial in the rain:
Wore head scarves like Russian peasant women while posing with the Washington Monument in the rain:
The one day it didn't rain we got to spend with Spencer and Kristin sightseeing. This is the National Gallery of Art:
We were pretty tired most of the time. So when we weren't browsing artifacts or looking for good street vendor food, we took advantage of any comfortable chairs to sit down for a minute.
This is in the archives where we saw the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
We both decided we loved D.C. in spite of the rain. It was interesting, impressive, and we didn't see any racoon-sized rats in the Metro.