Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 1- Washington, DC

The day was already hot, hot, hot. From the Mega Bus lot at K and Capital Street, we rolled our luggage to Union Station.

Washington DC has a great Metro system, it’s just a little complicated at first to figure out the fare structure. Machines where you can buy passes or fare cards are prominently located inside the stations. Fortunately staff are available to give you advice about which type of fare to buy, when and how to punch your fare cards and approximately how much you need to spend. Check out the Washington Metro system site for more details.

From the Takoma Metro stop, we followed the directions given by the owner of the 1850s mansion bed and breakfast that we booked through Airbnb. I guess we looked a little lost at one point because a merchant left his store, crossed the street and asked if he could help us. This wasn’t an isolated incident of kindness and hospitality. We found throughout our trip that people in Washington are extremely friendly and helpful.

The owner of our bed and breakfast was waiting for us when we arrived. He let us leave our luggage early because we didn’t know of any place in the Washington core where we could temporarily store it before check in. Our rooms were clean and cool which was a blessing since it was over 100 degrees outside.

The Takoma neighbourhood feels very safe. Believe it or not, although it’s just a 15minute metro ride from the centre of Washington, Takoma is actually located in the state of Maryland.

After freshening up, we spent four hours at the Holocaust Museum and attended an interview with a Holocaust survivor. We were enthralled. The whole thing was an informative and very moving experience. I believe we all came out more informed about this awful piece of history. The museum is free but if you do not want to wait in line for timed tickets, you can buy them in advance on line for $1.00 each.

After a tantalizing supper at Mcdonalds (kid’s choice), we went to the Spy Museum. Tickets are normally $18.00 per person however we joined Goldstar and paid $9.00 per person plus a $2.50 per ticket handling fee in advance. The kids loved this interactive museum and we could have easily enjoyed more than the 2 ½ hours we spent there. The gift shop had some really unique items.

We then returned to Mcdonalds for ice cream and smoothies. In my experience, keeping kids well fed and watered is imperative to having a happy vacation.

We ended the night by visiting a few of the monuments. The Monuments are magical at night. The lit up Washington monument and the WWII Memorial are spectacular but for me, nothing compares to the Lincoln Memorial at night. Fireflies in the grass between the monuments only added to the magic of the evening.

With tired feet but happy spirits, we called it a night.

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