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Strangers In a Strange Land, Part Two – Washington, D.C.

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This is the second installment in the series on our recent trip out east.

I don’t recall the fine details of the trip out to D.C. when I was a teenager. I signed up for a program in high school called “Close Up,” which was designed to let us government nerds geek out on an intensive week of touring and seeing government up close with other kids from around the country. My family drove out and while I learned stuff, my parents and sister wandered the city doing who-kn0ws-what. But I know that I had a great time for that week because this was such a unique city–built entirely around its history and role as the seat of national government.

And I looked forward to my family’s days there, as well: so much history and government, and all of the museums and memorials. It was, as it turned out, too much to try to cram into a few days. But we still got around to the highlights, and hit things the kids really wanted to do.

But when in Washington, you need to get a picture like this, right?


At least it proves we were there.

And while there, Patrick and Jenni discovered that when in the presence of all of that government, you really become the little guy:


We went to the International Spy Museum, where Patrick ran into a little…shall we say, entanglement?


And that’s part of what makes that place so interesting: as much as it’s a celebration of the James Bond films, it actually has real spy equipment and some discussion of the history of espionage on display. So by the time you get to the Bond stuff, you really realize how much the movies, while fake, aren’t too far off the mark. Also on display was the original Aston Martin from Dr. No.

That same day, we went to the National Archives and waited in line to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The girls were unimpressed. And while the parent in me really wanted to chastise them for feeling that way, I knew better–someday this might be important to them, and at least they could say they’ve been there.

Later on, we went to the National Cathedral, which, while it’s being repaired as a result of the earthquake a few years ago, is still a gorgeous building. Patrick even found the Darth Vader gargoyle. You know. Because he’s Patrick.

But on top of it all, the family learned about using what really is a very nice subway system. By the end of Sunday, we were all pros at riding the Metro.

But Monday was yet to come, and with it, lots and lots of planes. Well, tons of bus-riding, as well, but mostly planes.

See you tomorrow.