By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
Days 7-11: July 21 – 25, 2009
Once we got onto our train with all of our crap, we settled in for another comfy ride to our next destination: Washington, D.C.!
I was so excited to be returning to D.C. again, as it is one of my most favorite places to travel. Because I had worked there during 2005 and 2006 doing educational travel for schools and student groups, I knew my way around the city quite well, as well as the metro system. It was Erikka’s first trip there, so I was excited about getting to show her absolutely everything that I could in three and a half days; I had an itinerary mapped out and everything. Our train arrived at Union Station, where we parked our luggage and grabbed some lunch. Then we were off on the metro, which came back to me like second nature, and rode to the stop that was closest to our hotel. Little did I know when I booked our stay at the Hilton Washington, D.C. (lovingly known as the “Hinckley Hilton,” since it is the hotel where John Hinckley attempted to assassinate former president Ronald Reagan), that the “short walk” from the metro stop was entirely uphill. With ALL of our luggage. And it was VERY hot. And humid. That short walk was a mighty whippin’, let me just tell you. When we finally made it to the hotel, it wasn’t quite three o’clock, which is check-in. Our room was not ready. Oh wow. So we hung out in the lobby, looking like hobos with all of our luggage, and fell asleep for a little while waiting for our room. Oh but it got even better. Once we got upstairs – like, the 17th floor – and flopped down onto the bed for a nap, the fire alarm sounded. And it didn’t stop. So, we were on our way, barefooting down 17 flights of stairs, all to get to the lobby and wait some more to be allowed back up. No danger was present – construction workers were. Nice. Half an hour later, we were back upstairs, but then too awake to catch a nap. So we soon went off to find some dinner nearby, because we had a busy few days ahead planned and didn’t want to be out too late this first night. I was loving every minute of our trip, just being able to spend time together and be totally in love with each other, not caring what anybody around us thought about it.
We decided, after all of the walking we had been doing already, that we were going to spend the money to take one of those tour buses that goes around the city and stops at all of the major attractions; you can get on and off as many times as you want during the time frame that your ticket allows. So off we went, armed with backpacks, cameras, and sunscreen, and started our adventure through our nation’s capital. We started at the National Cathedral, and I was –as with every other time I have walked through its doors –awed and amazed by its beauty. From there we rode upper level in the sunshine on the bus, touring through Georgetown and getting whacked in the faces by tree branches (that part wasn’t so fun). Down through Embassy Row, we looped around town and did drive-bys of different places, including Arlington National Cemetery. Later we landed at some of the Smithsonians, starting first at my favorite: the American History Museum. It was exciting to take Erikka floor by floor, looking at all of the amazing history that lies behind those panes of glass. Later we hopped back onto the bus and did some more drive-bys, hoping that we would be able to get back to them in the next couple of days. The following day we made it to more of the memorials, including the Vietnam veterans, the Lincoln, the Korean, and the World War II. We also hit the Washington Monument but didn’t go inside, and did drive-bys of the FDR and Theodore Roosevelt memorials as well. There was SO much to see and do, and SO much walking, we were having to pace ourselves to do what we could without completely exhausting ourselves. Once back at our hotel, we discovered that a small little gayborhood was right around the corner a couple of blocks, so we opted to check it out on foot and find some dinner. As we sat outside for our patio dinner, I remember dreaming with Erikka about someday living there. I had wanted to live there once – a long time before – but it seemed impossible so I never thought about it too much in depth. Being back there, looking at the old brownstone houses and walkups that filled the tree-lined streets, I was once again wishing that I had the means to move our family here (and knowing it was unlikely to happen anytime in the near –or far –future). But it was fun to sit there, holding hands with my new wife, and dream about making another life-changing move.
The next day of our trip involved more sightseeing, and an afternoon planned with touring the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. On our way over to the Capitol, off the metro and on foot, we decided to duck into the Smithsonian American Indian museum for a cultural lunch of Native American food – it was awesome! The sky opened up just after we got inside, and we hoped that it would stop raining before we left. Fortunately for us, the rains stopped as we were leaving, and we were able to get some good pics in front of the dome. UN-fortunately for us, however, the skies opened BACK up with a vengeance while we were waiting for our tour, and we were subsequently soaked through and through, along with quite a few other tourists crammed with us under a small tent. We waited and waited and waited, all to find out that the Capitol had been closed by Secret Service, as the President of Iraq was currently inside. Great. We finally started walking in the rain – hell, we were already soaking wet, so why not?? I splashed barefooted in puddles on the south side of the Capitol, and we took some underground tunnels over to the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. After we wandered around there for a while, we finally ended our day by jumping the metro across the Potomac River into Virginia and meeting our friends Cynde and Cynthia (from the bed and breakfast in Connecticut) for dinner. They live in Maryland and drove in to meet us. We had a wonderful evening of dinner and drinks before heading back to our hotel for the night. We knew that we would be leaving the next day for home, so we had to find a box to load up with souvenirs to ship back home. I’m telling you, we purchased a TON of stuff!
Exhausted and giddy, we packed our suitcases for a final time and headed to the airport. I was ready to see my boys again; I had missed them like crazy. I was excited to see all of our pictures and share them with anybody I could. But when we walked into our home, the only thing we could think of was to fall into our bed.
The wedding and the trip may have been over, but the honeymoon has been going on since the day that we married…and every day is a new adventure! Can’t wait to tell you what has happened SINCE!