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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Washington DC...a Fun Trip!

Hello and Happy Summer! 
I am on summer break and couldn't be happier! The last few weeks of school are always a whirlwind and I am happy to have a few weeks off now. My first week of summer break was spent in Washington DC with the Safety Patrol Groups from our two elementary schools. There was a spot open and the trip didn't cost me anything, so I decided to go! 

I will share some of the photos I took with my iPhone. I did not take either of my cameras as I didn't want to keep up with them and I have been to DC twice in the past so I already had lots of photos. I did want to snap a few to share though, so here goes. 

First up is a photo of the Pentagon I snapped out the bus window. This building is so massive....over 27,000 people work inside! WOW! We only saw views of it out of the bus windows but one of the days we were close enough that our tour guide pointed out the spot where the plane hit on 9/11 and where it was repaired.


The first day we were in DC all day and saw several of the monuments and the Capitol. Every monument is absolutely beautiful and they are all so unique. The first one we saw was the Korean War monument. It has a scene etched into stone like a holograph.


These soldiers are also part of it.


Next up was the Lincoln Memorial...a favorite of many.


Here is President Lincoln in all his glory.


The Gettysburg Address etched on an inside wall.


The view from the Lincoln Memorial.


Next up was the only statue that is allowed to be touched and climbed on.....Albert Einstein. It is said if you touch his nose, you will be smarter. So...some of  our kiddos decided to go a step further and pick his nose...lol!


Such a neat statue.


I did not snap a photo of the Vietnam Wall for some reason...but it was next on the tour. After that, we went to have our group picture taken in front of the Capitol. It is currently in repair as you see in the photo below. Still beautiful though!



I thought this statue of Helen Keller was really pretty. It is displayed in the Visitor Center of the Capitol.



Unfortunately the repairs were also going on inside and this was all you could see of the beautiful rotunda.


Repairs are necessary to keep this beautiful building in tip top shape though. 


This was too pretty not to take a picture of. This room, called the Whispering Hall has a really cool story...you can read it here. Our guide demonstrated for us and it was so cool!


Next up, our kids got to meet a Secret Service Agent (whom one of the parents on the trip knows). We also waited for a motorcade that was going to come through with the Prime Minister of India but apparently there was an issue with President Obama's daughter being stuck in the traffic and the motorcade was postponed a bit. This was one of the pretty buildings near where we were waiting.


We took the kids on a Subway ride to Arlington National Cemetery. Many of the parents had never ridden a subway before so this was a fun experience for everyone. The first one I ever rode was in DC when my daughter went on her Safety Patrol trip many years ago. Since then I've been on the NYC Metro system and of course again in Prague.




It is always an honor to get to watch the changing of the guards. 


Day 2 was partially spent at Gettysburg. This was my second trip there and it had a new feature that wasn't there when I went with my son. It is called a Cyclorama which is a 360 degree painting. You can read about it here. It was so interesting. The painting surrounds the room and they have extended the scenes with real life objects . It is very hard to explain, but so very neat. They tell the story with lights and sound effects that interact with the painting. This was a highlight of the trip for me since I had not seen this before. 


In this photo, you can't really tell where the painting ends and the display begins but that cannon in the front is not part of the painting. If you are a history buff, I highly recommend a trip to Gettysburg. The countryside where the battle took place is absolutely breathtaking. It was rainy and cold the day we went so I didn't get any really good photos to share. Take my word for it though...it is just beautiful!


This display of the buttons and other hardware from the uniforms was really interesting. 


Here is Florida's button.


After Gettysburg, we returned to DC and went to see the Law Enforcement Memorial. On one end of the wall of names is a male lion and the other, a female to represent male and female officers. Across from the lions are cubs that represent the civilians that the officers protect. I had not seen this memorial before but we made a special trip to it since one of our students on the trip lost his dad a few years ago to a fatal gunshot wound in the line of duty.  




Officer Reed was actually related to me. He was a distant cousin and younger than me so I didn't really know him. Such a tragedy in our small community.



This cathedral was so pretty. I took this from the bus...sorry for the reflection in the window.


We rode by Ford's Theatre (where Lincoln was shot). We didn't go inside, but I had already been inside when I visited before.


Beautiful picture of our American flag and the flag of the District of Columbia. There are hundreds...if not thousands of flags in DC. So pretty!


Next up was a trip by the White House. This is the side that faces Pennsylvania Avenue. 


After we visited the White House, we went to see the Jefferson memorial...one of my favorites.



I love the green patina from the bronze emblem on the wall that runs down over this part of the Declaration of Independence. Four giant walls have the Declaration carved into them. So beautiful!


These memorials are so majestic. If you have never stood near or inside one, it is hard to comprehend how massive they are. I love how you can see them from so many places around the city. DC doesn't have really tall buildings due to the Height of Buildings Act which enables you to see across the city much easier.



I can't remember which president it was, but see the break in the trees in the photo below? That is the White House in the distance. One of the presisents wanted a view of the Jefferson Memorial so he asked that a few of the Japanese Cherry Trees and other trees be cleared so he would have a view from the White House. It is barely noticeable but our guide pointed it out. 


A stop by the World War II Memorial was next. It is difficult to get a photo here but this is one side which is represented by the tall structure in the middle which is the Atlantic and 25 state structures. I am standing near the Pacific structure on the opposite side which is also surrounded by 25 state structures. It is in a circular formation and very large. it is a beautiful place and the fountain sounds are so peaceful.




This is from the outside although not all of it shows.


Last stop for this day was the Iwo Jima Memorial.


This structure is very large. 


The men are over 30 feet tall and their helmets the size of a bathtub. 


Day 3 was spent in DC and was a free day. We had no guide so our group split up so we could each do what we wanted. My co-worker, Kaycee and I, along with the little girl we chaperoned set off to the Washington Monument. On the way, I snapped a photo of the Smithsonain Welcome Center. 
So pretty!


I have seen the Washington Monument before but this was the first time I got to go up to the top. If you look closely, you will see two windows near the top. There are two windows on each side allowing you to get the city views from the north, south, east, and west. It was very cool! 


In this view you can see the Jefferson Memorial.


Here is the Lincoln Memorial.


Here is a view of the White House from the other side. I shared the Pennsylvania Avenue side earlier. This is the pretty side though. The view from the top was a definite highlight of the trip! 


After we finished, we went to get some lunch. I had a hot dog from a food truck. Yum!


This little guy wanted us to share. :)


After we ate, we walked to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to end our day before we met the bus to head back to Florida. This was one of the pretty buildings we saw on the way.


Inside the museum, I was captivated with the gemstone displays. Isn't this beautiful?


My favorite color!


So interesting!




A shot of the ceiling in the main entrance. This is a gorgeous building. Of course, DC is full of gorgeous archutecture. Always my favorite part of a trip...swooning over the architecture!


And that my friends, wraps it up! I had a busy weekend when I got back home and have been trying to recuperate from the whirlwind that was the past month. LOL! This evening I start working out with a personal trainer. I will be doing this 3 days a week and trying to walk or bike ride the other days. I pray I will stick to it. I need to lose some weight and get stronger. I have terrible arthritis and I am hoping this might help. Miranda arrives in Orlando from Europe Saturday evening and I am so excited to have her home with me for a while! She and I, along with the hubby are also going to Charleston, SC in July for a few days. I am super excited about that! And I have more than enough to keep me busy all summer around the house and working on a few school projects. I also have a 3-day workshop in Orlando at the end of this month that I am looking forward to. So...life is good and I am blessed! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Until next time.....

Blessings, 
Vicky