Thursday, May 29, 2008

Washington - Monuments and Memorials

Day Four of the trip was our big walking day, we wanted to see the different monuments around the Mall (the big centre park in Washington D.C.). We started by taking the Metro to a station near the White House. We were getting pretty good at navigating the Metro, with the double stroller!

There was quite a crowd by the White House with school groups, news reporters and crews, protesters, and ordinary tourists (like us). We didn't see the President in the crowd.

From there we walked toward the Washington Monument, past large gardens and lawns (the Ellipse). The Washington Monument is huge and is quite a landmark. It is also on ground that is higher and it was very windy at the bottom of it. We thought about going up but the tickets (which are free) had all been given out for that day. Instead we ate our picnic lunch at the base of it.

After lunch we moved on toward the Lincolm Memorial. Crossing a large lawn, and a street, we came to the World War II Memorial which has columns with the names of each state and protectorate who fought for the United States around it. There are fountains with the names of key battles engraved in them, and a number of bronze reliefs showing different aspects of the war which Tim was especially interested in examining. This was our first memorial, and I was suprised to see signs asking us to respect the memorial with no running (had to keep an eye on Pip), no food, no bicycles, etc. These signs were at each memorial and did give viewing them a rather solemn aspect.

We walked along another park-like area beside the reflecting pool where we fed some ducks and Canada Geese, on our way to Lincoln. Beside the Lincoln Memorial is the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial and we visited that. Pip, Ben and I took a side excursion to buy postcards while David took the older children through the memorial, which he said was a moving experience.

Finally we got to Licoln and climbed the steps (elevator for the stroller). Inside the statue of Lincoln is very large, and again there is the hushed reverence of the other memorials, which gave one the feeling that people were worshipping Lincoln. Some of his famous statements are engraved on the side walls (like the Gettysburg Address).

We left Lincoln and had a brief stop at the Korean War Memorial before walking to the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial. This one is all open and is a series of red granite stones with engraved statements Roosevelt made, waterfalls and bronze statues. There are many cherry trees here (it is on the shore of the Tidal Basin) which apparently blossom in April. Roosevelt was President for 4 terms and the memorial walks you through the terms with the inspiring statements and statues reflecting the major events (e.g. the Depression, the Second World War).

Elenor Roosevelt has her own statue and inspiring quote too.

We walked along the Tidal Basin (which is like a large man-made pond, or small lake) to the Jefferson Memorial. This looks a bit like a circular Parthenon, with a large statue of Jefferson inside.

We had a snack on the steps looking out over the Tidal Basin toward the Washington Monument.

It had been a busy day! We finished walking around the Tidal Basin, back toward the Washington Monument to a Metro station to get back to the condo. It was a wonderful feeling to walk in the door to the smell of a Crock Pot waiting for us!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Washington - The Zoo

The third day of our trip was the zoo day! Washington has a zoo (free admission) in the middle of the city, surrounded by residential areas. We we a little slow getting going in the morning, and got a little confused in the maze of one-way streets around the zoo, so when we actually got there we found that the first few parking lots we tried ($20 for parking) were full. On our next attempt to enter the zoo to find an available lot, we passed several street parking spots, so we just parked on the street near the zoo, free! David had to come and move the van a couple of times, as you are limited to parking on the street for 2 hours, but it was not a lot of trouble.

And so we entered the zoo!

The zoo was quite busy with school groups and day-care groups, but it was still easy to see the animals. Some animals that we hadn't seen in a zoo before were cheetahs, and we enjoyed the informative exhibit about them. Some other favourites were,

The pygmy hippo:


The elephants, where we also saw a zoo keeper explaining how to care for them:

And tigers (we saw actual tigers too):

The zoo quieted down a lot after the school groups went home, and we enjoyed
wandering the treed paths and looking at the beaver, wolves and bald eagle. (And otter, anteater, etc. etc.) And the children's farm, Pip especially like the cow!

Nearing suppertime, we left and headed for a restaurant. The one we picked is apparently a Washington landmark and has had celebrities visit (like us of course), it was:

The waitress on hearing we had a Ben with us, kept asking him how he was enjoying his supper, receiving many giggles.

Home to our condo to rest up for the next day!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Washington - Capitol Building and Museums

The condo we rented in D.C. was too far from the Metro (their subway) to walk to, so the owner provided parking passes for Union Station. On the second day of our trip, we drove to Union Station, parked and then got into the Metro system. The children loved travelling on the trains!

Watching a subway train arrive:

We got off near the Archives (here's a picture for Auntie) and took a picture of the Archives, however we later realized that this was the BACK of the building.

Here's a picture of Emily on the front steps.

This was a recurring theme in Washington. Everything is very BIG. As the day was cool and rainy, we decided to see some of the museums. One great thing is that admission to most of the museums is free. We started with the art gallery, and quickly realized it was lunch time! After lunch, we saw some lovely pictures: Van Gogh, Renior, Rembrant, Monet, etc. etc. The children were particularly impressed with a giant picture of Daniel in the lion's den.

We took a walk up to the Capitol Buildings for a snack. From there, it was a short walk to the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, Tim's number one pick for things to see in D.C. This is an amazing place with real aircraft and space stuff. Here we are by a big airplane:

There are some great interactive exhibits there too:

Home to the condo on the Metro for spaghetti and meatballs! What a great day!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Marshwiggles Go to Washington!

We have just returned from a family vacation in Washington D.C. We had a great time! Over the next few days I will post some pictures of the highlights.

Our first day was taken up with travelling to D.C. We left here at 7:30 a.m., crossed the border without trouble and drove through New York. Somewhere in rural New Yorkk, or maybe rural Pennsylvania, Pip succumbed to motion sickness. He was sick quite a bit, then slept, then woke up and was sick some more. Ben joined him. It was cool and rainy and the road was very twisty. However, after a lunch break and Gravol, and getting onto interstates, everyone was quiet and slept.

We got to D.C. around rush hour, so the last leg of our journey was in heavy traffic, but we managed to find the condo we had rented. It was very nice, two bedroom, and had a washing machine for all the clothes that had experienced motion sickness. We had supper, then I put the children to bed while David went out and found some groceries.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Canoeing Again

We took some time off last year from canoe trips. But we're back at it again. So far, we've been on one day trip as a family, and David had a solo trip. His trip was a bit rainy, but he really enjoyed it. Here are a couple of pictures he took:

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Nature!!

We recently went to a local nature centre for a class on identifying birds. This was followed by a walk in some woods, and then making bird feeders. Lots of fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nature Walk

We had Granny and Granddad to visit today and we went to a local conservation area. We saw our provincial flower (trilium):

And went for a lovely walk in the woods:

Finally, Ben lost his hat in the pond, so Granny had to do a bit of fishing!!