If you recall from Part 1, Mr. Fiancé and I spent a long weekend visiting friends in Philadelphia, Virginia & DC all for about a day and a half each. Here is the last segment – Part 2: Visiting Terra in Virginia & being a tourist in DC.
After Terra met us at the train station Saturday night, we picked up her husband from a work event and decided to grab drinks at a local bar that has 40+ beers on tap. I repeat, 40+ bars on tap. How awesome is that? We ordered and devoured two behemoth Bavarian pretzels. Sadly, it ruined all future pretzels for me. I will never have a soft pretzel that will be able to compare. We even wanted to take one to-go, they were that good but didn’t. I should have taken a photo for you. Mmmm, I’m salivating just thinking about it. But I digress. So, in the morning we went to breakfast and our lovely hosts gave us a scenic driving tour of their city, followed by a beautiful hike on an island that used to house a confederate prison.
Ever go to someone’s house and feel instantly at home and as if you had been going there for years? I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, that is the story of our friendship. Terra’s house is a zoo; an adorable, I want to snuggle and take them home with me, zoo. I am not a huge fan of big dogs, but hers were super sweet and won me over. I was very entertained by the cats, as I have never had one of my own. That night, we went to dinner at a delicious family-style Italian dinner where Stacey and Mr. Fiancé’s cousin met up with us. I wish we all lived closer so that we could have game night and see each other more often!
On Monday, Terra and her husband drove to Washington D.C with us. (Thanks again for driving!) We visited the Holocaust Museum, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial before they had to head back in time for class. If you haven’t been to the Holocaust Museum, I highly suggest it. I personally think it is very well done, more emotional and informational than Yad Vashem, the one in Israel. Oh! and we had lunch with a friendly squirrel. Usually they run away but this one came right up to us and Terra hand-fed it a fry. In the picture, he is eating chips from a stash he found in the grass. After we all said our goodbyes, Mr. Fiancé and I continued being tourists and walked to The White House and then over to Ford’s Theatre. I remember going to all these places as a kid, but it had been years. I clearly remember standing on Pennsylvania Ave looking through the gates as a kid but the surrounding area wasn’t what I remembered. I also have a vivid memory of the balcony at Ford’s Theatre and the bed Lincoln died in, but not the theatre itself. Memories are a funny thing – and you have to stop and wonder, how much of memories are true memories or figments of our imagination?
It wasn’t until I experienced D.C.’s Metro that I realized how lucky Chicagoans have it with the CTA. The Metro is so darn confusing with different rates for different destinations. Not to mention that you have to use your card twice, once when you enter and once when you leave the turnstiles. What if you change your destination on the train and subsequently don’t have enough money on your transit card? The CTA has one set price and it is very easy to navigate. Have you ever been on Earthquake The Ride, at Universal Studios? My first instinct was that water was going to come crashing out of nowhere and the subway was going to be on fire because the tunnel eerily reminded me of the ride. I couldn’t get over the fact that the trains, which were more like trams, had carpet. CARPET! What happens when people barf on the train? I know you don’t want to think about it, but crazy stuff like that happens on the CTA and it is a good thing it is tile floor! I just couldn’t get over that.
My mom mentioned in passing that her friend enjoyed the Newseum and that we should check it out on Tuesday. I didn’t know what to expect, but take my word for it- next time you are in D.C. GO THERE! It was one of the best museums I have ever been to. It is educational without feeling lecture-y. The museum shows a timeline of historic events through newspaper articles and interactive exhibits. As it is said, “news is the first draft of history” and the News Gallery does a fantastic job showing history through the centuries as told through actual newspaper covers. From the very first newspaper printed in 1455, to The Declaration of Independence, to the Titanic and to announcing Hitler declared war, to JFK’s Assassination and to Obama’s becoming President, it is all there and more. While this was just a gallery, there really was enough there for it to be its own museum! They even had a Gutenberg Press replica (or real?) that showed how newspapers used to be made. I cannot imagine making one newspaper at a time, having to put the letters on backwards and print it manually. So freaking cool. There was a fabulous 9/11 exhibit with an emotional film, an entire wall of the front page magazine coverage worldwide, and wreckage from the broadcast tower off of the World Trade Center. One of the exhibits I didn’t want to miss was the Pulitzer Prize room, and it didn’t disappoint. It had every photo that has ever won since it originated in the ’60’s. Some, I am surprised were winners, while others made my eyes water. There was even a watchtower and a section of the original Berlin Wall. Supposedly they had the Unibombers cabin, but we didn’t make it to that exhibit. We didn’t have time to visit all the exhibits we wanted to see because we had a flight to catch, but we could have easily stayed another day (which is why your ticket comes with a two day pass). I was a journalism major and Mr. Fiancé loves history, so this was the ultimate museum that combined our interests. I strongly suggest this museum to anyone and everyone. I didn’t have high expectations and it surprised me how much I enjoyed it.
We had a great exhausting long weekend. It was so much fun to catch up with friends and be a tourist in cities we had never been to or hadn’t been to in a long time. I can’t believe it is over already though. Time to look at photos and catch up on sleep…