Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Last Day in the City

Today is all about the LA Galaxy vs. DC United soccer game. After all, that is why we came to DC in the first place. We checked out of our hotel this morning and decided to stop for breakfast somewhere in route to RFK Stadium. We found a wonderful little neighborhood bagel shop and bakery where we sat outside and enjoyed the best bagel breakfast sandwiches. They were yummy! Then we went to the stadium. We got there right before they opened the gates to let everyone in. The first thing we did was head down to where Volkswagen (DC United's sponsor) had a bunch of things set up and were giving away t-shirts and that sort of thing. They had face painting for the kids and little Volkswagens that they could drive. Grace and Zachary loved that! While we were down there, the teams came out and practiced. We were right on the sidelines of the field and had a great view of them practicing. It was so cool!

Grace & Zachary driving their Volkswagens!

David Beckham practicing

Goalkeepers, Vito Higgins & Steve Cronin, practicing

Steve Cronin

David Beckham

After we watched them practice for a little while, we made the rather long climb up, up, up to our seats. We knew our seats were high up but we had no idea how high until we got up there and we were only 2 rows from the very top. The good thing about that though was that we were in the shade.

Zach and Grace before the game started

LA Galaxy team picture

The game started and it was a blast! The Galaxy lost 4-1 but it was still great fun. Just being there seeing it live made it so much more exciting. The fans at soccer games are really lively and that was allot of fun seeing - all the chants and the drums beating and flags waiving - it was all so fun! We got us all Jersey's to support the Galaxy but I think Grace and Zachary's favorite thing about the entire game was the cotton candy. They were completely happy once they got that.

I just thought this was really neat. Every so often the fans across from us would unroll this huge DC United flag in the shape of their jersey. Dave said allot of clubs do this but I just thought it was really neat looking.
David Beckham in the game.

Shaking hands after the game was over.

David Beckham

Grace, Dave and Zachary showing support for the Galaxy!

After the game, we got in the car and made the drive back to North Carolina.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

2nd Day in the City

We started the day kind of slowly today and slept in and just took our time getting ready and out the door. The first place we went was across the street to Starbucks to get my Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte and Dave's Mocha.
As we were sitting there sipping our coffee, we kept seeing these double decker sightseeing buses and the kids were just dying to go on one. So, we walked around the corner where we inquired about them and purchased our tickets. They are actually really neat. You buy one ticket which is good for 2 days and you get on the bus and it goes on a 2 hour tour of the city. You can stay on the bus for the entire tour or get off at any of the stops you want and get back on. We got on at Dupont Circle and saw the National Cathedral, which was absolutely beautiful.
On top of the double decker bus
The National Cathedral
Then we drove through Embassy Row and it was so neat seeing all the different flags and some of the Embassy's were just amazing. Next we went through Georgetown and then on to the Lincoln Memorial, where we got off the bus. We walked up to the Lincoln Memorial and Dave gave the kids a mini history lesson.
The Lincoln Memorial
Grace, Zachary and Dave in front of the steps going up to the Lincoln Memorial
View of the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial
After we left the Lincoln Memorial we stopped and got some lunch then went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the WWII Memorial. This was my first time to see the WWII Memorial and it was so nicely done. We all took a break and cooled off at the fountain.
Cooling off with some Italian Ice
Dave and Zachary walking by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
WWII Memorial
Zachary and Grace cooling off in the fountain
Then we walked around the Washington Monument on our way to get on the bus.
The kids were exhausted by this point and Zachary actually fell asleep so we just stayed on the bus and saw The Smithsonian, National Air & Space Museum, a great view of the Capitol and the Washington Monument, National Gallery of Art, Union Station, U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Grant Memorial, National Museum of American History, National Archives, National Gallery of Art, China Town, Ford's Theatre, the Peterson House, The White House, Mayflower Hotel and then back to Dupont Circle where we got off the bus and went back to our hotel. One of my favorite things about DC is the beautiful building architecture.
U.S. Capitol

Union Station

National Archives
Ford's Theatre

Peterson House

View of Old Post Office from Pennsylvania Avenue

The White House

We were all hot, tired and hungry so we showered and went to dinner at the Dupont Grill there at our hotel and then called it a night.

Something to be Said About the City

Zachary and Grace in front of a three-ton stone head from Easter Island.
It was acquired in 1886 and has been on display for more than 100 years.

There is definitely something to be said about a city. I don't think I would want to live in Washington, DC but there is definitely something to be said about the area. It has so many great things to offer and is just so diverse. Yesterday, Friday, we drove into the city and finally found parking and headed to the Smithsonian. We thought the kids would really enjoy the National Museum of Natural History so we headed there first. And they loved it. We saw an 8-ton, 14 foot tall African bull elephant which has been on display since 1959. Then we went to the "Discovery Room" where we got to see fossils, skulls, shells and minerals and it was all "hands on" which the kids loved. The favorite though was probably the "Dinosaur Hall" where we got to see gigantic fossilized bones of the creatures that walked the earth as long as 210 million years ago, including a 90 foot Diplodocus longus which was found in Utah in 1923 and a 40 foot long Tyrannosaurus rex, which is Zachary's favorite.

Then we moved on to "Life in the Ancient Seas" which encompassed 542 million years of marine evolution, the "Early Life Hall" and the "Ice Age Hall". We also saw an aqal, a contemporary, portable Somali house in the African Voices exhibit. We saw insects in the "O. Orkin Insect Zoo", which I did not like at all (it made my skin crawl) and primate skeletons in the bones and reptiles exhibit. Last but not least we went to the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals where we saw the 45.52 carat deep-blue Hope Diamond, the world's largest one of its kind, and it was beautiful.

The Hope Diamond

Also during the day, we saw an IMAX film, Sea Monsters in 3D, which was really neat. Grace and Zachary were a little scared at first but ended up loving it and wanting to see it again.

After we left the Museum of Natural History, we walked over to the National Air and Space Museum. We only spent a short time there but the kids, especially Zachary, really enjoyed looking at all the different airplanes.

Smithsonian Castle

Zachary, Grace and Jill in front of the U.S. Capitol

After leaving that museum we headed to our hotel and checked into the Jurys Washington Hotel in Dupont Circle. We had debated on whether or not to stay in the city but since we procrastinated about making reservations, we were able to get a "last minute deal" at this hotel right in the heart of one of the District's most cultured arts neighborhood.

By the time we checked in, we were all tired and hungry and ready for dinner and the front desk told us about a little Italian restaurant within walking distance so we went and checked it out. It was absolutely delicious. The name of the restaurant was Otello and it is located on Connecticut. The service was impeccable, the food was divine and even though it was this nice little authentic restaurant, it was "kid friendly" and the waiters and even the owner of the restaurant made us and our children feel welcome. It was delicious and if you are ever in the area, I definitely recommend it!

During dinner, Dave called his cousin Diane, who lives in DC and unbeknownst to us, she lives very close to where we were in Dupont Circle. We met her after dinner at Starbucks for coffee. We had not seen her in years so it was nice to be able to spend a little time with her.

Dave, Diane, Jill, Grace & Zachary

After a long and tiring day, we headed to our room where we got a much needed good night's sleep.