Monday, June 04, 2007

Home sweet home!

It’s been a few days since I posted to our travel diary because once we left DC I didn’t have internet access like I was hoping I would.

Well, we survived our fun, but exhausting trip. We got back home last night after being in airports/planes for 13 hours. We had two, three hour lay-overs, so needless to say it was a very long day.

Our last day in DC we spent going to the spots that were extremely important to Ali. We hadn’t had an opportunity to see the Jefferson monument yet, so that was our first stop of the day. It’s a beautiful structure because of its design. It’s so open and majestic.

Our plan for the day was to finally have our picnic lunch on the mall, but we changed our mind at the last minute. Ali had been itching to spend, at least, a little time in Georgetown, so that was where we had lunch. We found a wonderful little Italian place and enjoyed a little pizza as well as some roasted garlic on homemade bread with a mozarella and tomato salad…YUM!!

Since one of Ali’s degrees was in English, the Shakespeare Museum was something that had to be seen. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend as much time there as she would have liked (she could have stayed there all day, I’m SURE!) She enjoyed seeing playbills that were hundreds of years old. She wanted to go into the Shakesperian Library, but the credentials to get that library card was a PhD and three references. She said she'd be back :) (and I'm sure she will).

To see more old books, we decided to do something out of the ordinary (at least for a couple of tourists from the west coast). We went and got a library card for the Library of Congress (my favorite place on our trip). This entitled us to go into one of the reading rooms, because without that card access is not permitted. When we walked into that room it was a powerful feeling. However, as we began looking at books Ali made a comment that she was so surprised that the books looked like the books at her school’s library. Her actual comment was “I’m not sure what I expected; maybe for the books to be encrusted in gold or something :). In any case, it was just a great experience to be able to have access to such an inspiring room. It was also incredible to sit down in the computer center and do a little “research” on the computers in the Library of Congress. Ali looked up some of the books and papers her professors have written, and I was on a little fact finding mission regarding my genealogy. We both said we could have stayed there all day, but our last day in DC was drawing to a close and we still needed to get the souvenirs I promised to bring home.

We ended our time in DC celebrating Tom and Marybeth’s 38th anniversary with them and were off the next morning to the Big Apple. New York was GREAT and we did a lot walking. When I booked the hotel I really only knew that it was in midtown Manhattan; it turned out being in a fantastic location. Not the fanciest or newest hotel, but for the money I would definitely recommend it. You can see from the photo, where we were situated in respect to Times Square. We were within the theater district, just about a block or two from Times Square, and walking distance within just about everywhere we wanted to go. After we walked a bit the first day and realized things were within about a mile and a half each way, we decided to “hoof it” every day, and decided not to take any cabs, (or, as Ali put it), “we didn't submit to the yella”.

I couldn't believe how much everything is stacked on top of the next thing in this city!
Thursday night we saw our first play (take a look at the post below). We saw Hairspray on Friday night and saw a matinee of Rent on Saturday. Hands down, Hairspray was our favorite! We can’t WAIT to see the movie this summer!!!! The rest of the time was spent shopping, enjoying the sites (and BEAUTIFUL weather) and trying out some of the local favorites. We had hotdogs at Gray’s Papaya (a local favorite-that has been in some movies), NY style pizza, NY style cheesecake, and just about everything else that tasted good, but wasn’t so good for the diet  .We were trying to figure out yesterday how far we walked in the 13 days that we were gone-we guesstimated that it was about 40 miles, hopefully all the goodies we ate didn’t do too much damage.

All in all, the trip was absolutely perfect. We had a marvelous time staying with our friends Tom and Marybeth and I can’t thank them enough! With the exception of one very hot day on Memorial Day and two rain showers (which occurred on our way back to Tom and Marybeth’s a couple of days), the weather could not have been more beautiful.

Here are a couple of highlights and suggestions for you if you ever go to DC…
*You MUST have a GPS of some sort (my navigational system on my Blackberry was perfect!)
*To accompany your GPS, I would highly recommend purchasing a copy of this particular guide. This proved to be invaluable and didn’t steer us wrong one time!
*If you want to visit the Capitol or the Washington Monument, you need tickets (this occurred since 9/11 and I didn’t realize it, so we missed out on it this go around)
*Go to Busboys and Poets for breakfast. It’s a great little coffee shop that has some bread that is to die for!
*For lunch, you must go to Ben’s Chili Bowl. It’s extremely well known by the locals as well has celebrities from all over the country…it has some great history too!
*By far, my favorite building was the Library of Congress. Beautiful architecture and incredible history.
*Read ALL the signs for the curbside parking. There are a lot of them stacked on top of one another. If you misread them, you could wind up with a ticket (trust me on this one, we learned the hard way).

Well, it's back to work and photographing beautiful people, instead of old, historical (and beautiful) buildings. It's great to be home and see my other two girls again...I MISSED THEM!!

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