Washington DC, we could all move there!

imageWe loved Washington, what a great city! So many museums, monuments, beautiful scenery and shoe shops (more of that later!). We arrived late at night, Judy and Helen immediately setting out to the shops. We cooked ourselves a fabulous dinner, planned our day over a wine or two!
We had a later than planned start, the keeper of time and our fearless leader is getting quite frustrated by our “rubber” time keeping! Late morning we, and Helen’s friend, Inez, jumped onto the hip hop bus and saw the sights of Washington DC. We hopped off at the very impressive Jefferson Memorial where we read his wise words and I took the first of many photos of memorable quotes, words by which to live. It was such a glorious blue sky day that we walked to the Mall and the Lincoln Memorial passing the Roosevelt and the Martin Luther King Memorials along the way, with their many quotes. Back onto the bus, it was great to see The White House, seen so many times in movies and on the news. The city of Washington DC simply oozes with history.
A tasty dinner at Heights, not too far from our apartment. As we walked there we had a sense of something missing. It took us a while to figure out it was the music that fills the streets of Nashville and New Orleans! No music in Washington!
Our morning began bright and early, and we were all ready on time, much to Judy’s amazement! See how scared we are of her! We visited to the historic district of Georgetown, quaint small brightly painted weatherboard houses, elegant townhouses on narrow tree lined streets, chic shops which were closed when we first arrived in what we thought was good time for breakfast. Not only were the shops shut but the cafes too. They open at 11am for breakfast, much to our chagrin! We found a place for coffee and biscuits, seems to be that is what you eat for breakfast here! We met Shaw, a larger than life Washingtonian who had us all in stitches with his witty one liners. We asked him if he thought Hillary might be the next President to which he replied that the only question anyone is asking in Washington DC today is “will Hillary be wearing a blue dress at the Presidential Debate tonight?”. It’s a political joke and we had to explain it to Cheryl!
Good bye to Inez as she set off to the airport with a charming, wise cracking taxi driver, so lovely to have spent time with her and got to know her better, and to see her and Helen having a good time together. We strode off to explore Georgetown further but got diverted by the Fluevog Shoe shop, thanks to my guide book! Thanks Vicky, Jean and Richard! It was shoe heaven! How to choose which pair to buy? The answer is don’t choose! Buy them all! My new name is Imelda! Having spent so much time, not to mention money, in the shoe shop we were behind schedule! Next stop, the Library of Congress, what an extraordinary building, so ornate and being a classical building, increasingly ornate from the outside in and it is so ornate outside! The centre of the building house the circular reading room with its high dome and spectacular ceilings and statues. Helen and I wanted to wallow in the detail of it all so stayed for a tour which was fascinating. It started with 300 books and 3 maps as references for Congress, now it has the biggest collection in the world. Shockingly when the British invaded in 1814 and tried to burn Washington to the ground they used the library books as tinder, all books but one book were lost. That one was tucked into the pocket of one of the looting soldiers and returned some long time after the war was finished. Jefferson donated his personal collection to start the library again. Meanwhile, Judy and Cheryl went on a “great race” tour of 7 museums in half a day, the United States Botanic Garden, the National Museum of the American Indian, recommended only for its wine, not the exhibits, the National Gallery of Art where they met Bela, a retired zoologist, specialising in the study of reptiles, of which there are many in paintings. He showed them the only Leonard da Vinci painting, a portrait of Ginerva da’ Benci, in North America, more beautiful in their opinion than the Mona Lisa, displayed so you can see the back of the painting on which her virtues are painted. It was painted when he was only 22 and is the first portrait where a woman was facing the artist, all previous portraits having been in profile.He also showed them Degas Ballerina, some Rodins and a beautiful marble statue called The Reading Girl by Nagnl. Walking through the National Sculpture Garden onto The National Museum of Natural History to see the Hope Diamond, the worlds biggest diamond, which, surprisingly is blue! Finishing at the National Museum of American History to view the First Ladies dresses and Dorothy’s red shoes! Helen and I finished our day there too but we went there without dashing through 7 museums! We went to see Julia Child’s kitchen and were so captivated by her cooking show that we almost missed the First Ladies dresses. As it was we saw a few of them but were happy to have seen Michelle Obamas inaugural ball gown! My, what big feet she has!
Onto dinner at Cashion’s, the best meal we have had so far! Here we met Cathy, a friend of Cheryl’s, and Sophie, a friend of Judy’s, both of whom took us on adventures later in the evening! There were few people in the restaurant as most of Washington was glued to the Democratic candidates debate, the end of which we got to watch in the National Press Club, a surprise invitation from Cathy, who works as a media advisor to a US Senator. Our political groupies, Helen and Judy, were in heaven being in the place we have all seen many times on the news, standing on the podium and sitting on the stage. Onto The High Dive, a late night drinks only bar, frequented by some very unusual characters, a Tom Jones lookalike, a Matt Damon lookalike who told us about his OCD love of ironing, a rumpled looking man who identified our failings and foibles, using cards against humanity cards! He was spookily accurate, but then again, perhaps, that was the White Russians talking! Cocktails at midnight seemed like such a good idea at the time.
Now we are on the train, look out New York!

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