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23 February 2014 @ 01:18 pm
Very Washington DC (Monday and Tuesday)!  
softlykarou and I spent most of the last week in Washington DC because she had a school psychology professional conference. That meant she spent a lot of the time at presentations or presenting herself, but it also meant that I got to wander around DC myself. Here is part of the record of my adventures.

Monday - Arrival, Dinner, and Forest Friends
Our trip started out a bit exciting because our flight had previously been cancelled the previous night and we had to scramble a bit to get another one, so after some time on the phone for me and an hour on the phone with American Airlines for softlykarou when we didn't see any seats assigned to us and couldn't check in because we weren't able to have seats assigned. The call cleared up that the airport was just holding on to the seats and would assign them based on when we got there, so with a slight grumble we went to bed and set our alarm for 6:45 a.m. The next morning, though, there wasn't any trouble at all. The flight went fine, nytesenvy picked us up at the airport and drove us to our hotel in Georgetown, which apparently isn't technically in Georgetown but was close enough for me. We checked in, got a message that our friends were eating at a restaurant on the other side of the city, and set out to get to them.

Because I'm incredibly stubborn, we tried to walk down to the DuPont Circle Metro station instead of taking advantage of the free shuttle that our hotel ran to anywhere within a mile radius--which includes the Metro, and indeed, a large chunk of the city since DC is so small--and walked down there only to find that there was a portion of the Red Line shut down for work on Monday only. Fortunately, there was a free shuttle bus running, and so we got on it going the wrong way. There was an express shuttle running the other direction to Metro Central, so we hopped on that, I checked my phone, and then we walked to El Rinconcito where I proceeded to eat an absolutely enormous amount of food (a theme for this whole trip, really). We then retired back to their hostel to play Illuminati, and after a game where the Discordian Society pulled out a win on literally the last turn, we decided to go home.

We took the shuttle from Metro Central up to Woodley Park, and then I decided to walk home, consulted Google Maps on my phone, and off we went. As you can see from that link there, it does look a bit suspicious, but I figured what could go wrong? Well, nothing really went wrong, but it was exciting--the path took us through Embassy Row and then into Dumbarton Oaks Park, so we walked down nearly-empty and silent streets to a cul-de-sac where the Danish Embassy was located. It looked like a dead end, but I found a path next to the security wall around the embassy and took us down a path that was pretty much solid ice, across a half-frozen river, then up an icey path along the other side to right behind our hotel. As we had crossed the road earlier to get to the dead-end road that led to the embassy, we saw a deer bound away into the woods, and when we came out of the other side of the park, this is what we saw:

They looked at us like that until we crossed the road away from them, at which point they bounded away into the woods. Then we went back and went to bed.

Tuesday - Old Houses, Cathedrals and Moroccan Food
The next morning, softlykarou had a presentation she had to be at, so she left early while I lounged around the room for a bit. After I got sufficiently hungry that I didn't want to wait around anymore, I grabbed a handful of nuts (which we brought specifically for situations like this) and headed out to lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant I found along the way and then down to Dumbarton House, which I picked based on randomly searching for things to do in Georgetown and having it pop up close to the top. It was your standard Colonial period house, and with no photography allowed I don't have a record of all the things that were really cool, like the dining room with the bright green wallpaper or the best chamber (so-called because chamber originally referred primarily to bedrooms), but it took about an hour and if you like old houses I can recommend it. Maybe the main hallway will be done when you go, too--it wasn't when I was there. I also felt kind of bad for the tour guide. Not because she did a good job, but just because she was about half my height and all that looking up at me must have been uncomfortable.

Right when I was leaving, a couple from France (or maybe Belgium. Or Quebec. They had what I think was a French accent, anyway) came in and said they'd be happy to pay admission but only wanted to see the green wallpaper in the dining room, since it had been under renovation when they were there last. So that tells you how awesome it was, that they'd be willing to go there specifically to see it. I mean, they were probably in DC for other reasons, but they did make the effort to stop by.

It was now about 1:30 and I had an appointment to meet up with a bunch of people at the National Cathedral at 2:30, so I started walking. Google tells me that it was two miles and it was almost entirely uphill, so I'm glad that I got there early and sat on the bench for a while, basking in the sun. It was something like 15°C out, and having come from -10°C in Chicago it felt like high summer. Then my friends showed up, and we wandered around for five minutes to find the entrance, and went inside, and it was absolutely worth it. The moon window:

was definitely a highlight, but the entire cathedral was fantastic even considering the state of disrepair it's in. Not because of any neglect on the part of the Church, but just because the earthquake of 2011 damaged the stone enough that parts of the spires actually fell onto the roof, and there are large nets all over the ceilings of the cathedral just in case any stone falls. There's even a section called the crypt, though just because it's underground and not because there's a large number of people buried there, though there are a few--Helen Keller, Woodrow Wilson, and Cordell Hull are the ones you've probably heard of. Or maybe they're just the ones I've heard of.

It also had by far the best bathroom door I've ever seen anywhere:

Sadly, you did not need to pull the ring to open the door--it opens inward. But they get massive points for ambience.

And to explain the title of this post, it came from this book that they had in the cathedral gift shop.

We hung around the cathedral for a couple hours, poking into the various niches and crannies, until it was almost five o'clock, which meant that softlykarou would be done with her presentation and that two of the others had to get to their own presentation, so softlykarou and I went back to our hotel room for a bit and rested for a while until it was time to meet up for dinner at Marrakech. I'm not sure if it's a chain or if it's just coincidence, but there's a restaurant in Philadelphia also called Marrakesh that my friends and I always used to go to at the end of every year as a sort of celebratory meal, so when I saw Marrakech on the walk that softlykarou and I did to the DuPont Metro on Monday, I knew we had to go there.

It was exactly as good as I remembered even if the two restaurants are totally unrelated. They had the seven-course meal I remember Philadelphia Marrakesh having, but we didn't get it because softlykarou didn't think that she was hungry enough to eat it, so instead I got some lamb and prunes dish that was absolutely fantastic, along with a hummus and baba ghanoush appetizer plate, the free bread with the olive oil, pepper, garlic, and onion dip...yum. Just yum. I can give this one my unqualified recommendation if you ever have the chance to eat there.

After that, we went out to dessert at Thomas Sweet, about a half-mile away. I figured that the walk would help stoke people's appetites, and I was right at least for myself and managed to eat the entirety of my brownie and rum and raisin ice cream dessert, but no one else was nearly as lucky. Like I said, me eating everything in sight was kind of a theme of this trip, though in fairness I did walk a lot.

And that was pretty much it, since we were all tired from all the walking we did and all the food we had eaten, so everyone who wasn't softlykarou or myself hailed a cab and went back to their hostel and the two of us walked back up the hill to our hotel and went to bed.

I'll do Wednesday and Thursday in the next post!
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Ginormous - From Deep Bore Holes
marianlhmarianlh on February 24th, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC)
I know who Cordell Hull is!

...admittedly because of an alternate history novel where aliens invade during WWII, so that probably doesn't earn me any points. ^_^