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Hard to believe that I'll be in Japan in less than a month. Time has really been flying lately. I have the entire Japan portion of the trip planned out, though I still have some work to do on China. I've got a rough outline but I need to work out the details. And even then, a few things may have to wait until the last minute since I'm trying to coordinate some stuff with Connie's family. Not to mention that June is the rainiest month in that part of China, so the weather may prove problematic for some of my plans. I'd really like to get everything done and locked down ASAP, but I can live with leaving the exact dates being a bit fuzzy for now, so long as I have everything else figured out. Anyway, it will be a fun trip and I'm really looking forward to it and the rest of the summer. For now though, I need to finish those China plans and focus on grading, finals, and the like.
Ok, it's finally time for that travelogue entry.
April 26th (Sunday): DC Monuments and Memorials
On a side note, if some of the photos look weird, or if there are some things I don't have photos of, I was having some camera problems. Hopefully I'll have it fixed soon.
The weather here has been steadily improving (though still with a little back and forth) so Connie and I decided to take advantage of a particularly nice day and walk around DC. Luckily, we even managed to grab one of the very limited number of free parking spots along the Potomac. Moving away from that body of water, we passed the George Mason Memorial (not one of the more well known ones) and started walking along the Tidal Basin. The first famous spot we came to was the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The main chamber features a statue of Jefferson, surrounded by quotes from his writings. While it's less obvious, there's a lower level with a gift shop and a small museum type display about Jefferson's life. Like Washington, he was a really fascinating guy.
Although it was a bit early, we were both hungry so we decided to get lunch. Turns out, most of the restaurants on the south side of the National Mall are closed on Sundays, so we had a bit of a walk to an area a bit north east of the mall which, unless you want to try a food truck, is probably the best spot to find food in the National Mall area. We even passed the Navy Memorial along the way. We ended up at an Indian place of sorts, which was pretty good.
Since the weather was nice, and we didn't want to stay in DC really late (since we had Zack and all) we decided not to visit any museums and get back to the monuments and memorials. On the way, we passed through the sculpture garden next to the National Museum of Art. It's a pleasant area, though I can't say that I care for most of the sculptures. A few were decent, but a lot were pretty weird. Then there was this, which I don't think really even counts as a sculpture. I mean, it's just a plain sheet of metal.
Moving along, we took a short detour in order to pass by the White House. At this point, you can't get especially close to it, but there's still one spot on the path which has a decent view. Then we swung down towards the Washington Monument (which is still closed while they replace the elevator) and over to the World War II Memorial. It's a pretty nice one, from a design perspective, and it's connected via the reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial, which was our last stop. I have to say, the statue of Lincoln inside is very impressive in-person. And the steps outside the memorial offer a great view across the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument and even further on to the Capital Building.
Finally, we completed our long loop back to our car (passing the lesser known Martin Luther King Jr. Monument and Franklin Roosevelt Memorial along the way) and headed out. It made for a pleasant day and, with the detours we took to the restaurant and White House, a pretty good walk too. Seeing all the memorials is kind a must do thing in DC, so I'd been looking forward to it. I'd say that, if you rush, you could hit the main ones (Jefferson, Washington, WWII, and Lincoln) in an hour or two, and do the entire loop around the Tidal Basin in twice that, though it's more pleasant to devote a solid half day or more and take your time, especially if the weather is good.