Washington, DC {Part 1}

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Finally – the adventures of DC!! :) I’m terrible at keeping this thing updated, I know.

Kambyl and I had been wanting to go to Washington, DC pretty much since we’d moved in together. Kambyl had never been, and I really wanted to go again (I went with my senior class). I’ve always loved DC, there’s a vibe that you really can’t get anywhere else. Maybe it’s just the insane mesh of people or the atmosphere, but whatever it is, I’ve always loved it since I first ventured there in primary school.

Long story short (because I have a longer and more relevant tale to tell), Kambyl and I and a few friends decided to take a trip to the Capital for the Cherry Blossom Festival. We were pretty meticulous about it too, spending hours researching what we’d most like to do, the logistics of the trip, even down to the metro fare! I give Kambyl all the credit for this one – she’s the trip planning mastermind. I’m seriously impressed with her organizational skills. Anywho.

The lot of us – Lindsey, Jordan, Bruce, Kambyl and I – set out at around 5:30 in the morning on a Saturday. Let me just say that 5:30 am is a terrible hour to be awake. Luckily, we’d made some awesome mixed CDs for the trip and pretty much packed the Jeep with food. It seemed like the drive took forever, and the GPS took gave us the most ridiculous route. We most definitely saw signs that said, “Wilderness – 5 miles.” We had a good laugh about it though!

All went well as we drove into Alexandria, where we were planning on taking the metro out of Braddock Station and into the city itself. Then it was time to find parking.

Which is nearly impossible for some reason.

We drove around for about 45 minutes until we found a somewhat obscure parking garage about a mile away from Braddock and walked in the early morning fog through the streets of Alexandria to the station. I really loved the buildings, they were all so unique and colorful, most with sweet (if tiny) little gardens and window boxes filled with pansies. Daffodils and tulips were planted around the bases of small trees and the sidewalks were paved with bright red brick. It made us all pretty happy!

{Alexandria}

We made it to the station with very little fuss (this time around), having enjoyed our walk in the brisk morning air, chatting about what a life it would be if we owned one of the little townhouses – the dinner parties, the adventures into the city, the little dog we’d have. Needless to say, it would be an interesting life we would live! We arrived at Braddock, and were greeted by the sign below and laughed quiet hard. An indication of Washington’s atmosphere? Her sense of humor? We still wonder about it, really!

{sign outside the metro station in Alexandria}

After a little confusion concerning tickets for the metro, we boarded and headed into the city. I promptly dozed off on my friend’s shoulder, regretting my lack of proper sleep. As soon as we got off, we made a beeline for the Cherry Blossom Parade. It was quite hilarious, the first thing we heard were bagpipes. At the Japanese Cherry Blossom festival. Follow that one! ;)

Us girls ran into one of the Smithsonians to find a bathroom, leaving the boys to watch the parade. We met up once more outside the Natural History Museum, finding a pretty decent spot standing on the granite blocks lining the sidewalk. We made friends with Colossal Head #4 and named him Steve.

{colossal head #4, aka ‘steve’}

We caught only the tail-end of the parade, but we did get to see the ‘exciting’ part. Actually, the boys did, but to have them reenact it and all but make it into an interpretive dance was pretty close to the real thing. Apparently an SUV with a huge sound system pumping music started smoking (they’d hooked it up to the battery I think) and the driver hopped out as the nearby cops started hollaring for everyone to get away from the vehicle. It caught fire right in the middle of the street. All we could see from our spot with Steve was the sirens and smoke.

The rest of the parade participants were really good sports, and I was impressed with good behavior of the horses (20+ equines and not a single one of them spooked). The rest of the parade we saw was pretty cool as well:

{Lincoln, as brought to you by the Washington Nationals Hockey team}

{team Teddy, anyone?}

{Madeline!}

{parade crowd}

{the iconic cherry blossom festival balloons}

{empty DC street}

The photo above is one of my favorites. I turned around and saw the empty street, and found it so strange in such a busy city, I had to snap a photo. This probably happens only a few times a year.

For lunch, we met up with my friend who lives in the area for lunch at Noodles & Co. It was so great to see her again, and to introduce her to my friends. I was so busy catching up I neglected to snap any photos! But it was an awesome lunch: yummy food, and great company! I had some seriously awesome mac ‘n cheese that I couldn’t finish because of the size (and what I did manage to eat kept me going till we got back home). I definitely suggest it if you’re ever there!

On our way to see Jenn, I snapped a few photos on the National Mall. It was a little chilly and pretty overcast, but it was still pretty awesome to do some people-watching for a bit as we decided what we wanted to do after lunch.

{the capitol building}

{UAB – unidentified awesome building}

{“let’s go fly a kite…”}

{the way to l’enfant metro station}

{l’enfant’s underground station}

We got to be pretty familiar with L’Enfant Plaza station during our day in the city. I can’t count how many times we were in this station in our 12 hours in the area, but we had a blast during our times on the metro (ok – I fell asleep pretty much every time we got on, but I’m assuming the others had fun). There are definitely some characters you meet using DC area public transportation! It was totally worth the money spent, it saved us a lot of time and energy considering we were all over the city itself by the end of the day. It totalled out to be less than $10 for the whole trip! I’d call that a pretty good deal. :)

Next post: World War II, Lincoln, and Jefferson memorials and some cherry blossoms!!

PS – I was just notified by my friend Kendelyn who goes to school in DC that the UAB is actually the EPA building. In case you were wondering! :)

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4 responses »

  1. What Metro station did you use in Alexandria? I was just there for 2 weeks, and it looks like the King Street station. The “Kiss and Ride” signs: one half of a couple drops the other at the Metro, kissing them good-bye. simple! On the other end of the Metro (in DC), you’ll see signs for “slugs”, another interesting DC commuting phenomenon.

    • We used Braddock station in Alexandria, but I’m pretty sure we used King Street at some point too. Haha, that’s pretty great – I’m glad to see that DC has a pretty decent sense of humor! Next time I think we’ll be using the DC transportation a lot more. :)

  2. Hey! So I don’t know if you know this or not but I’m going to school in DC, so next time you’re there let me know and we can hang! p.s your UAB is the EPA building.

    • That would be so awesome!! I think we’re planning a long weekend in the fall, so I’ll let you know!! That would be so awesome! Haha, thanks for the info on the UAB! That’s the thing about DC – unless they’ve been on a postcard, I can rarely identify them. ;)

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