Vacation Flashback: Washington DC 2015

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I have a friend who lives a much cooler life of overseas travel than I ever will.  After a trip to see her was thwarted by natural disaster, I had a credit with Delta that expired one year later.  What seemed like a little while later, I was catching up on work at a coffee shop, I thought to log in to my Delta account to see when it expired, and found it expired that same day!  Yikes!

My friend had moved in that year, and it seemed fitting to use the credit towards an adventure to visit her in her new home.  A few text messages with her and the husband and we had planned a trip to Washington D.C. for a few weeks later.

My early morning flight into Atlanta meant breakfast at my favorite spot at Hartsfield Jackson Airport - Cafe Intermezzo.  Fueled with coffee and grits, I caught my connection to Reagan International Airport.  Our friends were in the middle of moving, and after collecting me from the airport mid trip, we unloaded the car at their gorgeous home in historic Alexandria, Virginia.  Melissa's amazing aunt was also in town to help with the move and was kind enough to watch their eighteen month-old while we caught up over dinner.  At the end of a long first day (I had been up since 3am!) I crashed in their spare room.

The next morning I kept myself busy exploring their neighborhood until Melissa was free, then we made one last trip to their old place in the stunning Kalorama neighborhood, the same neighborhood where the Obama family resides until their youngest daughter finishes high school.  In the meantime, James was on his way from Des Moines to Reagan Airport with a quick layover in Minneapolis.  Once we were all together, it was great to catch up and hear about their latest adventures!

Since I'm writing this over a year later, obviously I've forgotten details of what we did when, but the trip was the perfect combination of hanging out with friends and tourist-y stuff.  We tried new food, explored Alexandria, stuffed our faces with donuts - it was perfect!

James and I rented this great apartment on AirBnB - right around the corner from our friends old place - HA!  We found this cute coffee shop just down the street from where we stayed.  We relied on public transportation and a few Uber rides plus a rented motorcycle on the second to last day!  One day we booked tickets for a tour bus that lets you hop on and off throughout the day - a great way to see as much of a city in a short amount of time.  We timed the first half of the tour so we could meet up with Melissa for lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill, a famous political lunch spot.

I know it sounds corny, but I've always liked seeing sights from television and movies, so it was fun to see some places from The West Wing, Scandal, and House of Cards.

I had been to DC before; once in eighth grade on a class trip, and again in 2010 to see Melissa, but this was James first trip!  When I first visited DC, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt  memorial had recently opened and it was neat to see how the bronze statues had aged.

The newer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial was amazing to see for the first time.  The powerful words of both MLK Jr. and FDR were carved around each respective memorial and were especially meaningful in the wake of racial tension and the 2016 election cycle that had already begun.

As we got the lay of the land from our tour bus, James suggested we rent a motorcycle to better see the city, and in no time he had found a place just across the state line in Virginia where we could rent a bike and two helmets.  The next morning while I had a conference call, he took the train to pick up the bike and by lunch we were cruising around.

The bike also let us revisit some of the memorials at night which was such a breathtaking experience.  The annoying hoards of thirteen year-olds on tour groups may have felt like karmic retribution for my days as an annoying thirteen year old in a tour group...

Right before our trip, I decided I needed a better travel camera; something small enough I could put in my purse, but would still give me the manual control from my DSLR.  I purchased the Sony A6000 and I absolutely love it!  It also let me move photos from my camera to my phone on the go, allowing me to post on social media throughout our trip.  10/10 would purchase again.

On our last full day, we met up for a mini-reunion over brunch with Melissa, her husband, another friend from high school and her fiance before exploring Alexandria and returning the motorcycle and we managed to meet up with a friend I met in The Philippines in 2011!  We had one last evening with Melissa and her husband before packing our bags for our early flight home.  Even though we flew into DC on different days, we managed to snag seats next to each other for our flight home together.  I even stood in the regular TSA line instead of Pre-Check so I could hang out with my husband a bit longer.  I'm sure with all my complaining, he wished I would have just gone through Pre-Check - HA!

It was such a fun adventure and we are lucky to have such great friends and I'm thrilled they live MUCH closer these days!  Enjoy these photos!

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