I spent the past few days exploring all over Washington DC by bike and walking. I feel like I know my way around DC better than I do my hometown now. On Sunday I took the metro into DC to meet up with Ciara, a friend of mine from WSU who is in DC for a summer internship. We went out and got some food and beer on a rooftop bar, then we walked around for a bit. We walked through Georgetown which had some nice houses and a nice strip of stores, then we went to go see a movie. On our way back to her place we stopped in at the Kennedy performing arts center. The top of the Kennedy center has great views of the city, and the setting sun made it just that much better.
On Monday Joop and I rode our bikes into DC from Bob and Amy's house in Bethesda (between 10 and 15 miles). We spent our day at the Air and Space museum again, this time spending more time to go through more of the exhibits. There is so much to see and read about there that you could easily spend a few days there. When we returned I boxed up my bike so it was ready to ship home to Washington State, then we had a nice dinner with Bob and Amy.
On Tuesday Joop and I rode the metro into DC. Riding the metro in the morning during peak hours was interesting - there were a lot of people! We went on a few tours on this day, starting with the capitol building. Unfortunately though, we did not get to go into the rotunda of the capitol building because they were making repairs to it since is has worn fairly significantly over the years. After the tour of the capitol we walked through the tunnel that connected to the library of congress where we got another tour. The library of congress is full of so much beautiful art and architecture that you're just in awe the whole time you are in it. We then went over to the supreme court where we had lunch at the cafe and walked around the building a bit. We also got to sit in the chambers for 20-30 minutes while a guide explained to us how things work in the courtroom. Unfortunately we were unable to take photos inside the room but it sure was beautiful - much smaller than I would have expected though! After visiting the supreme court we headed back to the metro to return to Bethesda and enjoyed another great dinner with Bob and Amy. Bob and I then took my boxed up bike to FedEx to ship it home!
After breakfast on Wednesday Joop and I rode bikes into DC again - this time I rode Bob's bike since I had already sent mine home. We started off by crossing the bridge to Arlington and visited the Arlington National Cemetery. Walking through the cemetery and seeing the thousands of graves of those who have served our nation was a truly humbling experience. We walked through and saw the graves of John F Kennedy and family which, to our surprise, was very low key. We then walked up to the Arlington House, then to the Tomb of the Unknowns which has been perpetually guarded since July 2, 1937, by the U.S. Army. We even got to see the ceremonial changing of the guards. Whenever anyone around the tomb was making too much noise, the guard would take a step out of position and yell "All visitors will mantain an atmosphere of silence and respect!" After the cemetery we rode over to Jefferson memorial, then to the museum of natural history. Joop and I ended up getting seperated just before getting to the museum and I couldn't find him after looking for a few minutes so I just went in and enjoyed the museum. When I came out a couple hours later he was waiting for me outside - he had gone in too, though he entered from the other side. We then rode back to Bethesda. When Bob and Amy returned from work, we all packed up a picnic for dinner and went on a little hike to the Great Falls. It was a very beautiful area and a really enjoyable walk. I couldn't think of a better way to end my time here in the DC area.
Tomorrow I take the bus up to New York where I will be staying until the 7th. I'm very excited to get up to the city to explore and hang out with some of my friends that I studied abroad with in Costa Rica during my first semester of my junior year in college. I haven't seen them in over a year and a half so I am really looking forward to reconnecting with them. I sure have had a wonderful stay here in Bethesda/DC though, and I will forever be grateful for everything that Bob and Amy have done to make sure that Joop and I had the best and most comfortable stay possible.