For the past few years, the idea of living in D.C. has been tossing about in my head. There are so many opportunities there in the financial math/economics industry, and I think I would really enjoy working for the BEA or BLS. This being said, before this month, I had never been to the capital.
If the first place my family stopped was called Schmankerl Stube, you know this vacation will have to be interesting. Schmankerl Stube is a Bavarian restaurant in Maryland that my dad wanted to try.
Vacation Lesson 1: No one likes Bavarian food. If you’re going to go Eastern European, go German.
For dinner we went to Medieval Times. I got pretty skeptical when the first thing they gave me was a paper crown. Those are only acceptable at Burger King. My disdain for the place only continued as we waited for the doors to open. By the time I left, my opinion had almost taken a 180. The food was delicious, and my dad’s over-enthusiasm for eating a ginormous hunk of chicken with his bare hands was hilarious. The jousting was a bit too obviously choreographed, but entertaining anyway. The knights did have to do some skill games, so those were cool. It’s the kind of thing you can definitely get into if you want. My brother lost his voice cheering, but I’ve always been more apt to booing. We were assigned one knight to root against, so that worked out for me. The show wasn’t just jousting though; there was a sort of play built around it. The acting by the king and princess was horrendous. So bad, it almost beat out the free-flying falcon as my least favorite part. Almost.
Vacation Lesson 2: You are never safe from birds.
Day two started off with an early morning shuttle ride. On the shuttle with us was this other family. They come into play later. This day I got to experience the D.C. subway system. When my mom came to visit me in Atlanta, she told me D.C.’s subway was nicer. Here’s my breakdown of D.C. versus Atlanta:
Pro: More lines. You can get pretty much anywhere in D.C. by subway. ATL only has North/South and East/West lines. Everywhere else you have to take a bus to, or in my case, walk.
Cons: Padded seats–ATL’s seats were hard plastic. In my mind that translates to more sanitary. The smell–for the most part, Atlanta didn’t have one. D.C. was often rank.
Anyway, our first stop of the day was to Arlington Cemetery. It’s really something when there are graves as far as your eyes can see in every direction and you know that not every veteran is buried there. My brother pointed out that no matter which direction you look (up, over, diagonal), the gravestones make perfect lines. While we were there, we got to go through the Robert E. Lee house that is still being redone. There is a really nice lookout spot just behind the house. After Arlington, we headed over to the Pentagon City Mall to eat. Food vouchers are awesome. We then went to the Washington Monument and the WWII Memorial before going to the Holocaust Museum. As you go in, they have these little booklets about different victims to help make the experience more authentic; David was the only one whose Holocaust alter-ego survived. I should mention that it’s over 100 degrees out and we’re all completely miserable having already walked several miles.
Lesson 3: You shouldn’t only bring shoes with no cushion or support on this type of vacation. Sorry feet.
For this reason we decided to only stop at one Smithsonian: the Museum of Natural History. We didn’t even bother to tread past the second floor. Thankfully, the Old Post Office, which we had more food vouchers for, was just a short walk away. Possibly my favorite part of the day was going up the Old Post Office tower. It’s a really pretty spot, and it felt so good with a breeze coming through. You can also get off the elevator on the level of the bells. I’d add pictures, but they’re all still on my phone. I really need to get a memory card…
We caught the shuttle back to the hotel at the same time as that other family. It was a crowded ride, and I was between my dad and the other dad. Both of them started singing along to the Prince song on the radio. When we got back, we decided to go use the pool and hot tub. So did that other family. When we were done doing that, we decided to order a pizza. My brother and I went down into the lobby to get some tea and coffee, and guess who was sitting there eating a pizza? I say all this because just the night before, my brother and I were discussing whether or not their were any families out there like ours. We found one.