Let’s get going!
Up early to leave for our flight out of Milwaukee, we were all excited to begin our trip to DC. The ALL that I speak of is just Pat and the girls. Monica made her reservations separately and would be leaving from Madison later in the day. While checking in the day before departure, I decided to upgrade our seats to business class so we could truly enjoy the first leg of our trip. Like any good marketing effort, the price was right on the cusp of what I would call reasonable. Since each business class ticket included up to 2 free checked bags, it was actually a pretty good deal. (Of course now we’ll have to try and do the same thing on the way back with our checked bags…darn. That’s where they get you.)
Undaunted by the detour on I94, we made it to the airport with time to spare. The flight was on time and we sailed through security without issues. The extra room, clear skies, and free drinks made the flight as pleasant as can be.
Upon arrival in DC, our plan was to figure out the Metro trains and take one to the Metro Center station near our hotel. Let’s call this a good learning experience. Multiple tracks, broken escalators, and trains going in different directions all played a part in our adventure. Long story short, we got to the hotel safely. Eventually.
Clare needed to get online to get some work done, so, thanks to Marriott’s $12.95/day Internet fee, we started walking looking for some free wi-fi. Hello Barnes & Noble! Their cafe fit the bill perfectly – food, drinks, and free wi-fi. She did her thing while Hannah and I headed for the national mall. I’ve never been there, so I had to stand there for a few minutes and take it all in. We’ve all seen pictures, but it’s quite the sight in person. We had a couple of hours to kill so we walked through the Smithsonian Castle – historically the first building of what would be become the 19-site Smithsonian monstrosity. After that we headed to the Washington Monument and basked in the shade of the tower – it was hot; a prelude for the week. We walked up to the monument itself, took a few pictures, looked over the hill at the WW II Memorial and Lincoln Memorial then headed back to pick up Clare. She wasn’t quite done, so I left them to finish up while I headed back to the airport.
It was about time to meet Monica and by now I was a relative expert at navigating the Metro. True to form, I hopped on headed in the right direction and arrived in plenty of time to meet her. She landed safely and we rushed back on the Metro to meet the girls for dinner. We all started walking in the direction of a Mexican place that Hannah found that was gluten-free friendly. Unfortunately, when we got there it looked a little too fancy for how we were dressed, so we crossed the street and had some pretty good barbecue. It was the kind of place where you pay for your meat by the pound and your sides by the size. Have as little or as much as you like. Tasty!
One last walk back to the hotel and we crashed for the night.