Views from the Train Window

Riding the train home from Washington DC, we passed through many small towns.

Many of the buildings seemed forgotten, abandoned.

But some showed signs of life.

There were quiet little houses, each holding its own little story that I will never know. And they will never know mine.

It is interesting to pass through towns you might not otherwise ever see, towns that have long been forgotten. I always wonder what life is like in different places. 

Out and About in Washington DC

These photos were taken on the morning we left Washington DC. I wanted to make sure I got my fill of the city, so we got up early and walked around for about an hour before catching the train back home.

I love that funny tooth sign!

I think I may be nearing the end of my DC photos. I can’t believe it’s taken me five months to get them all posted. Going though all these photos makes me want go back already!

Peddle Boats and Blossom-less Cherry Trees

On our last full day in Washington DC we saw a place where you could rent peddle boats along the tidal basin, and thought it seemed like fun to go and explore along the water’s edge. 

There are many monuments in this area that we didn’t have time to go visit by foot, so it was fun to peddle past them and avoid the crowds. This is the Thomas Jefferson monument.

The airport was nearby so planes were racing by overhead. 

The Martin Luther King monument. 

The only disappointing part about our trip was that we just missed all the cherry blossoms, by about a week and a half. We had an absurdly warm winter so the cherry trees bloomed earlier than ever.  
(Just imagine this row of trees is completely pink!)

Thousands of cherry trees were sent as a gift from Japan about one hundred years ago, and many of them are still standing today. If you look carefully you can spot a few baby cherry trees mixed in too, like this little guy pictured above, 

The last few cherry blossoms remaining. 

The peddle boats were a lot of fun, even if I did end up getting seasick towards the end 🙂

The DC Metro

Riding the metro is a big part of visiting Washington DC.
 I love the metro; the stations are such a busy, energizing place, and riding the trains is always an adventure. 

The adventures start with a long decent by escalator deep underground.  In DC there were some of the longest escalators I have ever seen. About halfway through they can get disorienting and make you feel like you are going straight up or down. I always felt like I was going to fall over and ended up holding on really tight and got afraid to move. Haha!

 On our last visit, we didn’t bring a car so we used to metro to travel everywhere. Paying for metro trips will add up really fast, so it’s best to get a metro pass if you’ll be there for more than a few days. 

We bought the 7 day short trip pass, which costs 36 dollars and allows unlimited trips off peak hours, and covers trips up to $3.60 during peak hours. After the $3.60 you just have to load some money on your card to pay the difference. The maximum fare is $5.90, so you will never pay more then $2.30 per trip. Another pass is offered for 60 dollars that includes unlimited on peak trips, but it is not really worth the money if your average trip will not go over $3.60.  You can check the cost of your metro trips here and determine if you will be traveling many long distances during your stay or not.  Peak hours are from opening until 9:30 AM, and 3:30 to 7:00 PM. 

With an unlimited pass that means you can ride the metro anywhere and everywhere, without worrying about paying anything extra!

We ended up riding the metro many times during rush hour. The trains were jam packed, but that was part of the fun. It’s interesting to see all the busy people heading to work, and trying to imagine what they do, and where they are hurrying off to.

This trip was the first one we have ever taken without a car. It feels a lot more adventurous to try and make your way around the city by a combination of walking, metro riding and bus riding. I wish my own city had a metro system!

National Botanical Gardens

One of my favorite places I have ever been, is the National Botanical Gardens in Washington DC.

Plants of every kind can be found while wandering along the curving paths throughout the garden.

I loved the orchid wall.

The vast conservatory is filled with tropical plants, and palm trees that extend all the way to the top of the glass dome. A catwalk wraps around the exhibit, so you can walk among the tree tops.

There was an even higher catwalk that looked amazing to walk along, but that one was off limits. I would probably be too scared to walk on it anyway.

I wanted to live there.

I loved the every part of the Botanical Gardens, but my favorite was the peaceful conservatory, with all the lush green plants, and the walkway in the tree tops. I didn’t want to leave!

Natural History Museum

My favorite Smithsonian museum is the Natural History Museum. 

Not only is natural history my favorite subject to learn, but the museum itself is just magnificent. With a grand atrium extending over three stories, and visually stunning exhibits. 

I was excited to see one of my favorite animals:The Pika!!!  It’s a relative to the rabbit and the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I recommend watching a video, to see the Pika’s full cuteness.

Another favorite of mine is the Coelacanth!  It was thought to have been extinct for millions of years, but then they were found living off the coast of South Africa, virtually unchanged from their fossil ancestors. (See video!) I love this fish and even have a Coelacanth necklace!

Why didn’t I bring my necklace with me!

There was a feature that let you see what you would have looked like as an early Human relative. 

The results were hilarious.

I think my glasses are a nice touch!

The best part was that they streamed everyone’s ape-like photos on a large screen for all to see, so it was amusing to see people’s reactions to our funny transformations.

Pika Bones!

The Natural History museum is an incredible place and I could have easily spent plenty more hours there. 

The Space Shuttle

When planning our trip to Washington DC, visiting the space shuttle was on the top of the list! We’ve always been big fans of NASA and love anything about outer space, so we were very excited to have the chance to see a space shuttle in person.

The space shuttle Discovery lives at the National Air and Space museum in their hanger location which is just outside of DC. From the center of DC it was was about a 45 minute metro ride, and then a 20 minute bus ride after that, but it was worth it. The Hanger is part of the Smithsonian so it was completely free to visit.

The Discovery space shuttle launched into space a total of 39 times, which was more than any other shuttle in the fleet. Discovery was also the shuttle that carried the Hubble space telescope into orbit. It was pretty amazing to see it in person, knowing how many times it had flown into space. 

No final repairs or cleaning was done on discovery because they wanted to show the full effects that space travel had on him.

The whole space exhibit was really neat. There were satellites hanging from the ceiling like Christmas decorations.

They also had a collection of cameras that had been used in space, which I loved!

I was excited to see that NASA was also a Nikon fan 🙂

Seeing the space shuttle was definitely one of my favorite things about the trip.

The Houses of Dupont Circle

On our trip to Washington DC we stayed in Dupont circle, which is a historic neighborhood of many row houses. It was a very pretty area and I loved admiring all the different homes during our early morning walks to the metro station.

The leaves were just starting to emerge on the trees. Spring had just begun. 

One of the highlights of the walk was going under this low growing pine tree.

As we walked trough this neighborhood, we liked to imagine what kind of people lived in these historic homes, and what it would be like to live there.  I’m not sure I would like to be so close to my neighbor, but I think living in Washington DC would be a lot of fun. I love big cities.

Chinatown in Washington DC

After visiting the Zoo, and the Bonsai Gallery, our first full day in Washington DC ended with a walk around Chinatown. 

According to the step counter on my phone, we took about 25,000 steps that day, which is around 12 miles. We had worked up an insane hunger and liked the looks of this place because because eating first was all we could think about.

As soon as we sat down they served us complementary tea, which I loved.

I had worked up such an appetite that I somehow managed to eat this absurdly large plate of veggie noodles in its entirety. 

After stuffing ourselves, we walked around and enjoyed the busy sights of Chinatown.

I loved everything in this adorable gift shop, but they had sings everywhere inside that said NO PICTURES. So I had to settle for just one picture of the outside.

Wok and Roll. I love it.

I love the bustling, busy atmosphere of Chinatown, and all the ornate decoration. It’s definitely one of my favorite places in DC.

National Bonsai Gallery

When I found out that Washington DC had a bonsai museum at the national Arboretum, I couldn’t wait to go. It was an adventure getting there without a car. After a long metro ride, then hopped on a bus and questioned if we choose the right one. Twenty minutes later we eventually ended up at our stop and walked the last few blocks to the Arboretum.

Unfortunately I failed to realize that the Bonsai gallery closed at 4:00 PM and the entire place closed at 5:00. We arrived at 3:45 so I only had a few minutes to race around and look at as many bonsais as I could. Luckily it was just enough time, but I could have probably spent an hour there.

I can’t wait until my own bonsais grow as big as these guys.

We were the only ones in the bonsai gallery. It was very peaceful and warm.

Like many things in DC, the arboretum is completely free! It’s definitely worth checking out. I loved it, I just wish we had gotten more time to spend looking around.