Trip to Washington, DC, and Alexandria, VA, 2013.10 September, 2013
Back from vacation, so things should be a little busier here, sorry for lack of posting while I was on vacation but . . . I was on vacation.
Another trip that started with a long drive, Athens to Alexandria (a shorter trip than across the Mediterranean though) and ended with us falling into bed at the end.
Monday, Labor Day, always a fun day to go into DC as all of the government offices are closed but not the Smithsonian Museums. Still quite a few tourists but very few of them native English speakers, wonderful tourists from around the world! Quite fun. Visited the Natural History Museum first when it was less crowded but ducked out after noon to catch the Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music exhibition at the National Gallery of Art which I cannot recommend highly enough, a fascinating intersection of art and culture in the early 20th Century. Then a rest in the sculpture garden and back to our rooms where we met up with my mother and went out to Eamonn’s for fish and chips, yum!
Tuesday was the Freer and Sackler Galleries which house the Asian art collections of the Smithsonian always interesting, though we were visiting them between major exhibitions which meant that it was mostly permanent collection material on display, which is still quite amazing. Ending the day at the Castle, the original Smithsonian Institute building, to visit the Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes, and Curios exhibit there, which had such bizarre items from the collection as one of Napoleon’s napkins, part of a rail split by Lincoln and other odd but fascinating bits and pieces.
Wednesday, we visited the Renwick Gallery, which was also between exhibits, and then the Corcoran Gallery (which actually charges for entrance, sadness) unfortunately part of their permanent collection was closed so we will have to go back in the future, but they did have two amazing exhibits: WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath, with photographs from the Crimean War to the modern age including iconic images from WW2 and Vietnam, very moving and -occasional- wrenching and depressing. Which is good that the other exhibition: Ellen Harvey: The Alien’s Guide to the Ruins of Washington, D.C. was so light-hearted and whimsical.
Thursday, was our planned day of rest which was good as L was not feeling well in any case. So we just did a little visiting around Alexandria and rested in our room.
Friday, the coolest day we were there, was the scene of our grand walking tour of DC monuments (which was actually longer than the Google map implies) starting with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and ending with the Washington Monument (currently encased by scaffolding) it was quite a trek for homebodies like us but well worthwhile, seeing several things that were new to us such as our starting point, the FDR and MLK memorials, the Vietnam Women Veteran’s statue and the WW2 memorial. Great fun but quite exhausting.
And, Saturday, our last day saw us visiting the American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery (which are functionally the same as their buildings blend into one another) which had a wonderful exhibit of photography, A Democracy of Images, which has some amazing and fascinating pieces, and Mr. Time, a collection of piece by Time magazine cover artist Boris Chaliapin which were quite wonderful. Back to Alexandria for a farewell meal at Nando’s Peri-Peri, lovely spicy chicken which we had last eaten almost two decades ago in London.
Sunday was the long drive back which was, thankfully, uneventful but quite long.
I will add a link to the photos I took once I get them organized and up on the web.