Sunday, July 27, 2014

Local Exploring: The National Mall

We engaged in some local tourism this past week. Michael's sister and brother-in-law visited early last week and we had a blast. We started Monday morning with a Segway tour of the National Mall, from the White House, up to the Capitol and back down the Mall to the Lincoln Memorial.  The tour was a great way to get an overview of some of the most prominent landmarks in the city. We were even lucky enough to see a presidential motorcade on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The tour group while we were waiting to cross 17th street. The segways were really easy to use and control. The tour guide did a quick introduction and everyone picked up on it right away. It was definitely less tiring than walking all over the city, but that said, standing for three hours is still standing for three hours. Also, the platform you stand on is constantly moving, so you are constantly stabilizing it with your calves and core. By the end of the tour, my calves and lower back were definitely tired. Overall, rolling through the city was really, really fun.
On my segway in front of the White House (photo taken by Michael).
The U.S. Capitol from the east side. The scaffolding is part of a massive renovation of the dome (which is made of cast iron).
Michael and his brother-in-law on their segways on the mall near the Capitol. The tour was a lot of fun and even Michael and I learned a few things from the tour guide. I would definitely recommend it.
After the tour we ate lunch and then headed over the Museum of Natural History. We looked around a bit and then walked back down to the Lincoln Memorial, pausing at the Washington Monument along the way. One of the things I really liked doing when I worked downtown was running on the National Mall. I would often finish my workout with run up the hill to the Washington Monument. It is hard to appreciate how big it is from far away. The day we walked to it last week, the dramatic clouds behind it made it even more impressive.
The reflecting pool was filled with Canada Geese (photo taken by Michael).

After visiting the Lincoln Memorial, we decided that we were done for the day. The next day, we headed to the National Archives and then the Museum of American History. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that, after living here for 9 1/2 years, I had not visited the exhibit of the founding documents. We took care of that. We even managed to get there early enough that we didn't have to wait in line.

After exploring the Museum of American History for a few hours, Michael's sister said they enjoyed the segway tour the day before so much that they wanted to do another one. Only one segway tour operator's website listed a night tour, so we went with them (It turned out that several companies offer night tours. A note to tour operators: If your website doesn't list a tour, it doesn't exist.). After a birthday dinner for Michael, we set out on two wheels again.
The Jefferson Memorial at sunset. This tour did not go to the Capitol, but it did get down to the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin.
 The Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial.
 A quote inscribed in the stones at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (photo taken by Michael)
 Lincoln lit up at dusk.
 The Washington Monument at dusk.
 The Lincoln Memorial from the World War II Memorial.
The National Archives lit up at night. This was on our walk back to the metro.

We had a great time with Michael's sister and brother-in-law and it was a lot of fun to explore the city for a couple of days.

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