This week's journey is special. We went on a (too) short family trip to Washington, D.C., last weekend for the Cherry Blossom Festival. I've been bugging my wife for many years about Spring time in D.C. to see all the flowers in the cherry trees. It is not an easy time to travel for us with the kids in school. This year, I decided it would be a treat for my daughter's birthday and mine. The photos in this post were mostly taken with the Panasonic LX100. Some were taken with the Panasonic GX7 with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 or the Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye.
Thursday, after school, we packed the car, let Roxy and Mya in the care of my in-laws, and started out south. Washington is supposed to be a 10 hours drive from here. I had initially planned to sleep a bit farther than halfway there. When we arrived in New Jersey, I was wide awake and everyone else was sleeping in the car, so I decided to continue further south. In Baltimore, I was beginning to feel very tired, but since it was just one hour from Washington, I woke up my wife so she can talk to me and keep me awake. We got to Laurel, Maryland, at 4 am. The gentleman at the Hotel we had booked for Friday and Saturday found us a room for an (very) early check-in. I was able to catch 2h30 of sleep before breakfast. Let's just say coffee was an important part of the day.
After breakfast, we headed out to the Greenbelt Metro Station. Washington has a very good metro system. My first advice for people planning to go there: don't take your car downtown. Park and take the metro. Parking was free for the weekend and it was 5$ for Friday. The metro will get you downtown fast (or wherever you want to go). You will also find nice photographic opportunities there.
We were in Washington only for 48 hours, so we decided to concentrate on the National Mall area. We wanted to go to the Smithsonian's Natural History and National Air and Space museums. The main reason for me though was to see the cherry blossom. Friday was grey with a little bit of rain so it was a good day to check the museums. The Natural History museum is great for any age. My kids are 12, 10 and 4 years old and we all had fun walking around. We only did one floor on Friday, and came back Saturday. Another great thing about the Smithsonian's is all their museums are free. You don't feel the pressure of seeing it all in one day. When the kids got hungry, we headed out to find a restaurant knowing that we could head back there whenever we wanted.
We found a nice little restaurant called Au Bon Pain. With a name like that, it got our attention right away. You probably know by now how much we like good bread in the family. After lunch, we walked to the White House and the Washington Memorial. Almost all the middle section of the National Mall was in repair. There were fences and earth mounds everywhere, and no water in the Reflecting Pool. We will have to go back at another time. ;)
We finished the day at the Air and Space museum. We were all really tired so we did not stay long. We took the metro back to the hotel to eat, rest and take a swim in the pool. The day ended with a really nice sunset. It was looking good for the next day.
Saturday's weather was great. We woke up to the sun and a nice 13°C while it was snowing in Sherbrooke. Like the day before, we took the metro downtown. There was a parade for the Cherry Blossom Festival. The streets were packed with people, and the museums were almost empty. We went back to the National History museum in the morning.
In the afternoon, we walked about 10km. There were soooo many people. Too many. We went to the Jefferson Memorial, circled around the tidal basin, down to Lincoln Memorial, and back up to Washington Memorial. The most beautiful (and peaceful) place was the Roosevelt Memorial. There's a lot of cherry trees there and less people. We saw two wedding parties taking photos around this area.
We ended up in the Chinatown for dinner. The kids were great. Almost no complain even if everyone was tired. It was such a beautiful day.
We spent only two days in Washington, D.C., but even in 2 weeks, we would have no time to see everything. The area between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial is beautiful. The architecture is great. I could spend days there just to walk around and read words written in the stone. Reading some of it made me realize that all Americans should go there and read what their former presidents said. I bet some of them would be ashamed to see what modern politicians forgot about the wisdom of their predecessors. If you ever get the chance to be there in April, it is worth every minute of it. The magnolias and cherry trees are gorgeous. Here are some photos of the buildings in the National Mall area.