Sometime between March and July, my friend Anik got me addicted to the T.V. show House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and based in Washington D.C. It got to the point where we were dying to visit.
We aren't even sure how this road trip got planned out, it just happened. One weekend, we just decided to drive out to the Capital City.
I'm so glad we did. I love the joy and excitement of being in a new place.
Washington's streets and vibe is similar to the rest of North America, so you feel comfortable and at ease in getting around but it's just different enough so you feel you're experiencing something completely new. I will never forget the initial joy of first stepping out of the subway and seeing the city. I literally did a leap.
Some of the architecture in the city was recognizable from the show such as the distinctive railings below on the street or the metro station, where Frank and Zoe meet.
We were really keen to see many of the museums and monuments, but first, brunch at Kramerbooks, where I had my first ever lobster omelette. Apparently, seafood, especially crab cakes, are popular in Maryland. It was delicious, in case anyone was wondering.
One curious thing about D.C. are the long traffic light times. This short street merited a minute of crossing for some reason. I wonder how they decide these things.
The first museum we headed to was the National Geographic Museum. I'm kind of obsessed with the magazine, but I managed to contain my excitement so as not to scare off other guests.
I loved how the exhibition captured the exploration spirit of the magazine. It made you want to go out into the world and live in a different part of the world for a little while- a part of the world that wouldn't have Western comforts. It celebrated difficult achievements of past and current explorers like diving into the ocean or climbing high mountains.
I also loved being around the other museum guests even though we didn't talk because I knew that just because they were there, they shared the same passion for learning and discovery. The National Geographic museum isn't as popular as the big Smithsonian museums (though it is still quite famous) so there were less tourists and more true fans and purists.
We wandered around the historic buildings afterwards and ended up at the Monument and White House.
What's really cool but understated about the White House is there is a really tall tree at the front that looks a little out of place, but when you look closely (see photo below), you notice it's actually surveillance for the premises.
We had a fairly full day, but it still wasn't finished. We ended up at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum where we looked at genomes, dinosaurs, various taxidermy animals, insects, gems and minerals.
One of my favourite things about Washington is the abundance and quality of museums. They are so well-done and curated that I wouldn't mind moving there just to visit all of the museums in depth. Museums in Washington are like art galleries and old churches in Paris; plentiful and well worth the visit.
After we were done, it was dinnertime so we headed to Chinatown for food and of course, ice cream. Then we went home and got ready for day two of museums...