Thirty Hours in DC

Last Tuesday/Wednesday I took a bit of a whirlwind trip to Washington DC, waking up at 4am on Tuesday to catch a 6:05 flight. I immediately regretted my decision to book such an early flight when the alarm went off.

My flights were uneventful, going first to Atlanta then to DC. I had an hour layover in Atlanta, but it wasn’t needed as I arrived in one gate and left in the very next gate. Oh well. I spent most of my flights (going and returning) listening to an autobiography of Catherine the Great. So good. This audiobook is thirty-something hours long, but I can’t really tell. I’m really into the story, but sorry that I’m going to have to struggle to find time to finish it now that I’m back in the real world.
Washington DCSo, why exactly did I go to DC? It was work thing. Sometimes instead of an over-stressed mom, I’m a badass archivist who works very hard at her job. Sometimes I’m both.

This particular work function was to attend a reception in the Senate building for the unveiling of an official portrait of Blanche Lincoln, former Democratic senator from Arkansas. I’m in charge of her senatorial papers at the moment and went to represent my archival peeps. Don’t worry, I didn’t say “peeps” when I was in the Senate building. I did wander around though, explore the basement, and ride the senators only elevator.
Senate Building

Blanche Lincoln
Former Senator Blanche L. Lincoln doing her thing.

After the reception, I walked over to a restaurant called The Monacle, billed as sort of an old-school Capitol Hill spot. The restaurant was a pleasant place to be and was busy, even on a late Tuesday night. I made the mistake of ordering the vegetarian pasta. I forgot to take a photo before I stirred it up, but here it is, non-food porn style:
The Monacle This dish was a disappointment. The menu said it included wilted spinach and wild mushrooms. I expected an inspired, delicious dish. I got a throwaway pasta dish only added to the menu so the veggie-people would have something to eat. My dish had six pieces of spinach. There were more mushrooms, but they were covered in this thick sauce – not the light far I expected. It really seemed like they had a chicken pasta dish and just removed the chicken to make it veggie. I had intended to treat myself to dessert, but the pasta dish was so heavy I just wasn’t up for it. The pasta wasn’t bad, exactly, but it was Olive Garden fare. Bummer.

On Wednesday, I purposely booked a 6pm flight so I would have time to do at least one thing DC. I decided to set out for the Newseum, as I’d never been there before.

Newseum - Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall and an unfinished statue of Lenin that eventually lost its head too.
Newseum - 911 Overview Nellie
Left: a piece of the World Trade Center. Top: the open lobby of the Newseum. Bottom: Nellie Bly getting some attention.

The best way I can describe the Newseum. . . it was like a punch to the gut. The current exhibits veered into painful territory and I really felt like I needed to do something lighthearted afterwards. Not to discourage you from going though – it was spectacular.

On the flight home, I decided to take advantage of my free-drink first class perk and helped myself to three glasses of white wine during the leg to Atlanta. I noticed I was getting a little tipsy when I opened my window to watch the lights below (something I usually don’t like to do because it makes me nauseous). Then as I walked up the gangway, I started to contemplate the origin of the phrase “drunk as a skunk” while laughing to myself. At that point, I realized I hadn’t had anything to eat in nine hours except for three pimento cheese crackers. I headed for a sandwich on the way to my next gate to rectify that situation and avoided the wine on the second leg of my trip (I was driving home afterall).

I fell into my bed at 11:30, exhausted, but happy to be home. I really enjoy DC – I think it is my third favorite US city (after Chicago and Kansas City).

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