By this point, Megan was living in Tennessee. My first travel diary entry after arriving includes the genius sentence "Tennessee is quite different to Nebraska." OH MY GOD, REALLY?????? Thanks so much for clarifying that, 23 year old me. One of the most exciting parts of this trip was that I bought my very first digital camera, which means I don't have to search through photo albums and scan stuff. WHEEEE!!!
Ahem. So. We spent a couple of weeks in Tennessee, pottering about and hanging out with people, and almost going to private parties for Dierks Bentley in Nashville. We also went to a bar where this happened:
Megan's housemate: What beers do you have?
Waitress: Oh, a whole bunch!!
Yup. That was about as helpful as she could manage... After those first few weeks, we packed up all our stuff and got on a plane to Washington DC. Our first port of call was the Library of Congress, because Megan was in the middle of her Masters and needed to do research for her thesis.
If you ever get the chance to go to the Library of Congress, TAKE IT. It's gorgeous. And their collection is astonishingly brilliant. </library nerd spiel>
We also visited the Capitol Building (well, the outside at least), where the annual Law Enforcement Officers' Torch Race was happening. There were a LOT of law enforcement officers wearing tiny shorts there. Also on the list of sites were a bunch of Smithsonians, including the National Gallery of Art, the Natural History Museum, and the American History Museum. Back in those days, prior to the Great Washington Earthquake of 2011, you could walk right up to the Washington Monument.
Fascinating, no? We also went to the National Archives where I attempted to take photos of the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and Constitution without the flash. Clearly, I wasn't very good at the whole holding-the-camera-still part...
|You can totally read that, right??|
You could also get much closer to the White House in 2006 than you could in 2011. See?
We also wandered around all the memorials. Unlike my trip last year, the Reflecting Pool actually had water in it, which was quite exciting. While walking around the Tidal Basin, we saw quite possibly the most unexpected thing I've ever seen in America: PEOPLE PLAYING CRICKET.
Good luck with converting America from baseball, embassy types...
We also had quite the exciting Sunday, which featured TWO churches and a zoo. Did you know there were dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden? I sure as hell didn't. But according to this mosaic on the roof of the National Basilica of something or other, there were. I circled it for you:
Having spent a millionty years at Anglican schools, I felt far more at home in the National Cathedral, where 99% of the decoration was courtesy of stained glass windows. One of which contains space rock:
|BEST. WINDOW. EVER.|
And the zoo featured a baby panda playing with its own feet. Squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
And finally, we headed across to Arlington National Cemetery, where we saw all the expected sights and where Megan had to remind me that singing the Adelaide Crows theme song whenever I heard the Marines' Hymn playing was probably not a good idea (same tune, VERY different words)... Despite my inadvertent faux pas, the Iwo Jima Memorial was totally worth seeing (as was the rest of Arlington, really!):
So that was Washington. And as this is already stupidly long, I'm going to divide this trip into instalments. Next up, things get far more interesting when we catch a BUS to Philadelphia. Yeah.........