Saturday, July 5, 2014

The day after Independence Day, with Bottle Rockets

This morning I was picking up spent bottle rockets from my backyard and thinking about how weird it is that we get together specifically to watch stuff blow up on Independence Day. No insight here, just observations, but it did remind me of a recent trip my husband and I took to our nation's capital. A couple of years ago we realized that we had not taken a vacation (that didn't involve a family event) in nearly a decade. So we ended up in Washington DC where scotch is cheap and the museums are free!

To be honest neither of us had ever been there and it was not high on our bucket list of places to see. Of course that all changed once we got to the National Mall and faced the amazing array of the Smithsonian  Institution museums. Honestly I thought it was just one museum not 17!  They were also populated with an overwhelming number of tourists, which made me feel like maybe it wasn't such an unusual place to vacation after all.

One important stop was the US Botanic Garden, there's a lush tropical conservatory and a series  of smaller rooms featuring a beautiful collection of orchids. The outdoor areas are fairly spacious and offer a welcome relief from the museums since there are no lines and it's less crowded. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip along with the entire Air and Space Museum, Julia Child's kitchen and the National Zoo.

That's my husband, a dedicated pinhole photographer pretending he's not taking a picture with a cardboard box. It's not like photography wasn't allowed, so why the guilty look? Then there's Julia Child's kitchen! I will always be deeply grateful to her for inspiring me to tackle the art of French cuisine. Now if I just wanted to cook more often.

At the National Zoo Mei Tang, the Giant Panda feasted on some good looking bamboo (I wouldn't mind having a pot of on my patio) behind thick glass and a gazillion tourists. Meanwhile this little red panda was stealing the show outside. So adorable, just look at that tail! I must say I think more than a few tax dollars should be put towards spiffing up the zoo. The animals looked well cared for but the zoo itself looked a bit shabby. 

What more can be said about the beautiful cherry trees? We visited in the fall so no blossoms, but it must be a spectacular sight given the sheer number of them. Have to admit I was wowed by their roots, after a hundred years they are real works of art.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday. Maybe I need to plan another trip, but this time in the spring. 


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