Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Washington DC Trip - Our first day
We’ve had a good day. Our girls are tired. They really didn’t fall asleep until after midnight last night. That is 9:00 PM California time, but then they they woke up this morning as the sun came up. Normally they’ll get around ten hours of sleep, so having only seven to eight made them tired.
We had a continental breakfast at our hotel. It was pretty simple, bagels, a couple types of cereal, juice, apples, and muffins.
For the day we decided to get an overview of Washington D.C. from a trolley. It really helped give us a general feel of the city.
We took a shuttle to downtown D.C. Our hotel directed us towards the Old Town Trolley Tours. When we arrived at the ticket office we were told that they were sold out, but since we had come by shuttle, and paid part of the price, we were able to buy tickets.
In the morning we took the green line up north of the White House. It was fascinating to ride around town. Almost every block had something interesting. There is something like 170 embassies in Washington D.C. There are 50 churches on 6th Street. There are so many national organizations, and governmental agencies, and museums, and on and on.
Washington D.C. seems to be the place for protests. We saw several. At two different places we saw people protesting China and human rights issues. Behind the White House was a group protesting Egypt and how Christians are being killed in Egypt. Another group was protesting nuclear weapons. One man had his own protest on house prices.
For lunch we found a sandwich place west of the White House. Turns out the guy in front of us works at the White House! After lunch we went to the Daughters of the Revolution, DAR. Janine has a friend who works there. We got a short, private tour.
We walked in front of the White House. We went as close as we could, and there were still five fences between us and the White House. Two hundred years ago you could have walked to where President Thomas Jefferson was living, knocked on the door, and sometimes he would have answered the door.
Washington D.C. is laid out in a grid system. The horizontal streets are named after letters, starting with A, but there is no J street. The vertical streets are numbers. So if someone gives you an address of 12th M North West, in theory it isn’t too hard to find. But there are a whole bunch of diagonal streets, some streets don’t go through. And there is lots of construction. So in walking from the DAR museum to get back to the Old Trolley Tour, we ended up on a diagonal street heading slightly away. When we finally arrived at the tour stop, our daughters were very happy to be able to sit again and just look at the sites.
We took the orange line in the afternoon. The trolley took us past Union Station, the Capital, the Smithsonian museums, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, and Washington Monument.
After taking the second tour, we got some ice cream and came back to our hotel. Our daughters are pretty exhausted. They are watching Animal Planet. They wi ll probably only stir for dinner.
It has been a good day. We are having fun. There is a lot to see here.
This is Janine jumping in here. I'm too tired to do my own post.
Boy, this is a lot of effort, but this is what homeschooling is all about. First hand experience is so much more powerful than reading about it in a book. I also think the kids get more than they would in a large tour, like our local schools do. If we want to spend more time at a certain museum, we can. When the kids are done, we can stop.
So far, the tour guides have been a bit biased politically. I'm glad we are here to explain a different point of view. As a parent, I wouldn't appreciate my child coming home from a school trip to the nations capitol with an unbalanced view of history.
I was also surprised to learn that a friend paid $1,400 for her daughter's school trip to DC. The trip for our whole family will cost just a little more than that. (I'm quite the travel deal scout. We plan our trips by what airfaire/hotel is on sale.)
This is a wonderful place.
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