WE started our Washington DC vacation on Friday, July 6, 1996. We got up early that day and packed our last minute stuff. Dad took Missy and Summer to the vet. We packed the car and drove to Elko where we spent the day at the Trader's Market Flea Market. There we got a lot of neat stuff. After the Flea Market we drove to the Select Inn in Bloomington and checked in for the night. We walked over to Chili's for supper. The food was great! Back at our room we looked at our stuff from the flea market. We all went swimming and had a lot of fun in the pool as Dad showed us some wrestling holds. We watched TV and went to bed at 12:30 AM.
The next day we got up early again. We packed up and took the shuttle van to the Humphrey Charter Terminal and checked our bags. We were on Sun Country Airlines Flight 234. Our plane was suppose to leave at 1:40 PM but they had to replace a broken back up compass. We loaded after 2 PM and took off at 2:30 PM. They served salami on rye sandwiches, cheese, crackers and a mint. Our flight was 1 hour and 52 minutes. We landed about 5:15 PM EST. We went from the airplane onto a bus like vehicle called "Plane Mate Vehicle" which took us to the Dulles Airport main terminal in Chantilly, Virginia. After we got our luggage we took a taxi. It cost $40 for the 46 mile trip to Washington DC. The taxi took us right to the Howard Johnson Premier on Virginia Ave. across the street from Watergate Hotel. We checked into room 512. This would be our home for the next seven days. We had a refrigerator and a balcony facing the Watergate. We went to eat supper at the hotel restaurant, Bob's Big Boy. We looked around the hotel gift shop.
Sunday was our first full day in Washington DC. We left our hotel room at 8 AM and had trouble finding the Foggy Bottom Metro Station. We finally did find it. It took us a little bit to figure out how to buy and use the farecards. You have to use them to enter as well as to exit the train stations. The Metro would become the way we traveled everyday. We went to the White House Visitors Center where we saw a display about Presidents Numbers 26 to 42. Nearby was the Department of Commerce where we visited the National Aquarium. It was fun. We saw eels, sharks, turtles, crabs, catfish, snails, frogs and lots of fish. I even got to touch some crabs and a conch. Then we went to the Old Post Office Pavilion. We shopped at the little shops in the building. There was a glass elevator that we took up to the observation deck of the clock tower. The view of the city was beautiful. Also we saw and heard the bells in the bell tower. Our next destination was Union Station where the DC Ducks were located. The Ducks are old World War II amphibious vehicles. We had a fun tour that lasted over ninety minutes. Captain Tony took us on a tour of Washington DC on land and then we went into the Potomac River. We left the water in Virginia and returned to Union Station. Back at our hotel we ate supper and we went swimming on the eighth floor roof top outdoor pool. It was cool but fun! There was a nice view from the roof. In fact we could see the Washington Monument. We played ping pong before the pool closed.
We started our next morning bright and early but it was raining out. We went to the Supreme Court which was very interesting. We stopped at the Library of Congress. We wanted to see the Library for the Blind but the people at the information desk didn't know where it was. Then it was off to the US Capitol. The rotunda was gorgeous. I laid down on the floor and took a photo of the murals on the ceiling. Next we went to the US Botanic Garden. We had lunch there under an umbrella table in the African garden. The green houses were lovely. We walked to the Air and Space Museum which was huge and exciting. We saw lots of interesting displays including the Spirit of St. Louis plane, Wright Brothers plane and John Glenn's space capsule. At the Einstein Planetarium we saw a show called "Stars of the Night" about constellations.
The next day we went to the National Geographic Society. It was fun. We saw many displays. Next we visited the B'Nai B'Rith Museum and looked at interesting exhibits about Jewish holidays and traditions. We visited the US Navy Memorial where we saw a huge granite map which was surrounded by fountains, carved pictures and the Lone Sailor statue. We all enjoyed the National Archives where we saw an interesting display of gifts that presidents have received. We had to wait on a long line in order to see the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Magna Carta. Our last stop on this day was the Museum of Natural History. Here we saw the African Bush elephant. We stood on a long line to see the Hope Diamond, a huge star sapphire of more than 300 carats and a giant emerald. We went swimming on the roof again when we got back to our hotel.
On Wednesday we walked down from our hotel to the Vietnam War Memorial. We also visited the Korean War Memorial. Both these memorials were very impressive. Then we went into the Lincoln Memorial. It was neat. We walked along the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument. We went to the top of the monument. The view was great! From there it was on to the Museum of American History where we visited the First Ladies exhibit. There were signs in Braille for the Men and Women rest rooms and the elevator however the signs were posted on the wall over ten feet high which is impossible to read in Braille!. We filled out a complaint form. When we got back to our hotel my mom and I went swimming and then after that Mom and I went shopping at the Safe Way grocery store under the Watergate Hotel. Grandma, Aunt Luba and Uncle Katsumi came to our hotel room. They drove down from New York City to see us. We all went to eat at The All You Can Eat Buffet in our hotel. After that I took Grandma, Aunt Luba and Uncle Katsumi to Safe Way to shop.
The next day Grandma, Aunt Luba and Uncle Katsumi joined us and we all went to the US Holocaust Museum. The tour started on the fourth floor. We got identification cards when we came in. I got Eugeniusz Rozenblum whose birthday was October 23, 1923. He was born in Lodz, Poland and was Jewish. The museum was very sad. We saw many displays and some films about concentration camps. We saw the display of shoes. We spent all day at the museum. Back at our room we put on our bathing suits and went up to the pool but it was very cool. Only my Mom, Uncle Katsumi and I went in the water. After we had a supper party in our room. We rented the movie "Bird Cage".
The next day was really interesting as we went "state hopping". Again Grandma, Aunt Luba and Uncle Katsumi joined us. We took the Metro train to White Flint in Rockville, Maryland. We went to the White Flint Mall where we had lunch and shopped. Then we took the train to Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. Here we shopped at the underground Plaza Shops. On the way back to our hotel we had to walk in the rain and we got soaked! After supper we began packing our stuff as we our vacation was coming to an end.
Our last day in Washington DC started with packing up. We checked our suitcases with the bell hop. We went to Union Station for lunch and we looked around at all the shops. We went across the street to the National Postal Museum. It was really interesting. We used a computer to generate pre-addressed postcards addressed to ourselves. We walked over to Columbus Circle to see a replica of the Liberty Bell, minus the crack. We returned to our hotel at 2:30 PM and retrieved our suitcases. The Express Shuttle took us to Dulles Airport. We took the Plane Mate Vehicle to our airplane. We were on Flight 235, Sun Country Airlines. The plane was not fully booked so we were able to spread out. We landed back in Minneapolis at 8:05 PM. The flight time was 2 hours 11 minutes. We took the shuttle van to the Select Inn where we checked in to room 294 for the next few days. We spent the next few days relaxing, swimming and shopping.
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