Saturday, August 7, 2010

Weekend Trip to D.C. and Baltimore

The hubby and I took a weekend trip to Maryland to visit family. The main reason for our visit was to celebrate our niece's 17th birthday, but we also managed to squeeze in some sightseeing. D.C. was our first stop, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day. We only had a few hours there, but we packed in as much as we could. We went to a couple of the Smithsonian museums, which is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I love museums of any kind. There's so much knowledge and information, and the possibilities of learning new things are almost endless. It sounds so cheesy, but I could totally lose myself in a museum. When I was little I read a book about two kids who run away from home and go live in a museum. For an entire week they sleep and play in the museum. During the day they gaze at paintings and study sculptures and statues. At night they take baths in the fountain and sleep in antique beds. During their stay at the museum, they help solve a mystery involving a statue argued to have been carved by Michelangelo. It's a completely fictitious book, but I loved it. I wanted to live in a museum. I still think it would great. A little freaky, but great. Anyway, what I saw of the Smithsonian was awesome, and I would love to go back to see more. We also visited the Holocaust museum. It was a very sobering experience. As we were walking through, I was struck by the silence. There were probably close to 100 people at one exhibit, but you heard nothing. It was disconcerting, maybe even a little haunting how quiet it was. I think it was horror and respect, horror for the evil displayed and respect for the ones who died and those who survived. I've read countless books about the Holocaust, so I sort of knew what to expect. But the progression of the exhibits and seeing those artifacts, some of which belonged to the authors of a few of the books I've read, made it so immense and so tangible. The terror of that time was so real (obviously not as terrifying as it was for anyone who lived it, not even close), and I could almost feel the hopelessness that those people were bound to have faced. After we got back from the D.C., I read that the designer of the Museum wanted the design itself, the building and the exhibits, to evoke strong emotion. He wanted visitors to feel as though they are being closed in upon, like they are being watched, and as if they are alone. I truly felt all those things. One of the last exhibits is the shoe room where there are hundreds and hundreds of pairs of shoes that were confiscated from people entering various concentration camps. The quote on the wall is chilling. "We are the shoes. We are the last witnesses. We are the shoes of grandchildren and grandfathers. From Prague, Paris, and Amsterdam, and because we are only made of fabric and leather and not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the Hellfire" (Moses Schulstein, Yiddish Poet). We also walked. A lot. I don't think you're allowed to be a passenger of anything resembling modern transportation in D.C.. You may see tons of vehicles there, but I'm pretty sure you can't actually get in one of them. It's a rule. Maybe. Maybe? Okay, I made that up. But we did walk everywhere. Everywhere. All day long. And my feet hurt. Very much. But not only did we get in a lot of exercise, we also saw a lot of things while walking that we never would have seen had we ridden a bus. We had great views of a lot of the national monuments, got some great pictures, and carried on a lot of good conversation, all of which walking facilitated. I'm glad we walked. Really, I am! I loved D.C., and I hope that we make it back for another visit very soon.
We took at quick trip to Baltimore, too. We didn't get to do a whole lot, but we did see a lot of the city. And now I know that I want to go back and experience more of Baltimore. It's a beautiful city, especially by the water. The weather was fabulous that day (less than 80 degrees and breezy after it rained for 5 minutes), which I think added to the city's attractiveness. It was a great weekend full of sightseeing, lots of walking, TWO trips to Target, and celebrating a sweet, sweet girl's birthday (am allowed to still refer to her as a "girl" now that she's 17?)!

1 comment:

  1. you should let us know the next time you visit...we could meet you there for the weekend. i love both cities, and they're only a few hours away from us. :-)