Despite traveling to remote area of the world there are a number of places much closer to home people are surprised I’ve never visited—Washington D.C. is one of them.
Most of my readers know how much I love museums. I’m happy to wander around all day looking at exhibits and looking at people looking at exhibits, sometimes drawing in my sketchbook. Washington D.C. is a city of museums and it was the first place I decided to visit on my All You Can Jet pass.
Another perk of of visiting D.C. was catching up with friends. David, who couchsurfed with me only a few weeks ago, happened to be cat-sitting in Arlington, Virginia while I was in town and was nice enough to pick me up from the metro when I arrived. With a borrowed car we set off to see the FDR and Lincoln Memorials by moonlight, setting the pace for what turned out to be a busy, whirlwind visit.
The Bureau of Printing and Engraving was my first daylight stop, recommended by David. Seeing fresh twenty dollar bills coming off the presses was interesting for me, as a designer who routinely oversees press checks as part of her job. The most fascinating part of the process was not the inline cutting or organization but the fact the presses were much smaller than the presses I often print commercial projects on.
I managed to quickly visit the Sackler and Freer Galleries (Asian art) and the Museum of the American Indian before meeting David for our scheduled tour of the Capitol building. Although I thought that this trip was going to be all about art the non-art visits were surprisingly interesting. Over then next few days I managed to see the Constitution, the Star Spangled Banner, Lincoln’s death bed, George Washington’s uniform, enormous space vessels and countless halls of amazing art—all for free. In fact, the only attraction I paid to enter was the Textile Museum, which was finishing up an excellent exhibition of textiles designed by mid-century British women.
My good friend Mike, who moved to D.C. while I was on my last RTW trip took an afternoon off to show me around and capture a cartwheel picture in front of the White House. We walked across town, stopping at a modern art museum before walking past the capitol building on the way to dinner with his family. It seems so odd to live in a place where its routine to walk past such historic monuments every day.
The last part of my trip was spent staying with one of my many internet-made friends. She was busy preparing for international travel herself, but we managed time to go to Maryland and meet up with her friends to watch our favorite TV show’s premiere episode.
I originally planned to visit Baltimore for a day to see even more friends and family but the museums were so great in D.C. I opted to stay another day. I love stringing all of these one-way flights together and making changes as I go, much like I do when traveling on long trips.