Thursday evening after getting settled in, we decided to spend some time walking around DC at night. The monuments are all lit up, offering a different view of them than even our DC residents of the group had ever experienced. It was an interesting and rather peaceful introduction to the city, although not as quiet as I would have expected. It turns out that a lot of high school tour groups had the same thought, and the Lincoln Memorial was actually busier at night than during the day!
Still it was a fun way to be able to do something touristy while also catching up with each other. The posted signs at the Capital building assured us it was only a 40 minute walk to the Lincoln Memorial, which seemed doable. Unfortunately not only was the sign not being entirely truthful, but none of us had thought ahead enough to change into comfortable walking shoes. Our original hour and a half walk turned into three hours that left us blistered and limping at the end. Oops!
Friday morning we were up bright and early, and split into two groups. One to the zoo, and one to be proper tourists in DC by riding a trolley tour around the city. The tour took us to all the same monuments we'd seen the night before, but now we were able to see the city around them, and learn a few interesting facts while we were at it.
In addition to where we'd walked the night before, our tour also took us to the Arlington National Cemetery, by the Iwo Jima memorial, and by the White House! It was odd to think that all of the important people that you read about, hear about, watch on TV - they were all in the same city that we were. Sometimes just feet away. We even ran into Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's motorcade multiple times as we were walking through the city.
As we walked by the White House and spent some time taking pictures and looking at it (including the snipers with guns on the roof), it was interesting to realize that we weren't looking at just another monument, but the very place where the leader of our country lives and makes important decisions. The same place where past presidents have lived. It was very cool.
It was an interesting time to be in the city for another reason, as well. If you look closely, you'll notice the flag on the top of the White House was at half mast. Nancy Regan, former first lady, had passed away just days before we landed in the city (at the airport named after he husband, coincidentally).
We also spent part of the day at the running expo, picking up our bibs and getting ready for our race on Saturday. After spending the day touring the city, I couldn't wait to run through it the next morning!
Have you ever been to DC?
What was your favorite part?