Putting Things into Perspective

Trip Start May 01, 2013
Trip End May 06, 2013

Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Friday, May 3, 2013

It would be great if there was a metro training video for tourists. In the absence of that we tried to figure out how to use the ticketing machine, gave up and sought out the information booth.   The staff person was friendly and she smiled as she recited the sequence of buttons to push to get our ticket if we were paying cash and a different sequence if we were paying with credit card.   I would have still been lost.  But we gave the ticket machine a second try and  thank goodness Harvey has a good memory!  After giving the machine our credit card and paying $40 for two tickets, we walked back to the woman in the information booth and asked her what we just purchased!  She then explained that we had pre-paid two tickets of $20 each –and that each time we used them the travel amount would be deducted from our balance.  We listened carefully when she explained that we needed to use the tickets to enter and exit.    

With our trusty metro map (after yesterday's visit to the Geography and Map Reading Room at the Library of Congress, I’m convinced more than ever how integral maps are to our daily living!), we made our way to the platform and before we knew it we arrived at our destination, just a few blocks from the Natural History Museum.  We’re talking 10 minutes versus the 2 hours of yesterday.  I wouldn’t have traded yesterday for the metro, but today with our sore feet it’s much appreciated.  Whew.  We made it to the museum.

Our first stop in a museum is always the information desk.  We got our MAP, of course. Harvey asked for the French and Mandarin brochures so he can practice reading in these languages that he’s been studying.  We are just in time for a tour of the Human History and the docent did a great job in a period of 55 minutes of giving us an overview of the entire 6.7 million years of the human race.  It was definitely the cliff notes version, and getting that overview makes our individual lifetimes seem like a sand in time – I know it sounds cliché, but every now and again, it’s healthy to get a reminder that whatever we’re concerned about is not all that important in the scheme of things.

We couldn’t be in the Museum of Natural History without taking a look at the Hope diamond that was well, BIG!  The plaque beside it said "The Hope diamond has existed for more than a billion years.  Since it formed deep within the earth, the Atlantic Ocean has opened, closed and opened again….the dinosaurs have come and gone…humans evolved and spread across the face of the Earth."  How is this to put another perspective on time?  We normally think of today, tomorrow, next week, next year – but today we’re thinking in terms of millions and a billion years!

We decide to change the pace, and go for lunch at the National Gallery of Art and join a tour on  Renaissance Italian art.    The highlight was a portrait done by Leonardo da Vinci in which there was both a front and back of the painting that we could see (take a look at the photos).   In the Louvre in Paris, this famous painting would have a crowd around it, here there were maybe a dozen of us in the room.  It was like an intimate private showing!

Harvey loves fine furniture, so we made our way through a fine American antique furniture collection on display.  Each piece was a functional piece of art and a pleasure to see. 

Before we knew it the museum was closing – wow! –  as we made our way back to the metro, we stopped off for some sorbet – indulging in a chocolate with chips and raspberry – so yummy!  And as we exited the metro at our Dupont Circle station, we listened to street  five musicians and just hung out.  It was really pleasant – and where were we going?  Why not hang out?

We got back at the Embassy Circle Guesthouse in time for happy hour and meeting other guests.  Then a relaxing Italian dinner and here I am writing these highlights before I drop off to sleep.  It’s only 9:30 PM, but we're pooped!

And so it has been another cool day in Washington DC!

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