May 10, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
May 10, 2013
The Embassy Tour left us physically exhausted. My pedometer had recorded the amount of steps that normally equates to a 10-mile hike, so the following day we opted for mental and emotional exhaustion rather than physical. We had visited the Unted States Holocaust Memorial Museum several years ago, but had been unable to devote the time needed during that visit and I had always wanted to return when we could spend as long as we wanted. This museum is not for the faint of heart, nor is it something someone should visit looking for a good time. But its significance to history is something of which we should all be aware, understand and as individuals, pledge to do everything possible in our own little corner of the universe to see that nothing like that ever, EVER happens again. A common perception about the Holocaust is that the persecution was handed out only to Jews, but this is NOT true. It was a hatred and prejudice directed at many other groups on political, ideological and behavioral grounds. Here is a link to more about the "why" of the Holocaust in much clearer terms than I can write. I believe that this is a one-of-a-kind museum that will teach you and leave you desparately hoping for an end to prejudice of EVERY form. Some people may not like this next statement, but I also believe that this is a museum everyone should visit at some point in time. I have no patience with refusing to acknowledge that horrors like the Holocaust ever happened or brushing it off by saying it's just too sad. The museum is well-done, in excellent taste and calls you to a demeanor of awe and reverence. (I have experienced nothing else like the atmosphere throughout the museum EXCEPT at Pearl Harbor.) It is quiet and peaceful. You will see people with eyes wide and hand over their mouth. You will see parents leaning down quietly whispering to children. And yes, you will see tears. Since the last time we were at this museum, Bill has personally stood at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Dachau. Yes, there were tears. Please visit this museum someday. It will change you!
The evening after visiting the Holocaust Museum, we had plans to meet my friend Tish and her husband for dinner. Tish and I enjoy biking together, but unfortunately that didn't happen this year as we don't have our bikes along on this trip plus Tish and her family are getting ready to move to a new home and a day off for biking just wasn't in the schedule. So it worked out perfectly and we enjoyed a nice dinner at Quarttro Formaggi, a cute little place just around the corner from our hotel. When you only see a friend once a year or so, there's lots to catch up on and conversation certainly flows freely. Tish was the first friend that I met in person as a result of writing this blog and her friendship is quite special to me! We are hoping to resume our bike trips soon with a ride along the eastern shore area of Maryland.
Our last full day in Washington, we chose to visit The Newseum. By DC standards, this is a relatively new museum and unlike most places there, this one charges admission. A rather hefty $21.95 although tickets purchased online receive a 10% discount and tickets are good for two consecutive days. I have no idea how to describe the Newseum except to say that it is 250,000 square feet of all things dedicated to journalism and the news. It features 15 theatres and hundreds of exhibits. There are permanent exhibits and temporary ones. It is seven floors of galleries in a architecturally unique structure. It was WONDERFUL! Some of our favorites included three temporary exhibits commemorating the 50th anniversary of JFK's assasination (Can you BELIEVE its's been 50 years???), the 9/11 movie showing much footage taken by journalists who were running TOWARD the towers rather than away from them, G-Men and Journalists (we almost didn't go in this one and it turned out to be a favorite for both of us), the front page wall showing that day's front page of each state's newspaper, Tim Russert's office (I was a big Russert fan and Bill actually met him in a restroom on the Island of Nantucket), and a huge room where you could find and read a newspaper from any day you chose. We were there when the Newseum opened at 10 and we left when they closed at 5. We left for about an hour to grab lunch and give ourselves a break, but otherwise spent the day there. And no, we didn't see it all. Worth the money?? You bet!
I reluctantly put Bill on a plane heading home to finish out the school year and attend graduation. I left Washington very early the following morning on a trip which would take me around DC, through Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City before arriving at Niantic, CT. This type of fast paced driving through huge metro areas is not the kind of road-tripping I look forward to especially when driving AND navigating, but this turned out o.k. I planned my routes in advance, did NOT rely on GPS solely and even sought advice from a AAA office in the DC area. I was as prepared as I could be even down to having my toll booth money counted out in advance. I left my hotel at 5:55 a.m. hoping to avoid rush hour traffic in both DC and Baltimore and praying the weather gods would be with me and hold off on the heavy rain that was predicted all day. All of that preparation paid off because the trip was easy. I pulled into the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina several hours later $30 poorer (yes, tolls were that much) and thrilled because other than a brief downpour near Philadelphia, I had encountered no rain. This, I learned later, despite the fact that Brooklyn, NY was receiving major flooding following torrential downpours that morning.
With that behind me, I was looking forward to three days of "me" time in the Gull Island Room at Inn at Harbor Hill Marina. I was also looking forward to meeting a friend the following morning. Come back in a day or so to hear who that friend was and all about my time in Connecticut! It was great!
FYI - No pictures were allowed in the Holocaust Museum and only in certain places could pictures be taken in the Newseum. So no pictures today. Sorry!
If you've been to either of these two museums, what were your impression?