My brother was just confirmed in the Catholic church so he was able to finally attend the annual trip the the National Shrine in Washington D.C.! When discussing who would go, it was decided that we would all go for the weekend!
We left Saturday morning and hit some traffic making us late for the noon mass, but we did make it time for lunch and a tour of the building. This place is absolutely beautiful and even if you aren’t Catholic or religious, if you have any appreciation for art or architecture, you would love to see this place. The inside of the building is riddled with such phenomenal artwork and it’s all mosaic. That was probably the most exciting part-just thinking about how much time went into each piece, and then you see how large the pieces really are, and it is just mind blowing. The architecture, the art, the peacefulness of the whole place is just awe inspiring and so wonderful to be in.
I’ve been here once before but didn’t quite appreciate it as much as I did seeing it a second time around. I think from a photography & travel stand point, it was a lot more exciting to see that it was when I was 15, and on my own confirmation trip because I had to be there, you know?
Our church group let after the tour for self-guided tours around the building where you can just walk around on your own and look, pray, take pictures or whatever else you can find to do.
My family and I went on to the Crime Museum. We’d read a lot about this place and it definitely lived up to our expectations! It was one of the most fun museums we’d ever visited. It gave a really neat insight into the lives and crimes of famous criminals, famous crimes, and how the police force and crime labs work their cases. It was so hands on and interactive! There were different crime scenes set up and little videos with quizzes to test your observation skills. There was an interactive video where you had to shoot someone that broke into a home. Driving simulators, a fake jail cell with a hole in wall so you could “escape prison”, an infrared camera (that we had too much fun playing with) and real letters, clothing, artwork, blood stained items, and other “murderabelia” from famous criminals. It was like every episode I’ve seen of Criminal Minds except real. (and to be exact, that would be 7 and half seasons worth of episodes. I’m still catching up)
That evening we grabbed dinner from various food trucks and sat under a tree and ate together. It was nice to get out of a restaurant and eat in a not-so-conventional way. And what other way to eat in the middle of the city?! You can’t find food trucks and live music out in the-middle-of-nowhere, NC!!
The next day, we got breakfast and headed back to the city. Via the blue-line, of course. Our destination was the mall, the Vietnam Memorial, and the other monuments and museums. Last time we were out here, the Washington Monument was closed off for reconstruction so we didn’t get to get too close to it. Luckily, this time it was open and absolutely beautiful! Last time I got to sit with it, I was maybe 10 years old? It’s pretty cool to revisit places you’ve been to 10+ years later and see how it’s changed.
We ended up splitting up because half the family wanted to see the Holocaust Museum, and Dad & I wanted to walk the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. (My Personal fave) There were so many things open that day that I have never seen before, so that was really exciting for me. The Orchid gallery was open, and orchids aren’t tulips (another fave) but they’re still pretty and I’m still obsessed because I love flowers. So that was a good time, and there were SO many different breeds of orchids; I really had no idea there were so many different kinds.. I was photo-crazed and spent way too much time staring at them.
My sister and I spent the rest of the time practically napping in the grass outside the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum while the rest of our crew was inside. A pretty skilled drummer showed up and was drumming along to his jams which was really cool. It was even cooler to watch everyone dance and jump around with their kids and other people. The whole surrounding area was so full of life and and just.. go, go, go. The weather was beautiful and when our other half came out of the museum we made our way home. We weren’t there long but it was a nice weekend with the family, and I’ll be feeling my feet for the next 2.
& that’s what I get for wearing cute sandals to Washington D.C.