Since we had done so much driving around DC on Thursday, we felt like we had a good handle on the city for our day on Friday. After an incredibly huge breakfast at a delicious French cafe in Alexandria, we made our way back towards Lafyette Square to purchase some Obama memorbilia and to go to the White House Visitor's Center.
Since you can't visit the White House without setting it up with an embassador or Senator, the Visitor Center is the next best thing. It is located only a few blocks away from the White House, and provides you with fascinating information about one of the most famous addresses in the world, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Being in my Christmas renewal spirit, I was excited to see a copy of the White House Christmas tree. I was also excited to purchase a White House Christmas ornament. The last one issued under the Bush administration.
Following the visit to the center, we headed to the Washington Memorial. Unfortunately, we did not realize that to go up the memorial, you need to arrive early in the morning to get your tickets. But, standing near the immense structure is quite impacting, and well-worth seeing.
We then walked to the National World War II memorial, which opened in 2004. It lies between the Washington and Lincoln memorials. The WWII memorial is beautiful. It is circular and lies in a slight valley. The walls into the memorial are lined with reliefs depticting various events in the war.
I found the story on the Pacific side particularly moving, as it starts in an Amercan home.
The entire memorial is divided into an Atlantic side and a Pacific side, and does an amazing job of honoring the sacrifices of many Americans during World War II.
From the WWII memorial, we made our way along the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial. Seeing it for the second time was just as awe-inspiring as the first time I stood on the steps as a thirteen-year-old. The structure is imposing and gracious, and the statue of Lincoln contained inside is of colossal proportion. Such a large statue gives you the sense of the enormity of Lincoln's impact on our country. It was especially exciting to be there during President Lincoln's bicentennial anniversary.
From the Lincoln Memorial we went on the Vietnam Memorial. Again, returning as an adult, leaves a different impression than on a budding teenager. By making the names the memorial itself, one is left to reflect upon the thousands of people who died or went missing in Vietnam. This memorial does not make any political statements, which is quite important for this war, it focuses only on the people and sacrifices made for the Vietnam War.
Because we walked lots, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up for the exciting night ahead.
First off, we met up with my old-friend Kelly, who I was very close friends with in Ireland. Despite the wonders of email, nothing replaces the sheer joy of spending some time with an old friend. Although our time together was quite short, I know I'll be seeing Kelly again soon.
After drinks with Kelly, Jörn, Marcel, and I headed back to Georgetown to the Old Europe restaurant. Although I was not so excited about having German food during my three-weeks away from Germany, I realized how happy it made Jörn and Marcel to drink a great Weizen and to experience the taste of home in America. The restaurant was really packed. It did make me feel like we were back in my second home. The restaurant's owner even came out to talk with people. I had a Jäger Schnitzel (Hunter Schnitzel,) Marcel enjoyed a Wiener Schnitzel, and Jörn had a Pepper Steak. I was excited to have Spätzle, while the boys were happy to have a designated driver in order to enjoy their beer.