We walked straight down to the Washington Monument for more photos. The walk from one to the other is about one mile, so be prepared for that and wear comfortable shoes and plenty of sunblock (there’s not a lot of shade along this particular walk).
Next, we headed to the Lincoln Memorial. Along the way, we passed the somewhat new World War II memorial and the reflecting pool. It was a very warm day, but there are lots of vendors selling cold water and ice cream. We were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day for our tour.
After visiting the Lincoln Memorial, we walked the short distance over to the Vietnam War Memorial. I have been to see all of the sites before, but the wall dedicated to those who lost their lives in Vietnam is always incredibly touching. While we were there, we met a man who was a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest honor our government has to give. It was beautiful to watch the many people visiting the wall approach the man, ask to shake his hand, and thank him for his service to our nation. After such a lovely moment, we decided to take a break and head up for lunch to reflect on the things we’d seen that day.
We walked up about three blocks to see several restaurants and cafes. We had a nice, slow lunch and enjoyed the air conditioning for a while before walking back down to the Smithsonian.
Along the way we came across the Sculpture Garden and decide to take a little detour through it. It’s so wonderful that there are so many places in one area that you can stop and see for free! This giant spider sculpture was pretty cool…even though I can’t stand spiders!
We continued on to the National Museum of Natural History. This was the Smithsonian museum that the hubster was most excited about. I have to admit, I wasn’t actually very interested in this museum…at first. We wandered through all of the different sections of animals, including the dinosaurs and underwater creatures. It was all very cool looking, but just a little boring, in my opinion. But then…
…we went through the geology and gemstone section! It was really cool!! One of my favorite things was this huge lodestone, which was naturally magnetic! These paper clips entertained me for several minutes…what can I say? I’m easily entertained.
We all had lots of fun playing around in this section, though!
The absolute best part, though, was the gorgeous jewels! This is the beautiful Hope Diamond. The diamond is a large, deep blue, 45.52 carat stone. It’s is normally set in a gorgeous necklace, but when we visited, it was set alone for a special display. t was very lovely, but there was much, much more to see.
Like this giant, uncut emerald, and…
…this stunning marquise diamond ring (this was huge…much bigger than it looks).
This was my favorite, though. My picture, while crisp and clear, does nothing to capture the sheer beauty and sparkle of this tiara. It is absolutely gorgeous. I want it.
Then there was this enormous amethyst, which happens to be my birthstone! That’s why it is now my ring…in my imagination!
When we finished here, we really got down to business! We headed over the the Smithsonian National History Museum. This part of the Smithsonian is dedicated to American history, including pop culture.
One of the most surprising things we saw was The Star-Spangled Banner. This is the actual American flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write what is now our national anthem. Above is an image of the entrance to the exhibit. The gorgeous, somewhat abstract sculpture represents the flag within. If you haven’t been to see this flag, you have to go! The sheer size of the original flag inside is staggering! Unfortunately, they don’t allow flash photography inside, in order to protect the very fragile flag, but take my word, the flag is enormous!
Finally, we headed over to see the thing I was most excited about…
…the ruby slippers! This particular pair of slippers were worn by Judy Garland to film the dance scenes for the movie The Wizard of Oz back in 1939. I have been a huge Judy Garland fan my whole life. I was in awe of being so near something that she made iconic even as the slippers did the same for her!
I have to say that even though they are a little shabby and beat up from all of the wear of dancing scene after scene in them, they are so beautiful! Being able to see them in person like this allowed me to see the tiny details that make them what they are! It also made me want a real pair of my own more than ever!
This was truly a little dream come true for me, and I am very grateful to my husband for being so generous as to plan this whole trip just so I could see them! I’m a seriously lucky lady! Over the next few posts, I’m going to be revealing a deeper level of my geekiness to you all. Allow me to start here by telling you that I was breathless and teary-eyed as I gazed at these shoes. I’m sure most people don’t quite get the appeal, but this was a wonderful moment for me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
I hope you enjoyed seeing some photos and hearing the little details from our trip. I wish I could have provided a fun food post for you, but I’ll be back at baking soon! Plus, this is just the beginning…because two days after this, we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! And boy-oh-boy do I have some exciting stuff to share with you! So stay tuned; lots of important tips about what to do/see while there, and what to skip, plus tons of photos of the food and fun!!
I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer, so far, and I’ll see you again in a couple of days!