day 2 in D.C. – museums!

Rise and shine Monday!
I wanted to write my D.C. post last Friday but unfortunately my computer refused to work with me on the photos so here comes a post early on Monday morning to provide your mind a mini getaway 😉

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Second day in D.C. I opted for a light tshirt, light cardigan, and flowy floral silk pants to help me beat the heat since Captain and I planned to hit some of the other museums. We were told there are more than 60 museums (public & private ones) in D.C. so when we are only traveling for a short few days, we can only pick and choose some of the famous ones. Captain has been to many of the bigger museums, while I have been to none 😛 (Hey, it’s my first time in D.C.!)

1. International Spy Museum
We started the day going to the International Spy Museum that was included in the D.C. explorer’s pass we purchased via the internet. I’ve heard good things about this museum and I mean, who would not be interested to learn more about the spy activities back in the days right?
It was a beautiful day out, when we uber to the museum, we also saw a Masonic temple across from the street. I am tempted to say it’s the headquarter but I am not exactly sure.
There were a ton of neat stuffs to see at the International Spy Museum. Some of the sections I really enjoyed were the history of being a spy, female spy, spy cameras, and how people try to escape during WWII/US-Soviet time.
Additionally, I am assuming 007 has some sort of association to the museum because there is an exhibition specially dedicated to 007!

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My family and I used to watch a lot of 007 movies together so I was very excited to see the costumes used throughout the 007 movies. This mask was used in the last Pierce Brosnan “Die Another Day” movie.
Although I would love to see more historical spy stories (like actual people and what happened to them, stories, etc.) it was a very fun museum to go to. The only down side was perhaps it was July 4th weekend there were a lot of kids running around and screaming and stuff… That said, I still think it is a must go because there’s so much to see! It was funny I ended up watching a Japanese movie called ‘Joker Game’ that’s about spy activities during WWII and they sure used a lot of the equipment that were on display or featured at the International Spy Museum!
If you are planning to visit, I’d suggest make this the first spot to go in the morning. We didn’t have to wait in line when we arrive, but by the time we finished, the line getting into the museum was really long. Perhaps it’s more bearable in the winter, but certainly no fun to wait in line under the sun (and zero shade) in D.C.!

2. Let’s Shake Shack again 🙂

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Before we went into the International Spy Museum, I caught the Shake Shack sign when the uber parked. Overly excited (still thinking the first time I had it in Chicago) I sort of screamed to Captain we need to have this as lunch. It is PERFECT ❤
So here we are, after learning all about the spy activities, we checked into Shake Shack again ordering exactly the same things we had last time in Chicago. Hard to believe it was May and now is July!
I was very thankful and happy we were able to find another Shake Shack on this trip and get to enjoy it the perfect time, perfect outdoor seat, and perfect food with the perfect travel buddy!

3. National Archives

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The National Archives was located conveniently within 10 minute walk from our lunch spot. The original perfect plan was we will go see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, etc. and head to the other side to see the rest of the Smithsonian museums. Unfortunately, (not sure why) the line for National Archives was SO LONG and not moving the time we were waiting under the sun with no shade. After waiting for awhile and seeing the line was barely moving, Captain proposed we’ll come back later in the day before it closes and go to other museums first at least for AC to cool off. (the darn heat!)

We did manage to return right before it closes and got to see everything! To be completely honest I thought the museum part was only so-so. You really do not need to spend too much time here as long as you make sure to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The rest… I think the American History museum and all the other museums in D.C. might offer more 😉 But that’s just my two cents. One thing I do wonder is we can barely read a lot of the writings in 2017… I wonder how they will be able to preserve the remain of the documents in another 10 years when it is so difficult to read now. The main hall that displays the documents looked like a classic Greek temple so that was very neat.

4. Air & Space Museum

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The museum we went to ‘cool’ ourselves after first round baking under the long lines at National Archives was the Air & Space museum. I am sure most guys are super stoke to be here, but I was more like – cool, let’s get some ice beverages and AC to rest a little 😛 (oops!). One thing I wish someone could tell me is why McDonald’s get to dominate this museum? All Captain and I wanted was some ice cold beverages, ice coffee, maybe Starbucks? Just something… but all they have is this mega store of McDonald’s. We did get what we want (although Captain disapproved the ice coffee… just super sweet and sugary even I cannot taste the coffee :P), but we were hoping for some more options for hot tourists!

We saw a ton of famous aircrafts and space stuff. The Wright brother’s aircraft was one of the must see for sure, and I like how living in North Carolina I can sort of associated to Wright brothers since they did their fly here! Although I have never been to the actual location here in North Carolina but living here still sort of counts 🙂

Being a girl, I definitely enjoyed seeing the sort of the transformation of the flight attendant’s outfit and how people view travel using aircrafts throughout the years. It’s funny to see back in the days travel was a pure leisure – very comfy seats, excellent food choice, etc. while nowadays unless you have the money to fly business, it is not very pleasant. Additionally, I also found it quite ironic they used to stress ‘service’ for Airline services while nowadays I see none… I wonder what went wrong!

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Out of all the museums we’ve been up to this point, I think the Air & Space museum has the most impressive souvenir/gift shop. They offer a lot of cool stuffs only available at this location. Although I was mot able to buy the amazing kitty astronaut plush, I did get some really cool ‘failure is not an option’ gifts for myself and my brother.

5. National Art Gallery

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The National Art Gallery was our next stop located conveniently across from the Air & Space museum separated by a park. The walk was not long, but just hot. Exhausted and tired, Captain and I decided to go straight to the resting area at the Art Gallery to rest a little.
I must say the Art Gallery offers an amazing and very comfortable space for people to rest a little – comfortable cold AC, very nice sofa, rocking chair, plants, and free wifi! While Captain decided to rest a little, I wanted to explore a bit of the Gallery just to say I’ve been here. It did not surprise me as much like the Art Institute in Chicago, but I was very happy to see a painting of DaVinci, some famous Rembrandt that I actually saw when I was a kid touring in Taipei!, and this famous painting of Napoleon I’ve seen in history books growing up.

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I would love to spend more time at the Art Gallery but unfortunately when there were so much to see in D.C. we could only quickly browse through everything. I feel there might be more paintings I did not get to see but I was glad my short time at the National Gallery I was able to identify a few of the great ones! I highly recommend this place – it’s very nice and quiet and offers you a peace of mind and just calms you down compared to all the busy museums surrounding the area.

6. Smithsonian Castle

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I am not exactly sure what is in the Smithsonian castle, and by the time we got there they’ve already closed for the day, I still wanted to snap a photo of this impressive building. It does look like a castle that I imagine to be found at the highlands in Scotland 🙂 Apparently they do history & art & crafts expo around this time of the year in the summer! Be sure to check this place out if you have extra time in D.C.

There is also a very very nice outdoor café runs by the National Gallery. Captain and I both agree it would be a lovely location to sip some tea, people watch, and enjoy the architectures of D.C. The café is located by the art park that the staffs would lock the gate around 5:30 or 6pm. The building itself is very pretty like a green house with flowers, and we also caught this spider – very similar to a big one often viewed as landmark of Roppongi Hills in Tokyo! I couldn’t find who is the artist, but I can’t help but wonder if they are the same just different in size!

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7. The Capitol

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Originally after seeing a photo of the Congress Library I really wanted to go visit with Captain. The fastest way to get to the Congress Library before it closes is through the Capitol. Unaware of what’s going on at the front, we decided to take this route only to find out there were pre-7/4 event going on at the Capitol and it would make it impossible to get to Congress Library in time to see anything. It’s my first time seeing the Capitol so close in front of my eyes so I had to take a photo of it – even though I know we will be returning the next day for the concert and fireworks.

One thing I’d like to point out during my short time at D.C. is that I really wish the website would offer better information regarding the facilities open / close time. Some were confusing, while others when we attempt to call no one bothered to pick up the phone -when it’s hot outside and we’ve been tiring walking everywhere, it becomes risky for us tourists to wonder if we should really walk all the way to the destination only to find out it’s closed for the day or whatever already… Sure, we could uber there and save ourselves a bit of trouble, but as you all know, it gets pricey when you want to uber everywhere…

8. Ending the day with Lemon Indian Cuisine!

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As I have said in my last post, we were very lucky to stay at the Embassy Row where we can easily find authentic cuisine from all over the world. Captain and I caught this Indian restaurant called ‘Lemon’ located by Marriott hotel the day before when we had Thai food. Both of us haven’t had good Indian food for a long time and starved at that point, we washed up a bit and headed for late dinner 🙂 (It was late, but the sun was still out at 8:30pm!)

The garlic naan and chicken masala dishes were all very delicious. It was a very pleasant meal to conclude our day 2 of adventure. Time sure flies when you are having fun. It was hard for me to believe we only arrived the day before and tomorrow will be our last full day together in D.C.

Enjoy everything while you can!!
k.

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