Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sherri and Rheid's Most Excellent Washington DC Adventure Day 10

Day 10: June 13, Sunday

The Energizer bunny has nothing on us--ten days and we're still going…just not as fast. If someone could find the off button for the heat, that would help the most. We started off late this morning and headed for the National Gallery of Art. When exiting the metro, I saw some rainbow-colored blowy things dancing in the street and a large police presence. What could it be I wondered? It was clear soon enough--Pride in DC 2010. We saw some pretty flamboyant people. Kinda awkward. We made it through the crowds to our building just as a light rain started.

You've heard me say it before but I just have to say the National Gallery of Art was amazing! I had no idea we would be seeing so many famous pieces of art. At times I felt like I was in the Masterpiece game (if you didn't grow up with that game, you were very culturally deprived.) The first gallery we chose was the Chester Dale Collection. He was an extremely successful business man who made his money on the stock market. As a way to divest, he started to purchase works of art. He and his wife became extremely well known in the art world and even had to purchase larger homes to display their vast collection--the largest in the US. At his death, he bequeathed all his paintings to the National Gallery. Walking into the gallery, the first painting I saw was Renoir's A Girl With a Watering Can. In the matter of a few rooms I had seen paintings from not only Renoir but also Cezanne, Monet, Degas, Cassatt, Manet, Picasso, and Rivera. I felt like I was in the Louvre! In other galleries I was excited to see Rembrandt's, Whistler's, more Picasso's and lots of others. Paintings clear back from the 15th century looked as vibrant and beautiful as if they had been created last week. Aside from a run-in with a security backpack Nazi who was just sure I'd damage some priceless work of art if I didn't wear it over just one shoulder (none of the 10-15 previous guards said a word--gurrr), the experience at the gallery was awesome.

Now we were off to the Washington National Cathedral--the 6th largest cathedral in the world. Talk about an adventure in touristing. Sunday is not the best day to try and find more out-of-the-way places. If you could figure out the bus you wanted going in the right direction you needed (whichever that way was) that would be great. We were not that lucky even though we tried our hardest to do it the thrifty way. I hailed a cab. Got to the cathedral to find out that a high school graduation had just concluded inside so now they were allowing people to tour. Lucky. We had only been in the vast beautiful building for about 5-8 minutes though when we were told the building was closing. Noooo! My Fodor tour book said it was open until 6:30--not. We saw just enough to want to see more…alas, we will have to do a virtual tour on the internet to finish seeing it--we will not be traveling back. What I saw was incredible however.

After trying to do the reverse bus thing to get home with as much success as our previous attempt, I did what any good tourist would do. I hailed a cab again. He took us in his nicotine-infested cab back to the metro station. Yea! We are good at the metro! Found a very tasty Mexican restaurant, Gualco's, near the station which did double duty as both our lunch and dinner destination. We were starved.

Now we are back at the Hyatt soaking in the air-conditioning and trying to decide what to do on our last official adventuring day tomorrow (aka - our 25th wedding anniversary!)

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