Spider, Louise Bourgeois

Washington DC Trip

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My relationship with Washington, DC is much different than my relationship with New York City. As I wrote in a previous post, I have been to NYC only a few times and each of those visits was short. Only my most recent trip even involved an overnight stay.

The Past Trips to Washington

I have been to Washington probably 8 or 9 times. Granted, most of those have been for work conferences, but, even then, I made most of a city that I learned to love early on.

My first visit was nearly two decades ago on a combined trip to Washington DC and the Shenandoah Valley. I was able to dig up and scan a few photos from that trip. Of course, these were taken in the pre-digital photography days, and my photos from DC are double exposed with some pictures from a family event. Until I got my Canon EOS Rebel about 5 years ago, I never had a good camera. I don’t remember what camera I had for that trip, but the pictures are not very good. Yes, some of that had to do with the photographer but a lot had to do with a series of cheap camera.

One of the conferences I routinely attended was in DC near Dupont Circle. Later, it moved to Crystal City, VA. Luckily, the hotel the conference was at was near a Metro Station, and getting into DC was easy.

After I moved to Las Vegas, I went to that conference one last time in 2008. I flew into Philadelphia to see my family. My brother and I drove down a day early and did some sightseeing. I have a Flickr set from that trip.

Although I haven’t been back to DC for that conference, I did go back again in 2010 for a different conference. That was the last time I had been there until last month. Holly had a conference, and I tagged along.

The Recent Trip to Washington

Luckily, Holly was available for all our meals together, and I kept myself occupied while she was in her sessions.

The visit was short. We were there only from Sunday afternoon until Wednesday.

As I also mentioned in a previous post, I recently purchased a used film camera, a Canon EOS Rebel 2000. I was excited to bring it with me to Washington. I brought both that film camera and my digital camera. Since I had two full days, I had planned on bringing one camera out with me on Monday and the other out on Tuesday. However, it rained hard most of the day Monday, so I left my cameras at home. Whatever pictures I took that day were just with my phone.

We got in late afternoon on Sunday and went to Momofuku CCDC for dinner. As David Chang fans, we were excited to go to one of his restaurants together. It did not disappoint. We shared a few dishes including Spicy Cucumbers, Shitakes Buns, and Spicy Hand-Cut Noodles.

On Monday, we tried Farmers & Distillers for breakfast and really enjoyed it. Since it was a rainy, gray day (and I was on vacation), I was in no rush to do anything. I went next door to La Colombe for more coffee and some downtime. La Colombe is originally a Philadelphia coffee shop so it felt both loyal and a little lame to go to a place that is also four blocks from where I live.

I had a short list of museums I was interested in, and I decided to go to the National Museum of Women in the Arts since it was the closest museum to our hotel. I was glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit. The museum is in an old Masonic temple so the space itself is impressive. The rotating exhibit that was on while I was there was Revival which featured intense and challenging depictions of bodies. The standing collection, of course, focuses on women artists but one floor presents works from active, contemporary artists.

We were impressed enough with Momofuku that I met Holly there for lunch after my museum experience. The rain eased up a bit after lunch, so I started heading to the National Gallery of Art, West Building. However, after I got about halfway there, the rain started up again even harder.

My experience at the National Gallery was quite different than at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Unfortunately for them, but fortunate for me, the National Museum of Women in the Arts was nearly empty. Viewing the works there was a peaceful and contemplative experience.

The National Gallery was overflowing with people. Perhaps this is a sign of my getting older, but I was very distracted by the crowd, especially by the younger people who were basically taking a photo of each piece and quickly moving on. There was also a couple whose only purpose, it seemed, was for the woman to pose in front of the art for her boyfriend to take pictures of her.

Since we had enjoyed Farmers & Distillers so much for breakfast, we decided to try it for dinner. Our meal was fine but didn’t quite live up to the expectations set by our fabulous breakfast. Given their name, it’s not surprising that they make their own spirits so we followed-up our meal with a cocktail each featuring their homemade liquor.

On Tuesday, I went out in the morning with my film camera. Before the trip, I bought a pack of Field Notes with the intention of writing down what I took pictures of and the camera settings I used. I got so used to the digital camera and my phone capturing a lot of the details.

In which my budding film photography obsession feeds my pre-existing notebook obsession

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I walked around the Mall a bit before going back to the National Gallery of Art for the Sculpture Garden and the East Building. I enjoyed both much more than I had the West Building. Both were less crowded and more to my taste as I am generally more interested in modern art. It’s been a great summer for modern art. In addition to getting the the East Building, back in July, we went to the Guggenheim while in New York.

I really enjoyed being out and about with my film camera. I’m glad I took a chance on buying this camera since using it has turned out to be a rather satisfying experience. Having a limited numbers of shots forces me to be thoughtful about what I want to take a picture of and how I want to take it. With the digital camera, taking numerous pictures to sort out later is too easy.

I met Holly for lunch at Zaytinya where we had quite the feast. We each got the Greek Rose flight. Zaytinya offers a mezze lunch special which we also each got so we could sample a variety of things from their menu: hommus, fattoush, falafel, seared salmon, Adana Kebab, Shish Taouk, Greek yogurt and apricots, and Turkish Delight, which was walnut ice cream, yogurt mousse, honey gelee, orange-caramel sauce, caramelized pine nuts.

After meeting Holly for lunch, I went out with my digital camera and walked back down to the mall. Since I had been on the east side of the mall in the morning, I headed west in the afternoon. I was hoping to go farther than I did. I had walked a lot during my trip and was worn out.

Since we had had such a filling lunch, we opted for a simple dinner. We went to nearby Acadiana, sat at the bar, had some wine and bar snacks.

Holly had only a morning session on the last day. Since I had enjoyed the National Museum of Women in the Arts so much, I wanted Holly to see it so we went there when she was done. For lunch, we went to The Partisan and shared the charcuterie board, pimento cheese with griddled tigelles, and an arugula salad. It was a fantastic last meal in DC. The Partisan is attached to the Red Apron butcher shop so the meat plate was top-notch.

We had some time to kill before catching the bus home, so we hung out at Dolcezza Gelato & Coffee where we each had coffee, and I had two scoops of gelato (black sesame and lemon ricotta cardamom).

We don’t have any trips planned for the near future so we’ll just savor the good times we had this summer in NYC and Washington, DC.

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