I was looking for a trip to take in early March, and I wanted to do something historical. One of my bucket list items is to see the Holocaust museum in DC, I missed going there the last time I was in DC back in 2012 and have been wanting to go back ever since. So, after talking to my friend Jeanine, and finding out she was interested as well, we booked our trip.
We left on March 9th after work, arrived a bit late in the day but easily found our lodging location. We stayed at VBR#553502, the location was very convenient. It was near the mall, near the train, the neighborhood was nice and there was a safeway grocery store right down the street. There were also a few good restaurants nearby, one we especially liked called Masala Art, excellent Indian food!
On our first first full day, the weather was horrible. We wanted to get close to the Holocaust Museum since we had 1:30 admission tickets, and I was hoping to walk over to see the nearby outdoor monuments before hand, but due to the cold and rain, we ended up wandering at the Freer gallery of Art and the African American Art museum for some time until our 1:30 time slot. Once inside the Holocaust museum, time passed quickly. There were an incredible amount of exhibits, videos and stories to read. From the rise of Hitler to freeing the concentration camps and the end of the war, there was not a moment where I didn’t feel completely engulfed in the times and lives of these people. I have been to the Holocaust museum here in Skokie, but the details and graphics in DC were far more revealing. It’s frightening to see how Hitler rose to power, how he was able to control his followers, how he lead them to believe that Jew’s were the enemy. So scary in fact, given today’s political climate, that I fear we have learned nothing from our past. By the time we left the museum the weather had calmed; although it was cold, we were able to walk over to the Washington Monument, the WWII memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Wall Memorial all before the sun finally set. Lots of walking, and a very successful day!
Our second full day was spent at the National Archives, the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress. Besides the normal touristy thing in the National Archives, we went to the “back door” and actually went into the research center. We had ID’s made and did a bit of searching on family. Jeanine found out who her true father is (jk!), and we also found my naturalization papers, very interesting. We did the obligatory free tour of the Capitol with a good guide who gave us a brief history of some of the statues in Statutory Hall, the paintings in the Rotunda, as well as info about the crypt which is not really a crypt. Creepy. Later that night we were treated by a good friend to dinner at a fancy restaurant called Mastro’s. We even tried escargot, I wasn’t a huge fan, but hey! Yes, this place was fancy for us, I was afraid that we would get turned away due to the dress code (we definitely didn’t meet the dress code) but they let us in anyway!
Day 3, the entire day was spent at Newseum. I really enjoy this museum, it’s focus is entirely on the 1st amendment. Every floor is dedicated in detail to our first amendments rights: to Assemble, Speech, Petition, Religion and Press. The museum largely focuses on the press, reporting, the media and free speech. It’s fascinating how the press has shaped our lives through some of the stories we see, hear and read each day. It’s amazing to go over our history in the form of newspapers, photographs, TV, Internet, etc. and see how the world has taken shape throughout the years. This was my second visit to this museum and although many of the exhibits had not changed, It’s impossible to read through them all, so frequent return trips are a must! Later we took a walk over to the White house, strictly for nostalgic purposes (we had no intention or desire to see its current occupant) and then headed back around the house for dinner.
True to form in Chicago, we had no snow in January or February, but come March and the day we are heading home, there is a snow storm! Needless to say, we were very worried about our flight home. Many flights before ours and after ours were canceled, but we managed to get in with only a slight delay – getting in quite literally in-between snow storms as DC was hit the very next day! We are lucky ladies!