Last weekend Lumi and I traveled to Washington D.C. to explore the
capital of the United States. We drove to SFO, parked our car with
ParkSFO, a fairly cheap service with regular shuttles to the
terminals, and flew to Washington Dulles. As we arrived very late we
just took a cab to our hotel, the Westinin Arlington, where we just
crashed and slept for a couple of hours.
On Friday I had to get up early for a (super secret) kick-off meeting of
a new grant (that will be announced in a couple of days); so I spent all
day in a meeting room inside chatting with other researchers while Lumi
was exploring the big city, the capitol, the white house, and the
national mall. On the plus side we were able to expense the hotel for
our weekend in Washington and Lumi was able to explore the capitol and
the library which I have already seen on an earlier visit when I stopped
in Washington for a couple of days after a conference in Austin, Texas
(ISPASS'11 if you are interested), so I did not feel the need to wait in
line for a long time to see the capitol again. At night we reunited in
the hotel and explored the gym (so-so, just a couple of treadmills and
some weights) and enjoyed the pool and the hot tub before we headed off
The White House.
On Saturday we started our day with a Starbucks coffee and headed to the
national mall where we spent a couple of hours to explore the Air and
Space museum (my favorite museum in Washington).
Lumi in front of the Breitling Orbiter, the first balloon to fly around
A picture of the X1, the first plane to fly faster than the speed of
We actually planned to spend only a short amount of time in the museum
but we got hooked during the awesome tour and spent almost 4 hours in
the museum before we explored the national mall and had a good look at
the Washington monument and the Lincoln memorial before we walked
through Georgetown with all the small shops and pubs. Georgetown
actually felt almost like England.
Looking towards the Lincoln memorial.
The Washington monument all wrapped up.
Lincoln calmly watching the people around him.
Lumi in Georgetown trying to look like a pillar.
On our last day we again returned to the national mall after yet another
good-morning coffee and first went to the Jefferson memorial at the
shore of Tidal basin. We enjoyed the view of all the cherry trees that
were currently in bloom and stopped over for lunch at the cherry
blossom festival. Returning to the mall we quickly browsed through the
national museum of American history. We felt that the museum was
lacking a general theme and a 'red thread' that leads visitors through
the exhibits so we just wandered aimlessly through the different rooms,
watched the original star spangled banner and headed on towards the
national museum of natural history where we were amazed by the
different mammals and dinosaurs they showed.
Cheery blossoms for Lumi.
Cheery blossoms for Mathias.
The Jefferson memorial.
At the end of the day we returned to our hotel to grab our bags and
returned to the airport. On the way back United managed to be 1 hour
late on a 5 hour flight due to congestion at the SFO airport which was a
bit annoying especially since we were already returning at 11:40pm
(2:40am Washington time). But Lumi drove us safely home and we got a
good night's rest. All in all, Washington is an amazing city that has
lots to show, from scientific museums both for engineers as well as for
the other sciences over cultural and historic information to streets
that make you feel as if you are in England.