Saturday, February 21, 2015

Misadventures in Washington D.C.

I had the opportunity to fly to Washington D.C. this week and here's a recap of my whirlwind trip for work.

It had been about twelve years since I last visited the DC area and I love it there. Twelve years ago, I was not working as a professional in the Museum field, nor had I been to graduate school yet, so I definitely appreciated the Museum visits even more this time around.

I had to be at the airport by 6 a.m. on Wednesday and I got breakfast there. I enjoyed baked oatmeal and a latte from Colectivo coffee.
I landed in D.C. at 10:30 and then I waited for a colleague to arrive from Chicago a half hour later. We caught a taxi and made it to our destination by noon. I can't reveal where we went because it's top secret, but we saw what we needed to, I took tons of photos and geeked out, and then we had a yummy lunch. 

I was happy to find plenty of vegetarian options at the cafe. I ended up with some roasted vegetables, plantains, chickpeas with spinach, rice and black beans and I tried okra for the first time ever!
We had a couple more hours to kill before heading back to the airport, so my colleague used his Uber app to call a car to take us to the Smithsonian museums. I had never used Uber before and it was pretty slick!

We started out at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Seeing the Hope diamond was required of course.
I feel more at home in History and Art museums and I convinced my co-worker to go to the American History museum next door.
 I really wanted to see their food exhibit, the highlight of which is Julia Child's kitchen!
The Julia Child display did not disappoint and neither did the rest of the food exhibit!
I was surprised to find so many excellent authentic objects throughout, including her Legion of Honor medal.
Her cookbooks were in the kitchen too!
I didn't get to see the Capital or White House up close this time. 
We were close to the Washington Monument though and caught a pretty sun setting before we caught a ride to the airport via Uber.
Once we arrived at Ronald Reagan airport, the misadventures began for me. I casually glanced at the departures board and was shocked to see my flight was canceled. I immediately thought that things might work out and that Southwest could possibly get me on another flight that night. My colleague was on another flight and it was still heading out. He kindly walked me to the other end of the airport and I spoke to a Southwest representative about my options.

I could go out of Baltimore, Maryland later that night, or take the 7:05 a.m. out the next morning. I parted ways with my colleague and spoke to the nice gentleman at the airport information desk to see how I could possibly get to Baltimore. My panic started to set in then because I was overtired, hungry and not wanting to attempt to get to Baltimore on time via Metro and a bus. The timing was really tight too so there was still a chance I could miss that flight.

I gathered all of my info, called Craig to talk things out with him and decided it was best for me to spend the night in D.C. I didn't bring a bag with items to stay the night, because it was supposed to be a day trip. But, I knew that wasn't a big deal in the end.

Southwest did not pay for my hotel or offer any meal vouchers because they claimed the cancelation was weather related. There was no weather to speak of in D.C. (a tiny trace of snow fell that night) and it was frigid back in Milwaukee, so I think it was a made up excuse so they didn't have to cover passengers' stays, offer vouchers, etc.

I caught a shuttle bus to the hotel and got settled in my room before heading down to the only restaurant on-site. I immediately asked for a beer and the alcohol hit me pretty quickly, probably because I was hungry and exhausted. I tried a local draft beer, Three Brothers, and it was delicious.
The only vegetarian menu item was mac and cheese with spinach and sun dried tomatoes. I was starving and it tasted really good and quite rich too.
had to be at the airport super early the next morning. It felt so good to get on a plane and be headed home. It wasn't the trip I expected it to be, but I learned my lesson. From now on, I'll stick to being a smart traveler and bring an extra outfit, eyeglasses, makeup, etc., even for a day trip. I regretted not bringing a few things, but I am trying my best to be a minimalist and not such a worrywart. 

I was so happy to see Craig's "Welcome Home" sign on our back door and walk in to kiss and hug the kitties! I worked from home on Thursday and got a lot done, despite my exhaustion. 
Craig has never been to Washington D.C., so I'd love to return with him someday.

If you've been to Washington D.C., what did you enjoy seeing there? I really loved Mount Vernon and the Holocaust Museum when I last visited. I have always wanted to go to Monticello too.


  1. It's got to be even tougher stranded on a day trip without provisions... I suppose work picked up the tab, given your "secret mission" ;-) at least.

  2. I can relate, after Delta forgot to put my bag on a connecting flight, I travel with many more items in my carry-on. It's too bad you couldn't spend more time in DC, although I'm sure it'll will be more fun to return with Craig. I really enjoyed walking around Alexandria the last time I was there. Julia's kitchen exhibit was closed so I haven't seen that yet :(