Saturday 19th of December
Alarm at 6 am. Leave the house at 6:50. Train leaves at 7:35 but one doesn't know about the parking. Found a spot right away so no problem.
The train ride is always nice. Relaxing. A little more than two hours. I managed to catch up with writing on a long overdue blog.
A selfie. Should have taken the stick with me Sarah gave to me. James is not sleeping (even so he could). Just caught him blinking.
Arriving in DC. The station was festively decorated of course.
Since we had to find the toilet, we also found coffee. Since we found the coffee we found also something else to go with it. And so it goes. We haven't even left the station yet.
We only had backpacks (for one night) and headed towards the hotel. James' phone said it was only an 18 minute walk. We happened to do this on a rather cold weekend but the sun is shining and the sky is blue. We are accordingly bundled.
James managed to get a free night at the Hyatt and it is very satisfactory. Look what greeted us in the lobby! I am very much a fan of gingerbread houses. My father was the king of making one every year.
We were early and didn't expect it but our room was ready and we could get into it. So we could leave the backpacks and at the appropriate time head out to the Kennedy Center. Walk to the Metro (not far) but then the "adventure" at the automated ticket machines. It seems a total change from last year. Swiping cards now. Red line. Change to gray line to Foggy Bottom. A Kennedy Center bus is waiting there but we are early so prefer to walk. A little walk makes us feel good.
More time to look around. I like this selfie. Chance or am I getting good? See the grandparents with the little girl in the picture too? We found puny little sandwiches for $5 in the lobby but they will do till dinner. Can't bring myself to buy a plastic cup of wine for $10 though.
The adventage of being in good time is that you have time to anticipate, read the playbill, meet your neighbors. My sister in Germany even tried to FaceTime but I had to shut that off. Sorry.
It was really really nice and we were happy. Decided to do more walking (instead of taking the free bus back to the station). It was too early for dinner so James made a little detour because there was a Harris Teeter grocery store close to the hotel. We had a glass of nice red wine in the room and did a little reading. James inquired at the desk about a nice restaurant in walking distance. The recommendation was "Old Engine 12" which used to be a firehouse. Just four blocks or so.
James is googling what ALLAGASH is. It's a beer!
We actually decide to share the Vietnamese Mussel Pot as appetizer.
What a great choice! We thoroughly enjoyed it and as you can see, James didn't let a drop of the broth being wasted.
We both then had lasagne. Mine was seafood and I really liked it.
Girls, there goes your inheritance!
Some of the decoration.
The old firehouse pole! There was a party upstairs and the server told us that the hole is covered with plexiglass. The servers were very nice.
It was a perfect day and the walk back to the hotel felt great.
While James was checking out I took a few pictures in the lobby. We were able to leave our backpacks in storage there.
We had had a complimentary breakfast in the hotel. It had not been great but totally sufficient. We walked to the metro and took the Red Line to DuPont Circle. James had googled and found St Margaret's Episcopal Church. James took out his phone and we were shown the way to go. Love the gadgets!
Not far we had to walk through a farmers market with live music. There were several interesting things. Sorry I couldn't buy anything.
We arrived in plenty of time. We wondered who's pew we were taking but there was plenty of space in the church. The service was very nice. Strangely I find the going-to and coming-away-from communion rather untidy. You are never sure what you are supposed to do. One thing I like about St Martin ... there is a comfortable flow.
During the announcements vestry members spoke that visitors should come to the coffee time which we did. They had lovely nibbles but we stood rather lonely for quite some time. A rector, an assistant and a deacon did not say a word to us. Finally we had a nice conversation with a choir lady who told us a little about the history and Tiffany Windows. I am not saying this to be negative but as a reminder to me to do better myself. I run so often around taking care of things that I overlook the most important.
It was almost one when we left the church and were contemplating what to do next. The sun was so lovely that we decided to walk some but where? So we walked into the direction of the National Cathedral. We had plenty of time since the concert started at 3:30 pm.
The cathedral is on the highest point. We walked steadily uphill through lovely neighborhoods. When I saw this I HAD TO take a picture for Helen. She has been a "Little Free Library" fan for a long time and wants one in front of her house so badly. It was really cute.
Because of the warm weather before this cold snap there were lots of things blooming.
The last part was through a park. Lovely.
We never had noticed that there was a garden next to the cathedral either. A stone and beams gazebo. Love that floor. Pie-shape bricks.
The cathedral was still closed. Hello? Toilets? Thank goodness there was a cafè next door. Actually I think it is new and it used to be part of the church.
It is very small but cozy. Not too many tables so I was "planted" while James stood in line.
A little French lentil soup was just right. But ... These were our second bowls. Half way through the first there was a loud crash on the next (very close) table. People were just trying to sit down and dropped a glass while still standing with glass flying. The servers came and cleaned up and we even had to stand up to make a little room. When we were settled again and James lifted his spoon he found a big piece of glass in the soup. That made me drop my spoon. They rushed to give us fresh bowls and were very nice.
Claimed our seats and I walked around to look at things and take a few pictures.
The cathedral has so many stained glass windows, some old fashion (probably because they ARE old) and some quite modern. James thinks they don't let any light in and make the cathedral dark even when the sun is shining.
Wonder whether William (the spaceman) would like this one.
I quite like the coloring on the stone though.
Still waiting for the concert to start (actually late).
The big screens here and there where helpful because the action was quite far away. Well, no photography etc allowed. Of course.
About 75 minutes without intermission. It was nice but not nearly as nice as last year. Instead of a concert we are asked to sing too often ... and insulted for not doing it well enough. Sorry. I also didn't care for the dancers because they distracted me from the music.
It was quickly getting dark when we came out and the cathedral looked lovely.
James was amazed for finally being able to hail an UBER. He brought us back to the hotel where we picked up our backpacks and made our way back walking towards Union Station.
We didn't have enough time to stop at the pub next to the station but in the station we got a quick bye-bye beer.
Just love going by train. It's comfortable. I was looking out to see the Christmas lights in Ashland but was not lucky and catching it in a picture ... only when the train stopped.
Home before 10 pm. Ah, what a good time we had again.