As we stepped out of our car and onto the gravel parking lot, I knew we were going on an adventure that was completely new to me and my family. As we waited for the Amtrak train bound for Chicago to arrive, I was very anxious and excited to travel far away out of my home state, Wisconsin. Finally, we left for Chicago and one hour later, we arrived at Union Station in the Windy City. Could there have been people watching us?
The next day, we arrived in Washington D.C. Then, on that very day, I had my first experience of the Metra (local train system) that took us to Alexandria, Virginia where we were staying for a week. We visited many places. The most remembered places I visited in our vacation were; The Capitol, The White House, The Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, The Holocaust Museum, The Lincoln Memorial, The FDR Memorial, The Vietnam War Memorial, The World War II Memorial and the National Cathedral.
A place I especially enjoyed was The International Spy Museum. It showcased the tricks and tools famous FBI agents and spies from other countries used to remain silent yet follow someone very closely. One of the items I saw was a car with knives that could come out of the side mirrors. The car also had secret windows inside. It might have been James Bond’s car! Another item that caught my attention was a pair of shoes that had a disguised tape recorder on the heel of the shoe. An interesting fact I learned was that there were spies during Ben Franklin’s time and especially spies in the time of war. Spy movies became popular in 1914-1918 which is when World War I was going on. Particularly, after worldwide events, spying has become so sophisticated in all forms that even the CIA is deceived on occasion. This museum really captures the mind like no other and is a must see when in Washington D.C.
As the week went on, I got very tired of museums. My attention span probably got quite shortened over the week as we went to more museums. When we visited the Library of Congress on one of the last days, I remember myself being very anxious and wanting to do something that was exciting rather than all the quiet and informative exhibits. My feet were hurting because of standing and walking everywhere. We took the Metra everywhere, and every day we had to walk nine blocks to the nearest station. I’m sure we burned a lot of calories! Anyways, as the week went on, the Metra was fascinating to figure out.
The architecture and scenery was very captivating and also varied in ages throughout the city. All the Smithsonian Museums were free of charge, so we spent much of our time at their various museums. Since the terrible event of 9/11, security measures are in many places we visited. It became overwhelming but a thing to remember about D.C. Because D.C. is a widely visited city in the United States, security was required for everyone no matter what. While I was there, it was a unique experience to see and hear people from different countries.
Overall, my week in Washington D.C was an educational experience and adventurous. I learned to use the Metra and see other people from around the world. If I were to visit D.C again, I would not do so many museums. I just hoped nobody was following me on my journey.
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