This morning we packed our bags to leave. But more on our next adventure to come. We had a few more hours in New York and a couple of things we still wanted to accomplish. Our first stop was the 9/11 Museum.
We both felt the museum was very well done. Upon entering you descend below ground into what was once the below-ground floors of the World Trade Complex. In the large atrium you can find structural steel girders bent complete into horseshoe shapes, the remnants of the staircase that allowed thousands to descend, and the final column to be removed from the site, which served as a memorial as it remained standing. The area was next divided into two large exhibits.
The first contained a time line and detailed description of the events of September 11. There were a large number of recovered objects to make
it very effective. Throughout there were voice overs of people’s memories of that day (there is actually a recording studio where you can tell your own story). It was a reminder of the thousands who survived. But there were also reminders of those lost: transcipts of emergency calls from the hijacked planes, phone messages left by those trapped in the towers’ upper floors and heroic tales of rescue workers who gave their lives to save so many.
The second section was a continuation of the memorial above. Here were photos of those who lost their lives that fateful morning. The photos were accompanied by a number of personal stories and belongings. Suddenly the countless faces and names were people with their own story, it was quite moving.
Upon leaving the museum we needed a cheer up. We headed uptown to Herald Square for a little shopping. This is the area we had passed on our walk home the night before.
For lunch we popped into Pret a Manger. This was a frequent stop in Europe and were excited to visit one state side. Kris had a buffalo chicken wrap while Justine’s was pulled pork. Both were delicious and warm, needed in the slightly chilly day.
For us, we decided shopping in the US isn’t that exciting anymore. The majority of stores can be found back home and if we’re going to buy something designer we’re going to buy it on sale or at least not when the exchange rate is not in our favour. Amidst this, we still bought a couple of treats & souvenirs.
Next it was off to Washington DC! Yup, our next activity was to move on to an entirely different city…how exciting. The east coast has a very convenient train network connecting anywhere you’d want to visit. Our Amtrak ride between NY & DC would be a quick 3.5 hours. We became well-versed with train travel during our Europe trip, but have not had the opportunity to ride the rails since. We arrived at the station with plenty of time to pick up various snacks: a grilled cheese sandwich, a Santa Fe wrap, a sprinkled Krispy Kreme donut, a NY-staple black & white cookie and a pair of Tim Hortons ice caps. Yup real Timmy’s there in Penn Station. Who knew? We tried to be one of the first through the turnstiles when our platform was announced so that we could get prime storage space for our luggage & forward-facing seats together.
On the train we snacked and blogged and listened to a playlist of Aladdin: The Original Broadway Cast (aka our cast), Les Miserables: The Movie Soundtrack and Once: The Original Broadway Cast (some people we’ve never heard of). Such a vast array of show tunes. In the course of of our journey we passed through 5 different states…a crazy concept for us Western Canada girls.
Our DC hostel was a short walk (made slightly longer due to construction) from the train station. We arrived in the city at Union Station, which is a grand building with all the amenities one might expect in a modern, high-class station. Kris (who was in DC with her mom last summer) acted as tour guide, telling Justine about the nude soldier statues positioned around the roof. When the station first opened the dignified lady passengers found these quite disturbing and vulgar. Rather than take them down the architect instead had each hold a giant shield which blocked their nether-regions…much more modest.
The hostel is nice, although we’re in a 4-person room (as opposed to the 2-person private room we had in NYC). Our roommates have made us jealous with tales of multiple-month journeys we wish we were on.
There were still a few good hours left in the day by the time we got settled so we took a wander through downtown to the Mall. When we refer to the Mall in DC we are not talking about a shopping mall but instead about a grand expanse of important buildings, monuments and museums. At one end sits the Capitol Building. Dead center is the iconic Washington Monument. And at the other end is the Lincoln Memorial. We approached at the Capitol end. Justine was amazed by its height & grandeur when she caught her first glimpse. Kris, again acting as tour guide, pointed out each of the Smithsonian Museums as we passed on our walk down the Mall. We can’t wait for a full day of museums tomorrow!
WHAT WE LEARNED TODAY:
– We are not good shoppers.
– Train systems are pretty similar in the US to Europe.
– A 3.5 hour break on our feet.
– Learning to duet the entirety of One Day More.
Love, Luck & Louis Vuitton,
Justine & Kris