Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Janaro Family Goes to Washington

Heading to the big city
I promised a post and more pictures from our family fun day in Washington, D.C. last week, and with good reason. It was fun! Not like hold-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seats kind of fun. It was a day of being together and sharing in a little adventure.

I went to school in Washington, D.C. I worked there. I lived in the D.C. area. All of that was more than 20 years ago. I can't think of a time when the whole Janaro family -- all seven of us -- went into the city. All we did was go to a couple of museums and hang around the Mall (not a shopping mall, but the long park between the Washington Monument and the Capital Building).

I also grew up in cities, whereas my kids are small town and country born and raised. Which means that they are thrilled and amazed in ways that I will never understand, by activities such as riding the Metro.

"Wow, this is incredible!"
John Paul is veteran Metro rider, having gone to Nats & Caps games, but he still likes it.
Agnese and Teresa: there were plenty of seats but they wanted to stand just for fun!
Lucia looks cool, but if you can see her dimples you know she's having fun.

We got off at the "Smithsonian" station, had our lunch and goofed around a little. The Mall has a leisurely feel to it, even in the middle of the week. It doesn't feel like you're in the capital city of the most powerful nation in human history.

Agnese and the Washington Monument: Are we tourists or what?
John Paul is cool.
"Can we just have the picnic now, please?"

Okay, we eat and then we're off to the sculpture garden and the art museum. The sculpture garden is, well, interesting, with things like this metal tree:

If this ever blossoms, it really will be time for "the return of the king"!
John Paul explains the deep existential significance of this... umm... thingy.
Eileen at the Chagall mosaic, which is amazing (much better than this photo).

Inside the National Gallery of Art, we went through the regular (and quite remarkable) collection, and we were allowed to take pictures. So I took hundreds of pictures with my phone. It used to be, strictly, no pictures, but now you just click away. Phone pictures are not that great, but it's fun just setting them up, looking at the work from different angles, discovering details. And of course, sometimes you just stop and look.

Pictures of a few works that I might not have otherwise noticed, such as:

And many other beautiful works. We spent a lot of time on our feet, but there are plenty of lovely and atmospheric places in the Gallery to rest also:

Josefina relaxes by a fountain.

Then it was off to the Museum of Natural History. We didn't have too much time here (and by then I was out of gas, so I spent most of that time on a bench), but we did get to see THE DINOSAURS. Just in time too: this whole section is closed as of this week for renovations that will take several years.

Josefina thought the dinosaurs were creepy. It took some cajoling to get her to stand in front of one so I could take a picture. She enjoyed the smaller exhibits like the fossils:

"AHHHH! Do I have to smile?"
Prehistoric sea is more in the comfort zone. "Is that real?"

I realize that unless you are the grandparents of these children (Hi Dad, hi Mom!) you're bored by now, so it's time for us to go home:

Back out to the Mall. Clouds in the late afternoon.
Escalators are fun too!

I highly recommend doing lightly planned little trips with the family. Don't try to do too much and don't have huge expectations, but just enjoy what's there and enjoy being together. It's worth it.