The week after Mum and Dad left was Father’s Day. It was a shame they couldn’t stay but this was also my biggest ceremony of the year – In Memory. It honours soldiers who returned home from Vietnam but their names will not be added to the wall. We also had our Father’s Day Rose Ceremony: when the entire Vietnam wall is covered in thousands of roses. It was a stunning sight.
The following week, I decided to embrace all the free things you can do in DC. DC is a pretty fun place in the Summer with lots of events going on. One of them is the open air cinema every Wednesday. The theme for the Summer was “Unlikely Friendships” and the film for this week was UP! Now I love the opening credits of this film, and do tear up a little – but found myself not remembering anything else. So it was pretty fun to see it again. I went with Steven and Christina, along with a blanket and my pillow I will definitely be going to another one…I think it’s Batman this week!
My next two events were much more classy – listening to the Symphony at the Kennedy Centre and Jazz in the Garden. The Kennedy Centre puts on free shows every evening at 6pm, and they change weekly. This week it was 4 teenagers who had won competitions in the country for the best performances. They were sensational! The only reason we looked classy was because we’d come from work!
Jazz in the Garden is another event put on in DC during the Summer- featuring music in a park near the National Mall. People crowd in with their blankets for Sangria and dancing – a great scene!
At the weekend I took two trips, one to Annapolis in Maryland – a harbor town with great food and some historical places, and to Virginia to Luray Caverns. My boss had told me about Annapolis and it was a really nice place and also houses the Navel Academy which you can walk onto and look around (though the guy did check my passport – I don’t think he trusts the English!)
Our various trips have also introduced Albert to fudge. And he has become fascinated with it – watching them make it and then asking for hundreds of samples! He finally decided on Chocolate fudge (I wasn’t a fan!) while I went for a toffee apple (or caramel apple to the americans!).
Luray Caverns is about 2 hours away from DC and has a pretty cool backstory:
Cold air rushing out of a limestone sinkhole atop a big hill west of Luray, Virginia, blew out a candle held by Andrew Campbell, the town tinsmith, on the morning of August 13, 1878. So began the discovery of Luray Caverns.
Campbell, three other men, and his 13-year-old nephew, Quint, were exploring the area, looking for a cave. With the help of local photographer Benton Stebbins, the men dug away loose rocks for four hours before, candle in hand, Campbell and Quint slid down a rope into the cave. They could scarcely believe what they saw. The party had discovered the largest series of caverns in the East, an eerie world of stalactites and stalagmites seen by the light of a candle
It is hard to imagine that this all formed naturally, and all I wanted to do was keep taking photographs. There was one section which reminded me of a trip to Lanzerote when we went into a volcano and looked down at what we thought was a huge hole. In fact it was just the reflection, and Luray Caverns had a similar thing:
Apparently if you were dripped on while you were walking through the tour, this meant you would have Good Luck – Albert did not see it this way as he got dripped on at least 20 times!
After the tour we headed to the little Museum and tried to find some gold – we were not successful! It was a really cool place, and an awesome tour!
My final event of the week, and possibly the coolest was a party at the French Embassy. Washington DC is the home of multiple embassys, and sometimes they hold events inviting anyone in. My friend Christina has been working for the French Embassy, so got us into a music event with lots of French food. Now the music was a little odd, but they were also playing silent movies at the same time which I love.
We all dressed up nicely and had a great evening, doing something different and out of our comfort zones!
Overall it was a packed week of events, but it gave me the opportunity to really explore parts of DC I hadn’t seen before.