After all those postings from my trip I figured I would finish it off with my three favorite pictures in black and white.



I have a thing for farmer's markets, I adore them, it's similar to my random obsession with steeples and spires. Rick used to work at this little farm near Baltimore and knowing of my obsession said we should go. After getting some yummy fudge (for breakfast of course) we went past all the peaches and found a petting zoo! Of course closely following my love of farmer markets and church spires is my love of cute and fuzzy things (OK, that's a lie, my love of cute and fuzzy things far surpasses just about anything else!). So I got to start the morning off with chocolate and bunnies, what more could a girl need? And after these fun but frantic days of hyper-tourism Rick had to go back to work, and I spent the rest of my vacation reading, hanging out with his family and the dogs, and watching all the fire flies in the field, sounds like a perfect break to me!


Washingtom Memorial

Right by the Peabody and on the way to Walter's was a lovely little park and the monstrous Washington Memorial. At this point though we were pretty exhausted after two fully days of walking everywhere. We were also pretty hot, sweaty, dusty, and hungry so our appreciation of this beautiful space was not all it could be.



Running late seemed to be the theme of the day and we had very little time to get to the Peabody from the inner harbor. Rick has not traveled enough with me yet to know to be leery of some of my "great ideas." So when I said that it would take less time to walk there than to get the car out of the parking garage and drive there, he said "sure." Fast forward to a half hour later, we are still walking, and not really sure where we are but we know that the Peabody is not within site. I say we turn around and as we are walking back we see a sign for the Peabody and the Walter's Gallery, we end up getting there but have missed the scheduled tour time. Since we have nothing to lose we decided to see if we could still get in and were able to walk around one of the most amazing libraries I have ever seen. As we were walking out and I was babbling incoherently about how amazing it was, the woman at the front desk said "and the spiral staircase is through that door to your right." It wasn't anything we had planned on seeing but it was beautiful and I think it's a fitting illustration of how everything seems to work out during travel.


Aquarium fun!

It's a little difficult to get a good picture of dolphins, they move veeeeery fast so bear with me.
Big toad!

Right after this picture was taken it sneezed. It was pretty freaky to see since all it's jaw seemed to roll out of it's mouth (so you could see all those rows of teeth) and then it just went right back in.
Poor Rick. A couple weeks before the trip I started planning everything which included researching the aquarium and seeing how much tickets were (start around 20 for adults) and looking up what they had. I believe I was on the phone with him when I shrieked "they have a baby dolphin, they have a baby dolphin." After that his fate was sealed and he had to listen to all my dolphin enthusiasm for the next couple of weeks. While we did not end up seeing the dolphin show (there were some timing issues) we did get to see them swimming around and it was wonderful to watch all the playing they do and watch the baby swim in tandem with it's mom. We also got to spend some quality time with the sharks, turtles and stingrays (I never knew that their undersides look like big smiley faces). Along with our tickets we got to go to the 4-D show. Think of a 3-D movie but interactive, so when you're watching a whale come to the surface you get splashed, when you see the water snakes swimming around there are suddenly things moving around your ankles, and when they show the eels darting out of their caves you get poked in the back of the chair. Before the film started they said it was not appropriate for children that are easily excitable, Rick jokingly said we had better leave for my sake. He spent the next twenty minutes of the show holding my hand as I freaked out and then the next hour hoping it would recover from being squeezed so hard. Like I said, poor Rick!


Inner Harbor

Our view during lunch.
Old power plant, the Border's inside is beautiful and they left some of the stacks from the factory which have been turned into bookshelves.
Very cool bridge outside the aquarium!
The inner harbor is definitely the place to start any visit to Baltimore. Tons of stores, restaurants, museums and other fun sites it is also a prime time people watching location! Rick and I had been in a hurry to get to the Aquarium but after visiting with the sting rays, sharks and frogs (more on those later) we walked around a little bit and then had lunch. We're both huge sushi fans so we stopped in at Edo Sushi where the unagi nigiri was great! I think we ended up devouring a serving of edamame, a plate of yakitori, five sushi rolls and then the nigiri! Then feeling very full we got milkshakes (of course!) and walked around in a sleepy stupor. The last time I was in Baltimore we went to the science museum which was great and had a very cool photo exhibit. Unfortunately time during this visit was limited and we had to get to the Peabody library so we did not get to fully indulge at the inner harbor, but between all the sites (and the paddle boats shaped like dragons) you could easily spend a full day just in this small part of the city.



"I never forget that I live in a house owned by all the American people and that I have been given their trust"
"Freedom of speech
Freedom of worship
Freedom from want
Freedom from fear"

The monument to my favorite president, the FDR memorial is a little harder to get to but is definitely worth the short walk from the Lincoln Memorial. The quotes are two of my favorites from the memorial which makes great use of flowing water, sculpture and quotes to create a powerful memorial to the man who helped lead our country through one of it's most difficult times as a nation.


Lincoln and Washington Memorial

Canadian Goose? In D.C.? Hope it brought it's passport, they're really cracking down on stuff like that.

I tried to explain to Rick that it is Un-American to not take stupid pictures with monuments where you play with scale and pretend you're touching them, he didn't buy the argument so I guess he obliged me just because he loves me!
The Lincoln Memorial is always crowded, and with good reason, it is a moving tribute to an important man, but more significantly, a monument to a tumultuous time in American history and an attempt to move in the direction of progress even with steady and violent protest.


Double Mecca?

"Look Lauren, the National Archives, so would that be your second Mecca or something? Is the mother-ship calling you home?"
It was Rick who at both points in the trip was responsible for pointing out the buildings that signify what I will be doing with the next 3 years of my life (double masters program in Library Science/Archives and History) and hopefully future potential employers!


Hellooo Animals

"The animal exhibits are to your left, minerals and fossils to your right, the butterfly exhibit is up and to the left. Children, no running please, I said No RUNNING! Gosh, why do I get the feeling that no one is ever listening to me?"
"Surprise!! Haha, dude I totally scared you, you should have seen the look on your face. Oh, don't even pretend, you know I had you shaking in your boots man, I totally got you!"
"I know I am too adorably cute. You are fighting urges to nibble my itty bitty ear. You cannot resist, just give in to the cuteness" (imagine it is a little French accent and it is tres magnifique!)
The home of all that great goodness (don't let the pictures fool you, there is more in there than just animals, it's just that my interests are somewhat skewed to the cute and fuzzy, even if the cute and fuzzy has been skewered and stuffed)

My more regular readers will know that it can't be a Lulu trip without some exciting animal adventures, lucky for us the Smithsonian Natural History Museum was more than ready to provide.


Art Museum and Sculpture Garden

For whatever reason the center of the art museum reminded me of the Ministry of Magic in the Harry Potter movies.
Very cool hanging sculpture with a bit of optical illusion.
"Ahhh, it's a giant spider, run for your life!!"
Another cool optical illusion, in the picture and in real life it first appears that this sculpture is projecting out at you, but it is actually concave (the center of the house is farther away from you than the two sides)

Initially I wanted to go to the National Museum of American History, but it is under renovation, so we decided to pop into the National Art museum which is also on the mall (I can't imagine living in Washington and having all that knowledge and culture available for free all the time, although then you probably take it for granted!)


Starting the long walk

U.S. Capitol
Sculptures encouraging people to think about different environmental issues such as overpopulation, pollution, and global warming.
This sculpture about windmills as alternative energy definitely caught my attention.

We walked everywhere in D.C. since it was scenic (and gave me plenty of opportunity to walk by ice cream carts!). This meant by the end of the day however that we had covered close to five miles and were completely exhausted. This however was still near the beginning of the walk, before we knew just how silly we were being.


My Mecca

... The Library of Congress, here's a little taste of Rick's and my conversation while touring it...

"Look Lauren, the Library of Congress, isn't that kind of your mecca?"
"Lauren, are you gonna close your mouth anytime soon?"
"Okay, you drooling about the books, it's kind of embarrassing me"
"I'm gonna have to carry you out of here, aren't I?"

I can't get over how great their collections and displays were. The building itself is amazing, as splendid as any cathedral or temple I've ever seen! When we got to the display of Thomas Jefferson's library I thought I was going to cry. Best of all? All this enjoyment was FREE!



Baby eggplant!

Hmm, we might need to do some weeding
Look what's popping up in the veggie garden! Soon we will be overrun with peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini (time to bust out that zucchini bread recipe and start giving away loafs like crazy).