Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday on Travel: DC's Cherry Blossom Festival

My friend E and I attended the Cherry Blossom Festival Sunday as a birthday gift to each other. Her birthday is mid-February and mine's mid-April so it's nice that this festival we love falls in between.

Cherry Blossoms Up Close

Cherry Blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin 

She picked me up and drove us to a Metro station and then we took a couple different lines of subway to get to Union Station's Au Bon Pain for delicious coffee and pastry.  Once caffeinated, we hit the Freer Gallery for some Asian Art. We liked the more detailed Japanese scroll paintings best.

After that, we visited the Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals exhibition at the National Gallery. It was a collection of vedute, which were painted views of my Venice. These were the ultimate souvenirs during the time of the Grand Tour; think 1700s or so... I now love Canaletto! Especially his sharper mature style. I loved telling E where everything was. Some of the artists adored depicting Ascension Day, which is about 40 days after Easter. Venice is symbolically married to the sea on this religious day. The ruler of Venice, the Doge, dropped a ring into the sea from a huge golden boat called a bucintoro back in the 18th Century. There's also a gondola in front of the East Building exhibition space. As for the rest of the museum, we pretty much made a bee line for Ginevra de' Benci, the only portrait of Leonardo's in the Americas, who also graces the cover of the museum map.

After hanging out with Ginevra, we went out to lunch. We decided on the brewery on top of the Postal Museum, next to Union Station. My burger and fries with a beer was so perfect.

Finally we joined the crowds at the Cherry Blossoms which are stunningly beautiful. It was a nice walk... We walked further for a non-blocked-off subway station. Not very hungry, we had a big, warm chocolate chip cookie each for dessert and then left DC. With an early start and a late finish, it was a 13 hour day! E is a great travel partner though. She was listing the plethora of places in DC we have yet to see, already planning our next trip to the nation's capital. When it's warmer as we didn't expect the wind this time!

Cherry Trees and Crowds


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