Tag: Washington



I wanted to finish this blog series on a high, and so, anticipating the questions people might ask, I’ve been contemplating the highlights. Seeing friends is always going to top these lists – spending time with people we so rarely get to see – so I’ve eliminated them from the equation. But to my English, Scottish and expat Aussie friends, know that you were our highlight!

Top eats

1. Pasta at Rossopomodoro on our first night in Venice. Unbelievably creamy, ridiculously tasty whipped buffalo ricotta concoction on fresh made pasta. At the time I said it was the best meal I’d ever eaten. I stand by that.

2. Cioppino at Sotto Mare, North Beach California, sitting up at the counter, with wine, feeling so alive only four days into our holiday.

Places to which I’ll definitely return (in no particular order)

1. Reykjavik

2. Berlin

3. Washington

4.Everywhere else.

Top moments

1. Discovering the former Australian Embassy building in Washington DC, where my grandmother first worked.

2. Recently arrived in Rome, dusk, sitting at a cafe in Piazza della Rotonda, looking out at the Pantheon, glass of white wine, nowhere to be in any hurry.

3. Standing in the Neumarkt in Dresden surrounded by the Christmas markets.

4. Driving through the deep snow north west of Reykjavik, unable to see anything at all – a complete white out.

5. The Art Institute of Chicago.

Most amazing sights

1. Gullfoss waterfall, Iceland.

2. Autumn leaves, Scotland.

3. Chicago buildings.

Funniest shrieking with laughter moments (sorry, for these you had to be there so are to remind me, but I’m happy to tell the stories if asked).

1. Don buying a jacket in Macy’s New York.

2. Ruth hanging her last Christmas decoration on the thermostat.

I could add to all of these lists, because of course the whole trip has been the most amazing, eye-opening, brilliant and fun experience for both of us. And I have loved sharing all of this with you via the blog. Thanks so much for reading, and for all of your lovely comments.

Now, to start planning the next adventure…..

Sheila’s footsteps

Sheila’s footsteps

Washington DC

Everywhere we go in Washington I think of my grandmother. She lived here for 17 years, working at the Australian Embassy, so I can’t help but be aware that I’m walking down the streets she walked along and seeing all of the places she saw.

Of course, we’re focussed on the tourist parts of the city, whereas Nanny lived the city. The streets and suburbs are familiar to me because of her stories – DuPont Circle, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom and “Mass Ave”. Nanny arrived just after JFK was assassinated, and was here for the celebration when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, through Vietnam War protests and during the Washington riots following Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. She attended the theatre, ballet and opera, and had many stories of outrageous parties – with Embassy staff, naval officers and “the guys from the FBI”.

On our first day here we walked past the former Australian Embassy, now the Embassy of Peru. When Nanny arrived in Washington DC with no money to get home to Australia, they gave her a job. She was still there when they built the new Embassy on Scott Circle – that’s her fooling around during the ground-breaking ceremony. She worked in this new building for over ten years; until it was time to come home to Australia.

I can see Nanny here in DC – it’s her style of place. All classy Victorian and Tudor style homes, and the elegance of Embassy Row. Yesterday I caught the Metro to Arlington and found the first house Nanny lived in. It hasn’t changed a bit. Tomorrow I’m going to find the other house she lived in – it’s only up the road from where we’re staying. On Mass Ave!

I can’t go into any of these places – the Embassies or the homes – but I can stand on the sidewalk and imagine her with her fancy high heels, designer handbag and a big smile on her face.

She was quite a woman.

Three visit the Air and Space Museum

Three visit the Air and Space Museum

Washington DC

Our friend Gab has joined us in DC; she too is an aeroplane geek. So it was always going to be a big day when two aviation geeks and a space science nerd went to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

There are two ways to approach the Air and Space Museum.

Gab and I were starstruck, and a little confused at first, starting at the wrong end of the space race and working our way backwards from the moon landing. We soon got our bearings and marvelled and admired every slick, gorgeous piece of aeronautic machinery that we approached. We were amazed and bedazzled as any true plane spotter would be, overwhelmed by rockets, planes and spacecraft. Gab said “Beautiful” a lot, I said “Wow” a lot.

And then there was Don.

We lost him immediately on entry, spotting him every now and then as he darted between rockets and satellites. But a pattern soon emerged. As Gab and I wound our way through the displays, looking up, looking down, Don would suddenly appear in front of us at random moments.

“Oh my God,” he exclaimed at one point, “it’s a V2! Do you know what that is?”

“A V2?” I suggested.

“It’s a V2! Let me tell you about the V2…” and then he was gone.

And then he was back.

“Is that what I think it is?” he bounded across to a spacey looking spherical object.

“The Death Star?” asked Gab, only half joking.

“It’s the Telstar! Let me tell you about the Telstar….” and then he was gone.

And then he was back.

“Do you know how long I’ve wanted to see the original 1903 Wright Flyer?”

“Ever since you were a…”

“Ever since I was a little boy…” and then he was gone.

Back and forth as though attached to us by an elastic band.

It was one of the best museums any of us had ever been to. So much to see that by the end of our visit, Gab and I had walked roughly 37km.

And Don had run 163.