It has been more than two months that I’ve been in DC and I still feel like I didn’t visit all the parts of the city. Two months without visiting any museum made realize that I need to discover more places in Washington DC.
I started my week by going to the Embassy row trick or treat in Halloween. It’s one of the things that you can only do in DC, so I went for it. I really liked how each Embassy welcomed us with candies and got to present its country. I also enjoyed stacking a huge amount of candies that I still have now by the end of the week. If you’re in DC in Halloween, make sure to walk through the Embassy Row.
I also decided to finally visit some museums in the city. I started by visiting The National Museum of Natural History and it was really interesting. It got a diverse human, animals, and rocks collections. It showed different species of mammals, ocean creatures, insects and historical bones. It also exhibited the history of the human evolution and human origins. So, if you’re curious about the natural world and its discoveries, the National Museum of Natural History will be the best for you. I also visited the National Gallery of Art. Even if I don’t understand much about art, I would say that the pieces of art in the gallery were really beautiful. From paintings to sculptures, everything was so sophisticated and really beautiful. They represented the art in different centuries from different countries and artists. After visiting these two museums, I made a list of all the museums I want to visit before the semester ends (hopefully).
In addition to that, I visited the United Sates Botanic Garden. Basically, it’s a plants’ museum where you can find different species of plants. I really enjoyed walking through all the types of plants and get to know more of them. It also felt like a tropical jungle so it was nice to be there and forget the city’s cold weather that day. I also took the opportunity this weekend to ride a bike around the city. I really love the foliage of Washington DC’s and its colors during the Fall season. I really appreciate how good it was to visit the city in that beautiful scenery.
And the best way to finish this week was definitely attending the concert of Imagine Dragons in Capital One Arena. I feel really lucky to be in a city where there are many concerts happening. After Katy Perry, Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias, I had to experience more of US concerts. It’s true that the tickets are really expensive but the cheapest way to get them is waiting until the last minute. That concert gave me chills in many songs and hearing Imagine Dragon performing live was the best thing that happened to me this week.
I guess you could say this week really put the study in study abroad. I guess the professors are trying to tell us that spring break is all but a faint history and it's time to return to the daily grind.
That being said, I managed to take time out to explore last weekend. As April commences, we bid goodbye to winter and open our arms to spring. DC's annual cherry blossom festival had its opening ceremony this week and it was nothing short of amazing. Thereafter, we took a walk along the Tidal Basin, past several monuments and admired the pink and white blossoms.
The reason for DC's cherry blossoms dates back in history - Japan gifted DC with 3020 trees in 1912 after the first batch of 2000 sent in 1910 got infested with disease and pests. Since then, countless First Ladies have commemorated the start of the festival by planting their own cherry blossom tree. The one's that we are seeing now are of the Yoshino variety but in another two to three weeks, the Kwanzan variety will start to bloom, giving DC residents and visitors a second chance to admire the majestic flora.
I was actually surprised to see that many of the blossoms were white in color, as opposed to the pink ones I had seen in Japan . Nonetheless, the paler color gives the surroundings a pure aura and are great for taking pictures too! While at the Tidal Basin last weekend, I actually met many people visiting from out of state, proving how popular the festival is. While our visit was short, we managed to capture some great graphics!
This week, I also took a trip to Tysons Corner in Virginia and it's basically a huge mall where you can find practically everything. I went there for one very specific reason: Kung Fu Tea. Back home, whenever I craved it, I simply had to walk to the opposite street to get me some boba milk tea. In DC, it's a lot more difficult to get hold of a decent cup of bubble tea and thankfully Tysons' is an approximately 30 minute journey on the Metro, great for a quick getaway in between classes. The mall is also home to the only Uniqlo in the DC region, and I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for jackets or even basics that are of a great quality at an affordable price. I will stop talking about this now because this post is starting to sound like an advertisement.
Thereafter we headed to Dupont for tea and dinner. For now, it's back to the daily grind at Gelman Library.
First and foremost, I would like to clarify that cupcakes are on the top of list of things, which make me happy no matter how bad of a day I had. Only avocados and watermelon beat my love for cupcakes. Hence, me dedicating an entire blog post to cupcakes is totally normal, when you get to know me. So while strolling through picturesque Georgetown for the first time, I could do nothing else but run into ‘Georgetown Cupcake’. Seeing all those delicious cupcakes stacked up on cute étagères, it was impossible to listen to reason and I just simply bought two. I bought two cupcakes and ate them both right after the other. No regrets. Well, maybe some regrets towards my blood sugar level. I will gladly share the perfection with you; only in form of a picture though.
Experiencing a city spontaneously without a plan is the best way of exploring its greatest treasures. In the case of DC: 'Georgetown Cupcake'. But sometimes a little bit of local help and experience can make a stay in a foreign city unforgettable. So, thank you, to every local, who persistently told me that I should visit ‘Baked & Wired’ instead of ‘Georgetown Cupcakes’. You did not disappoint. I love carrot cake and I love cupcakes. To find the fusion of these two in the form of a way bigger cupcake than the one sold at the store mentioned previously made my day full of exhausting readings not only bearable, but also actually fantastic. As you noticed before, the top 3 things on the list of stuff making me happy are some kind of food. So a cupcake can definitely save my day. And, by the way, I had two again. This might become a thing: Me just always casually ordering double. But hey, I am just trying to integrate into American consumer society. Although, my blood sugar might rebel at one point. I am definitely challenging it at the moment.
Of course, I won’t make this whole article about me visiting two cupcake places. I am not that shallow. Maybe you have already noticed that I like to use metaphors, comparisons and analogies. It is somehow my thing and I like to believe that I am actually good at it. So let’s try this stretch: ‘Georgetown Cupcake’ represents my adventurous, independent and curious side. I love to just stroll around DC and explore new places by myself. Without any former opinion. Without any prejudices. I like to experience it myself without being bound to the borders of someone else’s mindset. On the other hand, locals do know the city’s best places sometimes. Places, which you normally maybe would never pass by. A perfect example of that is the Ethiopian food at 'Zenebech Injera' close to U Street. Although, I love Ethiopian food, I would have overlooked that place probably. But thanks to my American friend Meg, whom I will refer to as M from this point onwards, I had one of the best nights with lovely Injera. Another example is ‘Baked & Wired’. Hidden in a side road of M Street, I wouldn’t have seen it.
I will get to know DC in the combination of these two modes of exploration: Going out without any plan and just be lucky in finding the right spots as well as enjoying the comfort of being guided by trusted locals, who know exactly what is worth to go to. Next stop: 'Maketto' on H Street.