Friday, June 22, 2007

Da Udens Visit D.C.

Stacy and I managed to squeeze in quite a few amazing sites as I wait in anxious anticipation for the conference to begin. We arrived with relatively few problems (missing luggage and malfunctioning trains aside) to find beautiful weather in our nation's capital.

Recently, I purchased a National Park Service passport (ignoring the fact it is probably aimed at nine year-olds) and we have found it a treasure map leading us to unique gems throughout the country. Using it, we found the Old Post Office where we toured the clock tower that is the home for the Bells of Congress. Another happy accident occurred later when we wandered by when the bell ringers were practicing!

Our other activities have included inadvertently merging with a protest group and unknowingly meeting a high-ranking official in the administration (mutually exclusive events, thankfully). We went on an unforgettable tour of The White House and the Old Executive Office Building escorted by our friend Dave and his friend who was an amazing tour guide. Currently, The White House website has a picture of two violinists performing for the president in the East Room. We were there earlier that day and the room was set up for this performance. Look at the painting of George Washington on the right and you might be interested to learn that it was the Gilbert Stuart painting saved by Dolley Madison, who rolled it up and took it with her when The White House was burned by the British in 1814. Well, hello Dolley!

Two more passport stamps later (Ford's Theatre and the Peterson House), I successfully completed my mission and kept my cover intact while learning a ton of interesting history at the International Spy Museum. If we have time, I would love to return to do Operation Spy, where we have a "real" mission to complete!

Check back tomorrow to learn what will happened during the first full day of the conference!

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