We awoke to pouring rain and chilly temps on May 4th. We only had one outdoor activity planned that day: Arlington Cemetery. Great. 100% outside, and the one place that I really wanted to take some cool pictures. We suited up in the warmest clothes we had (read: not warm at all...it's practically summetime in Alabama, after all), threw on the ponchos, and hopped to it.
It. Was. Miserable.
The rain poured the entire time we were there. The temperature never climbed past 40. My nose was numb. My shoes and socks were squishy. We were soaked to the bone. I took out my camera only once, at the end to document the unpleasantness.
Believe it or not, it was a fabulous experience. You see, that day, the president of Croatia was there to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The roads in the cemetery were lined with dozens and dozens of soldiers, all standing at attention in the pouring rain. The guards at the Tomb did their job as if they never noticed the weather. One of the students remarked, "I guess if they can stand in this and not fuss, I can try harder, too." Worked wonders for my attitude as well.
We heard a real 21-gun salute. I've heard that's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people. It was such a poignant moment that we all stopped to listen. It made me proud to be an American.
After calling Bus Driver Will to crank up the heat, we boarded the bus and headed to lunch. Everyone was a bit more pleasant after drying out and filling up their bellies. Thankfully, the rain stopped during lunch...just in time to spend the rest of the day indoors.
Our next stop was the National Cathedral. None of my pictures here turned out well, which was a bummer. I've still got a lot to learn about photographing such a huge space. It's an absolutely breathtaking church, and I could've spent the whole afternoon exploring in there. No time for that, though, because we had a hot date at the Capitol building.
If I had to choose, I'd say the Capitol is my favorite spot in D.C. Not only is it beautiful, but just think about all that's happened there! Unreal. I took a ton of pictures with my way awesome zoom, so ready yourself.