View Full Version : Tourist Tips for DC!

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06-06-2011, 11:08 PM
I met our very own PRLady this morning, who is FAB and tried to talk me into moving here.
I spent most of the day at the National Gallery of Art, I took 2 of their guided tours and had the buffet lunch in the restaurant. It's all Italian food in honor of their Canaletto exhibit. You know I can't post without mentioning food. :lol:
The vanilla custard with honey tasted exactly like the egg custard my mom used to make from scratch, but they were extremely puny so I had to eat 3 of them. Hopefully nobody noticed this. Or that I scarfed up about a pound of the arugula salad.
I went back to the Museum of the American Indian. I'd been there already but needed to go back to check out the gift shop. They have some beautiful things in there. I wavered over the brightly colored Pendeleton blankets, I saw one that would look great in my bedroom. But it was so hot out today, just looking at wool blankets made me start sweating. I ended up getting a funky gourd bowl, I plan to put it on the bookcase next to my front door, it will be handy to hold my keys.
I have one quibble w/DC (apart from the perky joggers who make me feel slothful) Why do none of the Smithsonian museums have late nights? The people who live here could visit after work instead of having to go on the weekends when they are packed. And tourists who are at loose ends in the evening could get some more sight-seeing in.
I am back at my hotel while I decide what to do for dinner, they have a wine reception every evening and so I am sipping a sangria. I will only have one glass tonight, however, so I am in no danger of getting lost again.
I was chatting w/ another guest when I came in and he recommended a place called Pizza Paradiso, which is a short walk from here. So I think that's where I'll end up eventually.
If anyone wants to do dinner tomorrow, post here, I will check in before I set off for the day. I'm going to check out the Hillwood estate, and I have the bizarre troll ballet in the evening.
I do NOT want to go home. :)

06-07-2011, 12:14 AM
I have one quibble w/DC (apart from the perky joggers who make me feel slothful) Why do none of the Smithsonian museums have late nights?

It's a cost thing. However, several of the most popular Smithsonian museums are open till 7:30 PM during the peak tourist season except on days when special events are scheduled. And they are open every day except Christmas. Your tax dollars at work!

06-07-2011, 12:54 AM
OK, I have to ask, what is a troll ballet? :confused:

06-07-2011, 02:11 AM
Royal Danish Ballet's "A Folk Tale"
I have never seen it and am not even sure if they have ever performed it in this country. The plot sounds quite bizarre: from what I can make out, 2 babies, one human and one troll (I am NOT making this up) are switched at birth. Eventually the real girl raised by trolls is rescued by the hero, there also seems to be a character in it who is manic-depressive .
I will review after I see it.
I figure it can't possibly be stranger than RDB's "The Lesson", in which a psycho ballet instructor murders his student.
At least I hope not. :lol:

Pizza Paradiso = :swoon:

06-07-2011, 04:35 PM
I am staying one more night. Whee! Anyone for dinner on Wednesday??????

06-07-2011, 05:10 PM
I do NOT want to go home. :)

My dear, you just missed me and BR having a fast dinner....at Pizza Paradiso. I'm not kidding, we were there til 7 or so.

You're fab, too.

And some museums are open late on Thursday nights, or at least they used to be until federal budget cuts. I'm heading to Philly tomorrow (there's an obscure Jewish holiday and I'm off til Friday morning) or would take you up on the Wednesday offer.

06-07-2011, 08:09 PM
Any other takers for dinner with Marge on Wednesday night? I plan to go, and we're thinking of either Jaleo or Zaytinya so we can graze on multiple small plates. The more the merrier.

Debbie S
06-07-2011, 08:35 PM
Any other takers for dinner with Marge on Wednesday night? I plan to go, and we're thinking of either Jaleo or Zaytinya so we can graze on multiple small plates. The more the merrier.Oh, I love Zaytinya! And I've been wanting to try Jaleo. But I have a skating club board meeting tomorrow night - moved up a week b/c there are about 3 different crises brewing with our upcoming competition. So I will have to pass. :(

06-07-2011, 09:07 PM
I am really really tempted now... but will have to check my schedule at home.

06-08-2011, 04:32 AM
I will check back in the AM and see what everyone wants to do.
I had a most enjoyable day, I finally got to the Hillwood Estate. It's fab, but a bit overwhelming, actuallly - there are so many beautiful things it's kind of hard to process. I hadn't realized they had 2 Faberge eggs there. (We used to have a pile of them in NYC, at the Forbes Gallery, but they returned them to Russia awhile back. Hmph.)
I spent at least 2 hours prowling around the house, and I really wanted to check out the gardens, but it was much too hot to walk around outdoors for long. So I retired to the cafe for a cold drink.

I cruised past the White House, just so i could tell my dad I'd been there. I saw a big motorcade drive in, some of the limos had German flags on - so what VIP is here from Germany? I am on vaction, which means I have not looked at a newspaper or watched the news.

Tonight I had the troll ballet, aka "A Folk Tale"
I can't do any gushing, so I give you fair warning: my review will be full of snark.:lol:
The Kennedy center was crawling with secret service guys with dogs, which made me uneasy - was there a bomb threat? It turned out that Queen Margaret (Margarethe?) was in attendance.
I paid only $29 for my 8th row orchestra seat, this is because I huffed and puffed at the poor woman who sold me the ticket. I complained how unfair it was that they had offered a discount for the Royal Danish if you bought tickets for the NBC at the same time, and that was unfair because I'd already bought my NBC tickets by the time they offered the discount. Probably I wasn't entitled to any discounts and the woman just gave me one because she thought I was a crazy New Yorker.
Anyway, I felt decidedly out of place when I took my seat, I was surrounded by tall blond men in tuxedos, and tall blond women in gowns. It transpired that they were staff at the Danish embassy. Luckily another tourist, a chatty Japanese woman, sat next to me and struck up a conversation at the intermission. We had to whisper, though, because when we started snarking on Act I, we got death stares from the Danes!

Act I:
Miss Birthe( Alba Nadal), who is not quite right in the head, is having a luncheon in the woods, right near a hill that is rumored to be a troll haven. The local farmers dance a bit, and some professional dancers arrive, they do a bit of dancing also. Nobody is in pointe shoes and the scene is mostly mime.
Birthe's fiance, Junker Ove ( Marcin Kapinski) turns up. He doesn't seem thrilled at his upcoming marriage to Birthe, but you can't really blame him. This ballet takes place before Lithium was invented. Birthe wears a bizarre riding outfit of sorts that put me in mind of Siouxsie Sue, circa 1982, and there is a bit where she swings from a saddle as if she is auditioning for Cirque du Soleil.
It gets dark and everyone retreats to the house except Junker, who has one of those "I want to be alone" ballet moments. (In most ballets, these moments turn out to be a really bad idea)
Ta da! The hill opens up and the beautiful Hilda ( Susanne Grinder), and the scary sorceress Muri appear. Muri is a woman, but I wasn't sure of that at first, she has some seriously hairy legs.
Hilda goes up to Junker and offers him the Goblet of Fire, and a slip of paper comes out that says "Harry Potter". Oops, wrong story! Hilda offers him a goblet, but Junker pours the contents on the ground and fire appears. He refuses to give the goblet back, and Muri and Hilda disappear.
A bunch of scary elf women come out and chase Junker and rip off his shirt, as the curtain falls it seems he has gone bonkers.
The set was actually v cool and rather spooky, all black and white and grey. Everything goes royal blue when the hill opens up, and then orange and brown when the elves appear. And the music was rather nice.

Act II
In the troll's cave, the set is kind of cool and resembles something out of the Addams family. Muri's 2 sons are both in love with Hilda, but Muri says she has to marry the older one, Diderick. Hilda prefers the younger one, Viderik.
I didn't notice this in act I, but the trolls have long tails like a rat. Ugh!
Hilda takes a snooze and has a dream of her mother taking care of her as a baby. Unfortunately her mom was swilling something out of that goblet while rocking baby Hilda, and fell asleep. Trolls switch a troll baby for Hilda and snatch the goblet.
(I imagine Hilda's mom had quite a shock when she woke up and discovered her baby had grown a tail)
Hilda wakes up and a lively party begins. All sorts of creatures appear: trolls, bugs, children w/2 heads, and a giant man with a detachable head. One guest drops in via a trapeze, putting me in mind of Cirque du Soleil again.
Everyone except Hilda and Videric drink too much and pass out, and so they sneak off.

The farmers are hanging around the estate, and Hilda and Viderik turn up. They don't seem to realize that Viderick is a short, very hairy creature with a tail. Hilda dances for them, to much appreciation, but then Junker turns up.
He seems demented and is still shirtless. This is not a pretty sight as Kapinski is quite a scrawny guy and does not look good topless.
He still has the goblet, though, Hilda recognizes it from her dream. She dances for him and he comes to his senses. They realize they are soulmates.
Back at the house, Birthe is having a manic episode, she dances insanely in a corset and whips her maid with a riding crop. Hilda appears with the goblet and the truth is revealed: she is the true daughter of the house and Birthe is not mentally ill, she is a troll. (It is never explained why, if she is a troll, she does not have a tail and furry legs like the other trolls)
Birthe gets kicked out of the house, which pisses her off until she meets Viderik. They realize they are siblings, Birthe releases her inner troll and does a charming troll dance.
Junker and Hilda get married and we finally get to see some actual dancing, although not from them. There is a pretty pas de sept (4 ladies and 3 men)
The end.

There is very little dancing in this ballet, it is almost all mime, and it is unusual, but I have to say, I kind of enjoyed it. The sets are nice, ditto for the music. The little dancing that takes place is typical Bournonville: fast, intricate steps, quick changes of direction, and arms held down low. (How DO the men get the height they do with their arms held like that?)
The 4 men at the wedding scene were all v good, nice high jetes and snappy legs.

06-08-2011, 05:59 PM
Angela Merkel is in town.

06-08-2011, 08:04 PM
Much as I'd love to join you for dinner tonight, I can't face going downtown in this miserable heat.

06-08-2011, 08:28 PM
Unfortunately, I have an appt tonight. And Troll Ballet tomorrow night!!!!! Sounds very weird.

06-09-2011, 01:10 AM
It IS weird..but also kind of fun. There is a small exhibit about Bournonville in the lobby near the gift shop. Have a look, I found it very informative. And don't snark about the ballet if you are surrounded by tall blonds. :lol: They are also selling a nice booklet about the RDB, it was only $10 so I said what the hell and got it. I was very peeved about the Cuban Ballet book they were selling for $25. But that's because I got it off Amazon last year when it was $60. Grrr!
There are some costumes from the ballet on display, there were also costumes on display when the Cuban ballet was performing, is this the usual thing at the KC? I think it's a very nice touch. All they ever have on display at Lincoln Center are the same old opera costumes.
I had a fantastic last day in DC. No joggers in sight, I guess a temperature of 100 degrees will do that!
I started off at the DAR museum, someone had recommended it to me on my last visit. I enjoyed it so much I HAD to pay a return visit. I did the self-guided tour, but just as I was about to leave, one of the docents started a tour, so I went back for that.
I was strolling around a bit, slowly due to the extreme heat, and found a demented store called the Chocolate Moose. The type of place filled with all sorts of things you didn't know you needed until you saw them in the shop. I didn't buy anything in there, but obviously the heat had affected my brain in some way. I passed a Barnes and Noble, and stuck my head in there with the intention of cooling off for a few minutes.
Instead I let one of the salespeople talk me into purchasing a Nook.
I ended up at the Newseum. Thanks to everyone who suggested this, it is fantastic. I wished I could have spent more time here. I was v. pissed off - I was on line to do the "be a broadcaster" thing, where you select your background and get filmed doing the news. I was planning to be Marge Simpson, in search of voids in DC. But then they announced the museum was about to close, and I didn't get to be immortalized on videotape. :(
I had a fabulous dinner with acraven at Zaytinya.
Thank you to all the FSU-ers who made my vacation so fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!
PS Potbelly Sandwich has very tasty oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

06-09-2011, 01:24 AM
Glad you had such a good time. I've enjoyed the thread. :)