Vanessa in DC

Vanessa flew in from Chicago last night and is staying with me for a weekend in DC.  I think she had planned the trip in hopes of seeing the famous cherry blossoms but, alas, the weather has been cold enough that almost none of the trees are in bloom.  At least the sun finally came out and warmed things up long enough that it finally felt like spring!

We started off with a visit to the Impressionist collection of the National Gallery of Art.

Then we took a detour through the contemporary wing of the National Gallery, only to find that it had been completely emptied for renovations.  At least the spacey under-ground walkway was cool.

We consoled ourselves for the lack of modern art by visiting the John Singer Sargent room, with his lovely recumbent women (some of my all-time favorites).

(one of my all-time favorites)

By then it was time for a break.  The museum cafes were packed with tourists, so we walked over to Paul bakery and enjoyed a pastry and a sandwich on the sidewalk.

From there we split up:  Vanessa took off to meet up with our mutual friend Hugues (we all knew each other from school in France) and visit the National Building Museum, the Botanical Garden, the Library of Congress, and some basilica that I’d never heard of before.  I joined some friends for a birthday picnic on the lawn in front of the Smithsonian castle (which was a lot of fun though also eventually very chilly) before going in to my office to work on some transition items that had been worrying me.

When Vanessa and Hugues finished their site-seeing, we met back up and headed out to Eden Center in Arlington, where all the best Vietnamese restaurants are.  We managed to get a table at my favorite place, ordered pho and spring rolls and that addictive caramelized chicken, and talked until the place closed down around us.  

Vanessa and me
Beef pho
Caramelized chicken with ginger and chills

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