Weddings are a great excuse for travel. Kirk’s good friend from college got hitched last month in DC, so we stayed for a long weekend to sightsee our nation’s capitol.

A few notes + photos from our trip:

Union Station

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The White House

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Washington Monument

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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Freedom Plaza

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Lincoln Memorial

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Thomas Jefferson Memorial

This monument is off the beaten path, much less crowded, and offers a lovely view across the tidal basin to the Washington Monument. We sat on the steps watching the cyclists and paddle boaters.

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Georgetown

Poked around here for coffee, and strolled the tree-lined residential back streets.

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Hirshorn Museum

Small modern/contemporary art museum I could have spent more time photographing outside than looking at the exhibits inside.

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Bike Share

(The one thing I’d definitely recommend doing when visiting DC is the one thing I have no photos of. Oh well, words must suffice.)

The Capital Bike Share program allowed us to see the city faster and more cheaply than walking, riding buses or using taxis. Not that we had to see everything, it’s just that attractions are so far apart you spend a lot of time just getting there. Bikes cut that time into a fraction.

Access to the bikes costs $8 for 24 hours. I say access, as opposed to renting, because as soon as you take one out, the clock starts ticking: You’ve got 30 minutes to return it to another station before extra fees start racking up.

Kirk and I made a game of seeing how far we could ride — to the next monument, museum, restaurant — before our time ran out. About 12:50 pm on Sunday, a pair of red bikes went flying down the dirt paths of the National Mall, dodging pigeons and iPad photo-taking tourists, racing to 14th & G St’s bike share station. Eleven blocks to go and 5 minutes remained on our rental period. We ended up missing the 30-minute window by about 30 seconds (dang it!).

After returning the bikes, we strolled into Old Ebbitt Grill — wooden bar, gold light fixtures, shirt and tie wearing servers — hot, sweaty and still panting, just in time for our lunch reservation. I like working up an appetite.

Racing across town isn’t standard protocol for most bike share users — we just found it fun. Plenty of our jaunts were slower and more relaxed. Both ways, we loved using the bikes.

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