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March 28, 2007

A day at the Mall

A very pleasant day today. Reasonably cool -- upper 60s with a nice breeze, but quite warm when the sun was out, which was the case for most of the day.

Like yesterday, Evan had a great time in the city. There were so many things for him to look at -- the tall Metro escalators, the smiling passers-by, the fast subway cars whizzing past him on the platform, and a big lawn to play on (otherwise known as The Mall.)

I started off the day with a short run in the beautiful neighborhood around the hotel, headed northwest past the embassies, then left into Dumbarton Oaks Park. What a wonderful place for a run. Only a few steps into the park, as you descend a big hill, you suddenly feel like you're miles from the city. The noise dissipates, and what had been an urban run suddenly turns into a cross-country trail. It made me wish we had anything remotely comparable at home and nostalgic for my two years living in the DC area.

By the time I returned to the hotel, Evan was up from his nap, and we headed to lunch at Five Guys at the National Place Food Court near Metro Center. We'd read about this place on the Internet. Its burgers and fries are rated as some of the best in DC. We don't know about that, but it was very good, and very cheap, and very greasy. This isn't fine dining. But the small cheeseburger -- not particularly small -- was around $3, and the small fries, plenty big enough for Janene and me to split, were about that as well. For about $12 between us, we had a delicious, not very healthy meal.

March 27, 2007

Along for the ride

When you're traveling with a baby, you're never anonymous. Everywhere you go, you get smiles in your direction. Today was a beautiful upper-70s March day in D.C. -- the sort of gorgeous early spring day that's fairly common there but really, really rare in Chicago -- and Evan was wearing his Hawaiian shirt and jeans shorts. Janene was out for a walk this morning with him while I was working in a cafe, and she reported how many people stopped out of the blue to say how cute he looked in the stroller. He's a conversation starter.

A baby also has a way of turning the mundane into something exciting, and the enthusiasm becomes infectious. Who knew that a laminated menu or a tassled pillow in the hotel could entertain for so long. It's a lot of fun.

There are drawbacks, too. At about 7:30, we were enjoying a lovely walk on a beautiful evening, strolling up Embassy Row, and were forced to cut our night short because we know we have to get back to the hotel before Evan falls asleep in the stroller instead of his Heavenly Crib®. We didn't want to go in -- Du Pont Circle is filled with great bookstores (both used and new), interesting restaurants, and nice neighborhoods for a stroll -- but an early evening is a small price to pay for not having to endure long stretches of crying later.

We're also learning how much energy one needs simply to do anything with a baby. We purposely kept the itinerary light on this trip, yet we've never been so exhausted while traveling -- not after a day of walking up and down hills in San Francisco, not after a day of dodging Italian drivers on the Amalfi Coast, not ever. At the end of the day, it certainly feels like we've done a full day's worth of traveling and then some -- even if I don't necessarily have pages worth of materials worth writing about.

March 26, 2007

In DC, and very tired

Traveling is so much more tiring than it used to be, in our pre-parent days. Everything takes so much longer. There is so much more stuff. You don't just get in a taxi -- you have to load the trunk with the stroller and all of your bags, then strap in the car seat and make sure it's totally secure before you can go on your way. Airplane flights, subway rides, trips down escalators...it all requires multiple steps.

The flight to DC was uneventful, but by the time we got to our room at the Westin Embassy Row -- in a beautiful neighborhood two blocks from DuPont Circle, though the hotel badly needs renovating -- we were completely spent.

Evan, however, was ready to go. After a short rest in the hotel, we took a walk to Luigi's, where Evan became the third generation of Kessler to eat there (it was a favorite college hangout for my dad). The food's not bad -- old school, traditional Italian with red checkered tablecloths -- but if that's your reason for going there, you're missing the point. It's just a great, classic Washington spot that's been operating since the 40s, and I try to stop in every time we're in town.

March 07, 2007

Kid blogging

The key activity involved with any travel blog is traveling. Since Evan's been born, we haven't done any to speak of. But we're going to try to get back on that horse later this month, when we head to our nation's capital for a quick four-day jaunt.

It's not yet clear whether traveling with a seven-month-old will allow us to do enough interesting things worth writing about. And by interesting, I mean interesting from a travel perspective. I don't want this to become a place to describe the latest adorable thing that Evan's figured out how to do (though, wait until you hear about this one...).

We'll give it a shot. Back in late March.