That leaf-encumbered forest

We feel the darkness of America from afar, but we are still enjoying our last month in London.

This past weekend, we were able to visit two green spaces I have long wanted to see—Richmond Park and Kew Gardens—and see Buckingham Palace for a hot second, Trafalgar Square, and the National Gallery. Photos ensue.

Richmond Park

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Kew Gardens

Kew GardensKew GardensKew GardensKew GardensKew GardensBuckingham Palace/Trafalgar Square/National Gallery

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Husband poses with his favorite painting, “Les Grandes Baigneuses” (Cézanne).

Visiting the District of Columbia

At the beginning of this week, I took a mini-vacation to D.C. to stay with Kelsey and Alex, visit with Mom, and see Grace off for her summer in India and Nepal.

Alex and Kelsey’s apartment is this peaceful, minimalistic oasis in the middle of the city. I was delighted to finally be able to see it!

Kelsey and Alex's apartment

Kelsey and Alex's apartment

Alex at home

I had most of Monday to myself, so I walked to the National Mall,

Capitol building

and spent the majority of my afternoon in the National Gallery (west building). Delighted to see so many paintings I had only seen before in books.

National Gallery

National Gallery

I particularly enjoyed: the exhibit on Rodin’s sculptures, the pre-Raphaelite exhibit, Van Gogh, and noting how very famous paintings are often nonchalantly placed in a strange corner of the room.

National Gallery

National Gallery

On Tuesday, Mom and I got to spend the morning at the U.S. Botanic Gardens, which was delightful, as I now share her great love of plants.

Visit with Mom to the Botanic Gardens

Visit with Mom to the Botanical Gardens

We killed time here while Grace fearlessly navigated the Metro to Georgetown to apply for her visa, and then we met up again and had the famously delicious lunch at the Native American museum.

More thoughts/highlights:

  • The quiet car on the train! The best invention. Also, the ride from here to D.C. is really beautiful. I caught up on my New Yorkers and finished The Gospel According to Woman (Karen Armstrong).
  • Dinner with Eric, Cristina, Emily, and Brian on the night I got in. So fun and lively!
  • Dinner with Patrick, shortly after Mom and Grace arrived. Just adding to the list of family time, and surreptitiously celebrating his birthday.
  • I don’t think I could make it in D.C., but I’m glad that Kelsey and Alex aren’t very far away, and I love their sweet, streamlined lifestyle there. Visiting their apartment felt a bit like visiting an upscale resort (the rooftop pool! You cannot even imagine this pool/deck area). Love those two so very much; they are perfect hosts.

And now I am looking forward to seeing (almost) everyone again in June, for the family excursion to Hatteras! It cannot come too quickly.