Washington, DC – A post three years later.

Three summers ago, when I was nearly a junior in college and well-immersed into my research lab at the psychology department of my university, I attended the American Psychological Association conference in Washington, DC in August 2011. While I was excited to present my research poster, I admit that I cared way more about actual sightseeing. So, I got together with a friend who was interning at the capital with a Wisconsin senator and she took me around to see a little bit of the city as well as a tour through the capital building.
Our first stop was dinner at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a self-acclaimed Washington landmark. It’s one of those places you have to visit. Countless celebrities, including Obama himself, have eaten there so it’s pretty exciting to enjoy the same atmosphere that the greats do. It was super crowded and small when we got there, but we somehow got two seats together at the bar. We scarfed down chili dogs and chili cheese fries like nobody’s business, and when I asked my friend what she was doing to me, her reply was, “Ruining you.” And I’d do it all over again.

In the early evening hours we walked around the city a little, looking at all the important buildings that control our lives.

The White House

The next day we toured the capital and saw all the rooms that control our lives.

Inside the main entrance
The ceiling of the dome

I took my own little side-trip to Georgetown Cupcake, AKA DC Cupcakes from TLC! My excitement immediately died upon approaching the actual shop and I saw the line down the block! But I tarried onward.

Oh heck no.
I had to walk all the way back to my hotel because I messed up the bus routes… and this was the result. Whatever, they still tasted amazing! Just wish I took a picture before, though!

At night we took a bus-top tour of all the city with the beautiful buildings lit up.

The capital
Washington Monument
Jefferson memorial
Lincoln memorial
The White House

The next day I toured a little bit more in the sweltering August heat.

Main hall in the Natural History Museum

There’s a gorgeous gem room in the Natural History Museum that’ll make your boyfriend or husband run screaming.

I’ll take one, please.

One of my favorite rooms was the natural gemstone room. When I was a kid I used to collect rocks and gems and wanted to be a geologist. I still have a soft spot for these beautiful stones and try to learn about them as much as I can.

My second favorite part of the museum was seeing the actual Hope Diamond!

I don’t like the setting, though!
Harry Winston

The best part of the entire museum was my chance encounter with Daniel Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis!… ‘s clothes from the Harry Potter movies. I was just chilling in a bathroom stall when I looked at the sign on the door that a spot near the food court was hosting two display cases with their costumes from the movies. Naturally I booked it right over there!

I continued my day of sightseeing with the Washington Monument, the WWII memorial, the Lincoln memorial and the Vietnam memorial, up close and personal. A couple days after I’d been there the monument cracked a little bit due to an earthquake or some kind of storm!

The World War II memorial
The World War II memorial
The World War II memorial
The Lincoln memorial
Man, he really was tall!
The Vietnam Memorial
The Vietnam Memorial
The old groundskeeper’s house

Finally, on my last day, I did what I actually came to DC to do: presented my poster at the APA conference. Unfortunately, I had a bad time slot and most of the visitors were already gone by that day – nobody came up to view my poster! As proud as I was of my presentation, it was honestly a waste of time and my least valuable conference of all that I’ve done. However, I learned a lot about our nation’s capital and myself as I experienced solo sightseeing for the first time in my life with many opportunities to come.

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