We slept very well in a good bed last night and only woke up at around half past six. Not too bad!
Todaywe’ll go to the Gettysburg National Military Park. Here we will, if we’re to believe the information we gathered beforehand, learn more about the crucial battles that took place here.
But first we have to get dressed and get the suitcases ready to be put back in to the car.
And then of course breakfast. It was a small breakfast buffet, but there was also a chef ready to cook pancakes and eggs to order. In the corner there were two waffle irons where you could make your own waffles. It all tasted great.
Once we put the luggage in the car, we thought it a good idea to get ourselves some bread and meat for when we’re on the road today. There’s a Giant right behind our hotel, but a little further down the road there was also a Wal-mart. Miriam wanted to go to the latter… But that was the wrong choice, because it was really small and didn’t have bread. So back to the Giant after all, where she got a loaf of bread and of course something to put on it. Even though we only just finished breakfast, lunch is arranged!
Later than intended we finally got on the road. Trying to find the Military Park. We traversed Gettysburg and quickly noted that the entire town is centered around the Civil War. But it does look cosy and such.
We arrived at the visitors centre, or so we assumed. Unfortunately this was (permanently) closed, and we were pointed to the new centre.
So we drove to the other side!
The new Visitors Centre was a recent devfelopment and very nice. Here you’ll also find the museum, Cyclorama and the film ‘Birth of Freedom’.
We decided, as per the suggestion from the national park service, to first to the movie, Cyclorama and museum before starting the elf-guided-auto-tour. We consciously chose to do the self-guided tour, so we can decide ourselves what has our interest, and what doesn’t. There’s also the possibility to join a bus tour. Or you can hire an official guide, as long as you pay, who’ll drive you around in your own car to show you stuff and tell you the stories. But neither of those had our fancy, to be honest.
Because just driving around by yourself is not nice either, so we purchased a guided tour CD in the museum bookstore, which guides you along the battlefields in the order of the battles, providing the information as appropriate. Added bonus: you can turn the guide off when you’ve had enough…!
But like we said, we first went to the movie and Cyclorama (360 º panoramic painting). Both were impressive!
Too bad there will always be people who lack any form of respect (and there are too many of those), and have to be obnoxious and bothersome, spoiling it for the rest. If you’re not interested… then next time don’t buy a ticket and stay outside!
After the movie and Cyclorama wewent to the museum. That too was very impressive. Before the vacation we watched the mini-series North and South. Aside from the fact that Miriam loves the series, it also gives a reasonable accurate (though romanticized) view of the years from the Mexican war through the Civil War. Obviously things have been left out and modified to fit the script! But a lot obviously stuck with the kids, since they recognized several items, places and events from the TV series! The museum was a lot larger than we’d expected and there was enough to be seen.
Before we left the visitors centre we went to the rangers in the back to get the junior rangers program for Samantha. She’s put in quite an effort (and it is very educational but also a lot of fun), But she really had to do too much to be able to finish and get a badge. So that did unfortunately not fly.
After that it really was time for Wayne (our self-guiding-guide) to lead us around the battlefields! The first thing that strikes anyone is the simply enormous amount of plaques and monuments there. Every army, corps, division, brigade and regiment from every state that fought in this brother-war had a memorial there. One even more grand or beautiful than the next!
We haven’t seen all of them, that is almost impossible.
To give you an idea of the enormity of the site, we’ll quickly review the main points of the tour. That’ll also show you where we cheated… sssshhhh, don’t tell Wayne!
2 Eternal Light Peace Memorial
3 Oak Ridge
Here the most intense fighting of the entire war took place.The only Wheatfield with a capital ‘W’. To have fought there was a badge of honor by itself.
15 High Water Mark
After the High Water Mark we left the park and called it quits. Time to visit a few of the stores!
We have seen a lot of nice things, but barely bought anything. I was looking for a few special items, but I just couldn’t find what I was looking for, unfortunately!
We decided that it now really was time to head for Washington. That’s about 90 minutes from Gettysburg. On the way we’d make a stopover at Hancock Fabrics, as it is barely off-route. We thought we’d also be able to grab a bite while there. It was a good idea, but once there we quickly decided NOT to do that THERE. The neighborhood wasn’t very suitable for being touristy. Miriam did go look inside Hancocks, but was quickly desillusioned. In the mean time I waited in the car with the kids. Miriam now agrees that shops like Jo-ann’s or Hobby Lobby are better. She still though that maybe the neighborhood had something to do with it, but I quickly put her straight on that one!
Quickly out of here without any purchases!
We quickly drove though Washington to Arlington, where we have a hotel.
While traversing DC we had a lot of fun. Our LeaLea (TomTom with Limburg accent!) was having more and more trouble pronouncing the street names. At one point it was so bad that it really sounded like our LeaLea had drank a bit to much. At some point we renamed it TaleaLea! Really, we giggled a lot! (sorry Lea…).
So, the coming two nights we’ll be staying at the Hyatt Arlington, just outside Washington DC. But if we’d walk across the bridge, we’d directly enter DC. So it’s no drama. Besides, the Metro is around the corner!
We already decided in the car that we’d be using Valet parking. There’s only $ 3 difference between Valet and self parking. So why make it difficult for yourself whenyou can also go for the easy way!
We have a nice room, and thanks to my Hyatt Gold Club card, also access to conciÃ«rge level!
But now first some food, because we still hadn’t done that. We opted for Ruby Thuesday since it is across the street from our hotel.
The food tasted good, but our server made a mess of things. The kids got broccoli instead of fries. And Miriam’s jacket potatoe had turned in to mashed potatoe. It wasn’t the kitchen’s fault, she just didn’t take the order correctly. And refilling too didn’t go well. It isn’t nice to say,but she was simply a bit lazy… But I am sure she noticed when she got her tip …
In the hotel we worked a bit on the blog and shared Internet access. And for now, it has been enough!Weather in Washington DC at time of posting: 29 °C, few clouds, wind 180° at 7km/hr.