Monday, June 4, 2012

Until We Meet Again

Day 4 and my last full day there, I slept in until 8:30.  Seriously.  I know most of my readers just fell over in shock but I swear between all the go, go, going and the good food and company and late nights my body decided that if I was going to go to bed late, it was still going to try to get it's 7-8 hours of sleep.

When I finally did wake up, Little Helen had gone out for a run so I got some coffee then jumped in the shower.  Once she was back, we decided not to go out for any major sightseeing.  I wanted to do some shopping but I didn't want to go to a mall or a department store.  The thing is most of the farmer's markets/crafty type things seem to happen on Sundays in that area - except one - Eastern Market.  Eastern Market is the DC areas oldest continually operating public food market.  Ya'll.  I was so enthralled I didn't take one single photo.  But to describe it consists of an indoor actual sort of supermarket with some pre-made foods plus a whole outside farmer's market PLUS a whole craft/flea market.  We were there for several hours.  It was so much fun.

While we were in that area Little Helen suggested that we go eat at Cava Mezze, which is a restaurant that serves Greek tapas - so the small plate theme continued for us.  Once again, I took no pictures.  Maybe I was too hungry but trust me when I say every single thing we had was delicious!

When we left there we decided we had time to do one sightseeing sort of thing so we got off the metro at the Smithsonians and went to the National Portrait Gallery.  Once there, we decided to take a tour being offered because the place is giant.  We learned some very interesting things about early American artists and saw how art progressed from the 19th century into the 20th.  If you have a chance you should definitely go to this gallery - there are actually some paintings you'll recognize!

Fran, there was a huge exhibit on loan to the museum from your country!  We got to see some of it but no photos allowed.

If you've seen the movie Glory then you'll understand what this sculpture is based on.  It is a tribute to the Civil War's first all black volunteer company and their caucasion leader Robert Gould Shaw. The original of this is on the Boston Commons.  This one has been lent by the artists family to the museum and it is spectacular in it's detail.

Thomas Jefferson!

John Quincy Adams!

Hello George!

When I say you could walk right up to these paintings and touch them, I'm not kidding.  Not that I did that or anything, I was just fascinated with the thought that I could.  So glad we decided to stop there.

We left there, metroed back to Little Helen's place, and had time to get cleaned up before we had to go meet my Spark Friends.

On our last night we usually choose a nicer restaurant or one with a great atmosphere and dress up a little.  Fun!  For this night we chose to eat at Circa.  Circa started at just one location and has branched out.  As soon as we got inside I was glad Little Helen suggested this location as the atmosphere was fabulous.  They sort of specialize in fancy cocktails so I tried a Blood Orange Martini as you know I had to stick to my Saturday night martini plan!  It may be the best martini I've ever had.  So good that I wanted another, but I refrained.  I found the food to be delicious as well though one of the girls did not like her main course, which is just a shame :(

This was my starter:  a short rib skewer with hunks of grilled polenta in between sprinkled with blue cheese.  They need to make this a main course it was so good!

 Gotta get in some greens - delicious spinach salad with all sorts of stuff in it.

I had a wild mushroom ravioli stuffed with goat cheese for my main course and once again, completely forgot to take a photo - but it was yummy! In the long run it should be all about the company anyway, right?

After a long relaxing dinner it was time to say our farewells as we were all heading our separate ways on Sunday and wouldn't have time to see each other.

I love my Spark Friends no matter how long it is between seeing them.  It's hard to explain to people how you can get so friendly and actually attached to people you've met online.  When our friend who has had the babies had her first one, the rest of us pitched in and sent a gift to her baby shower.  When she tried to explain to the people there who we were, one of them said, "It's like a grown-ass penpal!"  Yep, old fashioned penpals all grown up and modernized. Women I am glad to have in my life.

Until we meet again friends!


  1. Helen what a fun trip you've had. I enjoyed reading your posts about it. And I'm honored you even had a small thought about me at the Dutch galleries exhibition :)

    I find it hard to explain internet friendships. People who don't have them find it hard to understand. But to me they are important. We may never meet in real life but I am so glad I found you on the internet. You've helped me plenty of times with questions and I appreciate your friendship.

  2. I would hit up a farmers market over a mall any day of the week - love it!

    I had to laugh at the "grown-ass penpal" that is exactly it - even though my husband doesn't think I can call you my friend because we've never met - he couldn't be more wrong!

    Glad you had such a great trip!!

  3. I love you, Helen! :-) I'm so glad you and Julie got to visit and we were all able to spend time together again with Little Helen (LOL @ that name). I enjoyed our laughs and convos as usual. And we made some great restaurant selections. Yum Yum.

  4. "It's hard to explain to people how you can get so friendly and actually attached to people you've met online." - Actually, you are preaching to the choir here, and I think most of your readers actually DO understand this one, lol! Glad you had such a nice time reconnecting with your friends.

  5. I have enjoyed your travelblog, Helen. What a fun trip you've had! Thank you for sharing it with us....

  6. I saw this link and thought you might like this dish - she's got some other paleo recipes too:

  7. It's so true that you really can get to know someone online without ever meeting in person - and it makes meeting them add another dimension to a relationship. So different than if you meet someone in person first and then start corresponding through emails/blogs.

  8. I've met so many great people online like you and Shelley! They are all so lucky to get to hang out with Real Helen. Glad you had a great trip!!

  9. I have so enjoyed your travel posts Helen. And that market sounds FANTASTIC!!! I love the online friendships I've made through my's odd if you think about it, most don't know my last name, yet know a whole lot about me and my family's lives.