While I had a friend to stay with in DC, I did spent the majority of this leg of my trip alone. And you know what? I enjoyed it. And I was fine. My DC experience began with a twilight tour of the city on a roofless double decker bus. I arrived at my friend’s apartment around 4:30 after successfully managing to navigate the insanity that is DC city traffic.

Thankfully, Tracy’s building had underground parking. One of the funnier moments of getting to his apartment was the fact that you can’t engage the elevator without sticking the odd plastic key in it. I stood there for a full 20 seconds staring at the button wondering why the elevator wasn’t working. Thankfully, someone else got in and stuck his key in. It was an “Ah-Ha” moment for sure.

Tracy’s apartment was beautiful. The views were stunning. I took one of my favorite pictures relaxing up on his roof top. And after driving in the city, I needed that unwind moment.

I had to take the metro down to the meeting place of the tour. Now, I’ve lived in a major city before, Boston, and I’ve taken the subway in NYC before. But the metro in DC was a little different. You have to swipe your card to EXIT the station too. I felt like Arthur Weasley taking the London tube for the first time with Harry Potter – a wizard in a muggle world. I laughed, asked for help, and told the metro attendant that I was from Florida. I asked for help a few times during this portion of the trip and was always assisted with a smile.

The tour was amazing. I am so glad I decided to sign up for it. While I was by myself, I was also in a group of about 40 other people. There were people to take my picture in front of monuments if I asked them to, or I could just take my scenic shots and mind my own business. I had a slight moment of panic because Tracy was supposed to join me, but as he’s a doctor, he wasn’t able to get out of work on time. But you know what? I was fine. That’s been an ongoing theme of this trip. Something happens that causes me a moment of kerfuffle – and then I’m fine.

The only negative I’d say about the tour was the tour guide’s rampant passionate obsession with FDR. We stopped at the FDR memorial and spent almost an hour there. It was our longest stop and it was overkill. He obviously couldn’t tell when he was losing a crowd. While I appreciate his enthusiasm and passion for the subject material, it was overkill.

I will say there’s nothing more ominous and chilling than driving by the Arlington cemetery at night. The rows upon rows of headstones, the biting chilling air, the silence, it was something else.

After departing the tour, I met up with Tracy and his friend at this bar on U Street.

On Saturday, I woke up and made my way down to the National Zoo. It was a bit of a hike. I took the scenic route through Meridian park. The zoo was hot. Even with living in Florida I found the heat and humidity a bit much. I had planned on taking the metro down to the national mall, but the heat was killing me. I didn’t want to walk another mile and a half in the heat. So, I grabbed an Uber. That was another first for me.

I spent a few hours walking through the Lincoln memorial, Washington monument, the mall, down by the Capitol. I did take a break by the Washington monument, climbed myself up into a tree and enjoyed a patriotic popsicle. I grabbed the metro back to Tracy’s and got ready to go out to dinner.

Tracy was an awesome host. We had a great dinner at Busboys and Poets. It’s part bookstore part restaurant. It’s a very culturally immersed restaurant. Tracy and I met up with his friend Pete and did a little bar hopping.

The distances beyond my comfort zone that I’ve reached have surprised me. I always find it interesting how easily other people find it to engage in conversation with complete strangers. And then, how open those strangers generally seem to that conversation. I enjoyed playing T and P’s wing woman that night. But I don’t know if I would be that easy going and open if I were truly by myself.

All in all, DC was amazing. The people were friendly. The experiences were great. And I had an amazing time.