Today, we checked out of our campsite at Greenbelt State Park. A beautiful park, except for the chiggers & ticks.
We took the metro back into DC to visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum.
There were some good and bad experiences here in need of relating.
The bad news:
First of all, no one explains that when you arrive you need a ticket to see the main exhibit, though the museum has free admission. Even after they put you through the intense security check - no one says a word. So in theory, you can (like we did) wander around for an hour looking for the "Elevator" that takes you to the fourth floor to the main exhibit. (They did this to us the day before as well. Let us in, put us through the security check, and then told us the museum was closing - duh!)
Second, if you are planning to take your time, in order to see every detail & read every sign, you can forget about it. There are way too many people & there is way too much to see. Oh, and plan on them herding you out & basically shutting the exhibit down - 15 minutes before closing. That included the gift shop, where I encountered the rudest security guard ever - who took his "security" job way too seriously & was not about to let anyone into that gift shop, 10 minutes before closing mind you. Not even to purchase a postcard that I had already picked out while waiting to be let into the main exhibit. I was, and still am a bit bent out of shape about this one.
Finally, it was upsetting to see the "change" in the exhibit. There were about 4 things relating to people put into the concentration camps other than the Jews. So, if you go in trying to find a purple triangle - you are going to have to look hard.
Now, for some good news.
First - It is absolutely the most beautiful, well thought out, & well exhibited museum I have ever been into in my life. It really feels like you have stepped into a living memorial for the atrocities that occurred. I especially was touched by the scripture on the wall in the main lobby.
And, overwhelmed by the Hall of Remembrance - it was very emotional.
Second - Any mention of those in the camps wearing a purple triangle, was very faith strengthening. One sign especially stood out. It mentioned that Jehovah's Witnesses were one of the first religious groups banned because they would not serve in the military or swear allegiance to the regime. But unlike other prisoners, Jehovah's Witnesses could be freed if they renounced their faith. Yet not one of them recanted.
Finally - unrelated to the museum itself. We met some of our brothers & sisters, on two separate occasions while at the museum.
I do recommend that everyone should visit at least once in their life - its probably not the place for children though. But if you do bring them, there are walls hiding the things requiring adult supervision. Let me warn the adults here - the higher the walls, the more disturbing the images are behind it. Very sobering. Oh, and make sure you get your ticket for the main exhibit.
After leaving the museum, a short metro ride back to our van & we were on our way to Jersey City, New Jersey. We drove through Delaware
& upon entering New Jersey, we were appalled at the toll roads. It cost us $20 in tolls just to get to our destination. (Not liking New Jersey so far.)
Oh yea, and one more thing about D.C. If you are going to eat food from the street vendors, we highly recommend the vegetarian egg rolls. It sounds weird, but they were the best we have ever had.