Lukas and I arrived in Washington D.C.! After a short plane, long train and what felt like an oddly long cab ride through the city, we entered our home away from home at the Fairmont Washington D.C. I always thought of Fairmont’s as being quite traditional in taste but this one had very modern features, especially in its lounge areas. It felt like a breath of fresh air walking in, a zen feeling from within. You know when you do that first glance around the lobby when you step out of the rotating doors? You can stop traveling and welcome your temporary home with open arms. Those few seconds tell you all you need to know about how your stay will be. I learned that the hotel was newly renovated and it did not take long for me to find my preferred study spot in the courtyard. I can’t remember his name now, but I grew to like one of the wait staff who always greeted me when I came down just before lunch every day. He had dark hair and kind eyes and seemed genuinely friendly.
I attempted to take over on accommodations a couple weeks earlier, but it was Lukas who took control after I couldn’t decide what to do. He ended up booking the room last minute and with D.C. being a ghost town this time of year, the cost was low and even with an early check-in time they did not keep us waiting. The man at the front desk took note of Lukas’s accent and told us he placed us in a room a bit further back so he could sleep better and adjust to the time change. Room No. 705.
We entered our room, it was decorated all with neutral tones that are very easy on the eyes. A lot more traditional in taste than the renovated, modern lobby. It’s not very interesting but it’s cozy. The oversized robes we lounged in every morning and evening, the surplus of coffee and tea, a nice sized tub, large bathroom counters, and the tiniest balcony to let fresh air in were all little perks. As an extremely detail oriented couple, all of those small details make a huge difference to the quality of our stay and whether or not we would like to stay with any hotel again. A bathtub is a must for Lukas and I’m a sucker for a balcony. What are your favorite little hotel luxuries?
Our downside here was that wifi was pretty terrible in our rooms and required a charge. Maybe I’ve been spoiled (although I doubt it), but who charges for in-room wi-fi these days? We ended up connecting to our own hotspots. Lukas and I contemplated taking the large robes at the end of our stay but held ourselves back from doing so. I’ve always wanted to do that, though! Steal the robes. I guess I’m too much of a coward? That plus the fear of stealing them and not knowing how much they would charge our card once housekeeping realizes, haha.
It’s not quite the same as taking it from the hotel room though
— Rebecca Brianne (@rebeccabriannes) September 7, 2017
Once we set down our bags and freshened up, I changed into my simplest navy dress and put on my jazziest red earrings. We went outside to look for a casual lunch spot before Lukas’s first meeting at four o’clock. Choosing a place at random, we sat outside at Bread & Chocolate on M Stree and allowed our bodies to adjust to the warmer temperatures. I ordered a sandwich with chicken and peppers on ciabatta bread. The chicken was dry but the bread was fresh. In any attempt to watch my weight, I let Lukas eat the leftovers of my bread while I tossed the chicken around with my fork. Water with lemon. I picked up the check and we headed back to the hotel.
Lunch from Bread & Chocolate.
After lunch, Lukas ran off to his first meeting and I proceeded to take my laptop and head to the courtyard at the Fairmont to look over my coursework for the week. With the upcoming move from Boston to Hamburg, I was able to coordinate all online courses or watch live streams from the classrooms on campus. I must say feeling the warm sun on my face, while sitting on one of those soft loungers and sipping another water with lemon, felt perfect. I always preferred learning in a classroom setting than through a computer but the ability to focus on my education without slowing down any part of my life is very useful. I always hated the idea of having to choose one over the other. I can have it all! Besides, being so busy gives me more structure and teaches me to be on time. It’s an ongoing lesson.
My makeshift workstation at the Fairmont Washington D.C. in the courtyard.
Lukas arrived back to the hotel, met me in the courtyard and kissed me on my forehead. I got through two of four lectures. We went upstairs and discussed what we shall do next. He exclaimed about all he saw and his walk around D.C., already planning our day for tomorrow. My tummy was already rumbling after not finishing my lunch and my focus was on dinner.
“We could ask the concierge for a recommendation? For dinner.” I suggested.
“Yes. Or let me look up options on the computer right now. I’ll Yelp it.”, Lukas says. He’s already pulling up his computer on the round table. We look at the map together and it’s all so overwhelming to me. All those little pinpoints crowding the map.
“There are too many options. Let’s ask the concierge. He’ll know where to send us and we won’t have to worry if it’s good or not.” Eventually, Lukas obliged and we headed downstairs to the concierge on our way out. “What type of cuisine are you in the mood for?” Mark, the concierge man, says. He has brown hair that was slicked back. He had expressive eyes and you can tell he’s racking his brain for recommendations, tapping his hands on the counter trying to come up with anything. A slight sense of urgency? “How about dessert? Dessert should be really good.”, I said. The concierge let out a surprised laugh. “Dessert, huh? Okay. I like that.” I straightened my back and smiled at him. He made me feel a bit childish for saying dessert but I had been craving something sweet! He taps his fingers on the counter a little while longer and then snaps his fingers. “I got it! Georgia Brown’s. It was the first place I ever went to when I moved to D.C. and someone took me there because of the dessert. I forgot about that.”, Mark exclaimed. “It’s meant to be then.” He took out a map and started guiding us in that direction with a stop at the White House. We decided to take our time and told him it wasn’t necessary to make a reservation. On our way we went!
Following Mark’s directions, we enjoyed our first walk through D.C. together. From the hotel, we walked around Washington Circle down Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. I began feeling a little tired and stopped at Peet’s Coffee for a pick-me-up on our walk. Small cold brew with hazelnut and sugar-free vanilla, please. Add cream and Splenda. We went past the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and stopped for photographs at the White House and Department of Treasury. I found those buildings to all be very pretty but it’s amazing how many ugly buildings can surround the monuments and memorials. It’s really too much gray and beige. The color only comes from the sky, grass, and trees. Those humongous gray/beige office buildings also make you feel as if you’re walking so much slower/longer than you are! When I look to the side I felt as if I’ve been walking by the same building for a mile.
Just a few blocks up we entered Georgia Brown’s and by this time both of our stomachs were grumbling. It’s a southern restaurant and the menu made me excited to share this meal with Lukas. I could explain almost all the items to him and he listened to me and took my recommendations. He’s one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever known but when it comes to southern cuisine, I’m the expert here! We ordered two glasses of the cheapest sparkling wine on the menu, Marquis de la Tour. It was a faint gold in color with lots of bubbles that I could feel go to my head on the first couple sips. We held up our glasses and toasted to love, being together again and making it to D.C.
Lukas ordered the “De-Constructed Jambalaya” which was a combination of jerked chicken, duck confit, gulf shrimp, andouille sausage, and Etouffee gravy on a bed of spicy wild rice pilaf. It’s funny to me when restaurants try to fancy up such simple, southern dishes. Dishes that are already perfect in their simplest form! I went with the “Farm Raised Catfish” and chose to have it cornmeal fried. When I read it on the menu my mouth watered and it took me back to earlier this year at a Cajun restaurant in middle-of-nowhere Louisiana where I had the most delicious fried catfish in the most casual of diners. I was eager to see how Georgia Brown’s served it up. I don’t remember what we talked about that night. Nothing and everything, I’m sure. Maybe that was the single glass of sparkling? Hard to believe but I have no recollection of what we discussed! He said he enjoyed his deconstructed jambalaya and I watched him eat the plate clean while I had my catfish. It made me want to serve him “constructed” jambalaya and whisk him off to New Orleans on a food tour. One day we’ll do that together. I enjoyed my catfish but Lukas finished it for me. It wasn’t as good as that hole in the wall Cajun place. But we did ask for Mark to give us recommendations on dessert! So even as our tummies started to ache, we felt so full, we knew we couldn’t leave dessert out. Our final decision was to split the bread pudding which was salted caramel with a vanilla bean ice cream. It was actually really delicious and I liked the consistency. Sometimes bread pudding can be a bit tougher than I prefer and I won’t each much of it. This time we cleared the plate in a matter of minutes! I guess I could handle it after all.
Lukas pushed the last bite over to me with his fork “Go on, take it! I know you want it.” I smirked at him before spearing it with my fork and eating the rest. Almost immediately I did that thing where you lean back in your chair, look down, and suddenly that simple navy dress doesn’t seem to fit as well as it did two hours ago. Worth it.
Lukas picked up the check and we took another long walk back to the hotel. The sky became dark but it was a clear evening and I took in another fresh breath of air that felt so good going through my body. We walked back the same way we came and saw an entirely new perspective on the buildings we passed by earlier. The White House looks better at night and the path outside the Eisenhower Executive Building was eerily empty but was calming. It was like we had the entire city to ourselves and no one else was around. I think I did a little twirl in the center of that square and let the wind hit before my legs started to feel chilly.
We talked and walked back to the Fairmont where we entered through the revolving doors and took that breath of air, home sweet home! A few others were gathered around the lobby bar and I contemplated getting another drink but as a young couple we had already spent quite a bit on dinner and went back to our room. I uploaded the photos from our day into Lightroom and skimmed through them. We had the curtains drawn, removed our clothes, washed and put ourselves in those large robes. Lastly, we climbed into bed and read for a bit before shutting out the lights. Tomorrow we will begin our “official” tour of this new city!
PS. I’m currently working on my full “Little Black Book” for Washington D.C. and highlights will be included here later. Any recommendations for next time? We expect to be back later this year!