DC Walkabout: Sunsets, Tulips and Barbies

sunset after a rainy day at Dupont Circle

I have a calf strain, a sharp twinge that occurred when I was playing soccer about a week ago. It’s prevented me from running. I can only go about a mile before the twinge forces me to stop and walk. The only remedy for this pain is time. Instead of running after work, I had to come up with a new activity.

I decided to do evening walkabouts, ambulatory strolls around downtown Washington. I started last night, just as the rain was tapering off.

My destination: the White House. There I discovered tulips, their petals closed up and sparkling with rain drops.

red tulip after the rain by the White House


After taking some tulip pics, I headed for Farragut Square. The rain had stopped and the clouds had cleared in the west. Suddenly, the streets were suffused with a warm, golden light.

The light was amazing tonight #igdc

And then, in the sky over the office buildings, a rainbow appeared – a good luck sign, blessing the idea of evening walkabouts.

rainbow over Farragut Square

I continued my way up Connecticut Avenue to Dupont Circle. It’s a destination that I’m drawn to again and again. Not only is it a pretty spot, but it represents something to me – it’s where I first got a taste of urban life after coming to DC for college. It was where we went to eat Greek food at Zorba’s (still there) and drink in local bars (most of which are gone or changed names). The sun was just beginning to set as I arrived.

sunset after a rainy day at Dupont Circle

Listening to the Pixies, I headed east on Q St. There was one more destination I wanted to check out: the Barbie Pond Garden. This is a local institution that I have somehow missed. The owners of this house at 15th and Q decorate their garden with naked Barbies. This month’s theme was Easter.

an Easter theme at the Barbie Pond Garden

It’s going to be a while before I can run again. The only remedy for pain is time. Instead of running, I’m going to walk in different directions – north, south, east, west – and write and take photos of what I discover in DC.

Tulip Mania on the Streets of Washington

tulips and blacktop

Tulip mania was the original economic bubble. Long before the dotcom bust and the housing crash, 17th Century Europeans speculated in tulip bulbs. You read that right – tulip bulbs.

Introduced to the continent by the Ottomans, tulips became a status symbol commanding top prices at a time when Holland was developing into an economic giant. Tulip bulbs became a sort of substitute currency and were widely speculated upon – after all, we’ll always need tulips, right? You could trade a tulip bulb for a ton of butter! Men even speculated in tulip futures and other derivative products. Everyone was getting rich.

But like shady Internet companies and Arizona condos, the market eventually crashed, as recounted in this excellent Wikipedia entry on tulip mania.

All that was left were the tulips themselves. Fortunately, they are beautiful and bloom on the streets of DC every April. Seeing them, it’s hard not to get a touch of tulip mania. Good thing that tulip futures aren’t listed on the NYSE – otherwise, I’d be buying.

Here are some colorful photos of tulips around Washington.

15th St Cycletrack is now a tulip-track
Biking past tulips at 15th and K.
southbound on 15th St by tulips
The man in the tie wonders what the hell am I doing. I’m taking tulip pictures!
Biking by the tulips #bikedc #IGDC #spring #dc
15th St has a protected bike lane running in both directions.
Running by the tulips #rundc #IGDC #spring #dc
The weather has been beautiful for running.
Tulips gone wild at the Capitol #IGDC #spring #dc
Tulips on the west side of the Capitol.
Tulips and the Capitol #latergram #IGDC #spring
Tulips on the east side of the Capitol.

I have a lot of tulip shots #IGDC #spring #dc

cyclist returns home from the store
Cyclist returning home along the Metropolitan Branch Trail.
Tulips along the Metropolitan Branch Trail, which runs from Union Station to Catholic University.
where to begin?
I’m not the only one taking pictures.


Tulips even along the Metropolitan Branch Trail #bikedc
That’s my bike, a Specialized Sirrus.
It's tulip mania at the White House #IGDC
Tulips in Lafayette Park, across from the White House.
Tiptoeing through the tulips #selfiesunday #bikedc
A tulip selfie.