Sunday, August 6, 2006
Where: Sunday Source's Metro train trip returns to explore the southwest half of the Blue Line's 27 stops, from Metro Center to Franconia-Springfield.
Why: Squeeze box singalongs, a real-life Puppet Master and zoo animals that go 'round and 'round.
How Far: 14.1 miles or 35 minutes.
Why fly when you can hop on Metro's Blue Line and be in Germany faster than you can say "gesundheit"? Metro Center's Cafe Mozart is like a big slice of Deutschland. The combo mini-mart and restaurant sells edibles that hardly roll off the tongue: schinkenspeck, jagdwurst, linzer sacher. But your taste buds will thank you for being adventurous. As will your ears, once they adjust to the sounds of Silvia Eberly's zany accordion. On Tuesdays and some Sundays, the Viennese performer entertains diners with a repertoire that jumps from Austrian lullabies to the Beatles to a Japanese ditty about a rabbit. We're not sure how the song ends, since Eberly sang it in another language, but judging from the cafe's meat-heavy menu, that bunny could well be tomorrow's special.
As you travel from D.C. to Virginia, the scene shifts from "The Sound of Music" to "Miami Vice." The Drug Enforcement Administration Museum, at Pentagon City, traces the drug culture from first buzz to modern times, with lots of shocking props. The segment on opium, for instance, is augmented with elaborate pipes and stark photos of San Francisco opium dens, while a section about undercover agents includes green platform disco shoes and a thick fur coat accessorized with a Remington 12-gauge. Near the gift shop (selling drug-sniffing Beanie Baby dogs) is a video of the DEA in action, set to the Crockett and Tubbs theme song.
No illegal substances have been slipped to the toys at Crystal City's Puppet Heaven, despite their ability to walk, talk and clog. Store owner Alban Odoulamy offers starter lessons. "In one minute, I can show people how to make the puppet shake hands, say hello, dance and sit," he says, as Santa merrily skips across the floor. Only the truly skilled, though, should attempt the four-headed, eight-armed Vishnu.
Playtime isn't over yet, not with nine acres of African American Heritage Park space to explore. The verdant plot, near the King Street station, commemorates blacks from Alexandria. A trio of sculptural bronze trees lists these notable residents, and a weather-beaten book expands on their lives: Charles West, the first African American to play in the Rose Bowl; Harriet Jacobs, an escaped slave who founded the Jacobs Free School; James Mahone, a 19th-century shoemaker.
As the Blue Line (and, gasp, our Metro road-trip series) comes to an end, those seeking the eternal ride will be pleased to learn of the carousel inside the Springfield Mall at Franconia-Springfield. When you start seeing double though, it's time to jump off your painted pony and get back in the Metro saddle.
Metrorail's One Day Pass costs $6.50 and is valid weekdays after 9:30 a.m. and all day on weekends and federal holidays, until the last trains depart. Passes are available online ( http://www.wmata.com/ ) or at the electronic kiosks in all Metro stations.
Road Trip maps including previous Metro trips are available online at www.washingtonpost.com/roadtrip, as are addresses and hours of operation (be sure to check before you go). Have an idea for a trip? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.