We headed to Washington DC for a quick two day jaunt, on a train travelling through Philadelphia – it was great to get a glimpse and so nice to avoid the airport. I’d recommend a train over a plane wherever possible (and if the length of travel doesn’t become too extreme).
We arrived in downtown Washington DC in the late afternoon. The buildings and surrounding area screamed government. Neatly lined streets of white-wash, stone buildings. Don’t get me wrong, they were beautiful but they were all just very uniform.
After checking into our AirBnB we took a stroll to Capitol Hill. The whole park area was covered in marquees due to a festival being held with music, food and praying. We met a nice lady from South Carolina who tried to convince us to join her congregation and pray for peace. We politely declined.
That night we headed to our first ice hockey game, the Washington Capitals vs Montreal Canadiens. It was freezing inside, but the atmosphere, as in the basketball and baseball games we attended was insane. American’s definitely know how to party at a sporting event. The game was tough to follow because the puck flies so bloody fast. I was a big fan of the massive bag of popcorn – Phil wasn’t so much, as it cost USD$9. Eeek.
First stop was the Pentagon, where I got told off for taking photos (so we don’t have any). Security, apparently. We then headed out to the Arlington Cemetery and saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, JF Kennedy’s resting place and the beautiful surrounding grounds. After walking through the cemetery for about an hour we headed to see the Marine Corp War Memorial, also known as, Iwo Jima Memorial, but were gutted to discover it covered in scaffolding. I was not amused. Pro tip from me: research the places you want to see to ensure they are open/viewable.
Not sure why I look like I have a lazy eye in this video… probably the angry twitch I picked up when I saw the scaffolding.
After a rest we made our way to the Lincoln Memorial just as the sun was setting. It’s a beautiful location, just covered with tourists. We stood in the place of Martin Luther King’s famous speech and soaked up the view.
As we were walking to the Washington Monument along the pond and past the WW2 Memorial fountains we encountered a lot of midges (tiny flying bugs). I don’t know if it was the time of year, or if they’re always there. I wasn’t impressed when I walked head first into a swarm of them and ended up swallowing a bunch.
Our final stop of the evening was to the White House. In the dusk light it looked tiny hidden by the trees. I have heard people state before that it’s small, but I was still surprised at it’s size, or lack of. An elderly American couple, also perplexed by it’s size, even asked us; “is that it?”
By the end of the day we’d walked a total of 19,000 steps that day. My legs hurt. People say Washington DC is small and compact, and you can do it all on foot. I agree, yes you can. But when you add in the cemetery it becomes munch larger than just the memorial area. It’s fascinating though, it doesn’t look like any other part of the States I’ve seen.