Friday, August 27, 2010

Washington: A capital time in DC

Sorry about the pun, but I couldn't think of anything else. Washington DC, the US Capital. Home to the White House, Congress, museums and grand monuments Washington was the first place I visited where I really felt surrounded by a sense of history.

The White House
We stayed in Arlington VA, 10 minutes from the centre of town by metro - possibly the easiest train system I've ever ridden.
DC is a budget tourist's, and photographer's, dream. About a dozen Smithsonian Museums, Congress, the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial are all free to visit and within a fairly easy walk of each other.

Leafy green trees line the inner city streets and there are parks everywhere.

The Washington Monument
The Smithsonian Institute runs museums all around the main area of DC covering subjects from air and space, national history, natural history and American Indian Culture - there's easily a weeks worth of viewing if you can handle the crowds and pushy people.

Out of the above museums I'd recommend the Natural History Museum followed closely by the National History as the main ones to visit.

They are both mazes of artifacts and information you'd need hours to make sure you'd seen it all.

The Natural Museum has a huge collection of animals, dinosaurs, early human artifacts and precious stones, including the Hope Diamond.

One big hunk of blue rock - the Hope Diamond
The National Museum's prize piece is the original Star Spangled Banner - ridiculously huge - and Dorothy's Ruby Slippers.
We started out sight seeing at the top of the hill at Congress. A beautiful building, the only downside is we didn't get to explore the inside.

So they didn't really blow it up in that movie - Congress.
Following the gardens we walked all the way to the Washington Monument passed the reflecting pool and onto the Lincoln Memorial.

Me, the Monument and the Reflecting Pool

Ab Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial
To complete our trip we went to the National Holocaust Museum and Arlington Cemetery - the final resting place of JFK and hundreds and thousands of soldiers (over 30 funerals are held there each day).

Arlington Cemetery
Since we were right by the Pentagon we thought we'd pop by for a visit, but with reconstruction still underway after the 9/11 attack there wasn't much to see just a tall wooden fence blocking our view.

There was a policeman with a machine gun patrolling a maintenance area by the subway entrance as we were leaving - only in America... or France.

So that's two big thumbs up for DC. The only sucky thing was the lady who wouldn't sell me a Margarita with my dinner because she wouldn't accept my NZ driver's licence.

More pics from Washington DC here

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