1 October 2010
For some reason we thought catching a bus at midnight to Washington DC from Manhattan was a good idea. An even better idea, we thought, was to only spend a day in DC and catch a bus back at around 6pm the same day. In between we can spend a great day in DC, no bags, no shopping, just looking around.
Well, it was a tough day. Don’t get me wrong, DC is fantastic and i’d love to go back one day, but, doing it the way we did it isn’t ideal.
We arrived around 5.30am, worked out how to get into the city from Union Station and found the White House as the sun was rising. The was cool. Although still a bit dark to see it properly. It was also cool, like cold. We didn’t bring any any jackets with us, it was October and the weather in Manhattan had been nice. We were mistaken. A cold, almost arctic wind was blowing off the Potomac making everything cold, including us as we walked around.
We made a full day of it. We visited several building attached to the Smithsonian. We se the Hope Diamond, Dorothy’s slippers, a woolly mammoth and a host fo other interesting exhibits.
We have brunch at Cosi, a quick break and warm up. We visit an animal shelter nearby, i’d pre arranged a visit and a tour. I’m forever wanting to learn and improve the lives of the animals within my care.
We then hit the streets again.
We walk the Mall, from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Monument. In between we stop at the various World War Two Memorials, as well as the Vietnam War Memorial, which is haunting.
We walk across the Arlington Memorial Bridge, leaving DC and visiting Virginia. We spend a couple of hours in the cemetery, starting with the JFK Memorial. We then walk the headstones, thousands upon thousands of crosses are lined up. It is overwhelming, the loss of life in the name of war and ultimately freedom. As a sign said in the mall:
Freedom is not Free
We continue through the cemetery, with each crest we see more and more crosses laid out before us, going on forever.
We see fresh graves, fresh dirt and place markers for the latest entries into the book of death.
We make our way to the Iwo Jima memorial. There is a formal ceremony taking place, which we stop and watch.
That famous image of soldiers erecting a flag as Iwo Jima was taken. The mage is actually a recreation performed the following day. There scene was also made famous by the John Wayne movie, the Sands of Iwo Jima. See more: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041841/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1.
We finish our tour of the cemetery and work our way back into DC using the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge.
We hunt for lunch. The weather hasn’t warmed at all so an hour inside to warm up with a hearty feed will be nice.
We go to a cafe inside the Museum of Natural History and have lunch and look around for a while.
We then wander the streets, visit a few souvenir shops. We pose with Michelle and Barack, well cardboard cut outs anyway!
We circle back to the White House, with the sun overhead now I am able to get some better photos. I sit and stare at the house, a real symbol of democracy, and the best home ground advantage anyone could hope for. I take in the enormity of the sight and the fact I’m standing just out the front. I’ve bene interested in politics since a very young age and enjoy the political process of law making, regulation, debate and statesmanship shown by some leaders, President Obama being one of them.
We make our way back to Union Station as the sun starts to hang low in the west and find our bus for the journey home.