Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
374Trip End Mar 15, 2007
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Had an hours wait in the New York bus terminal creating a tempting opportunity to step out and have a look around rather than wait till I return a few days later with the city already welcoming me with plenty in the station asking if I needed help including a policeman. Did I really look that dishevelled?
Fours hours after spotting the Empire State Building above the New York skyline it was replaced with spotting the Capitol Hill Dome rising above the rooftops of Washington's scrubbed white buildings
The hostel itself was friendly enough though with the part owner, a big Abe Lincoln fan, riding with me back into town on the bus filling me in on the ins and outs of the city along the way.
Jumping off in Chinatown I weaved through the meticulously planned city towards the National Archives building home to a group of documents first penned by a group of terrorist and traitors to the king, also known as 'patriots'. Unfortunately the Declaration of Independence was not on show at this time due to some renovation work to its case having to settle instead on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Also contained here was a 1297 original copy of the Magna Carta the foundation stone of common law even influencing the other documents here written ages after which were getting all the limelight.
Stepping out and across the National Mall as the long grassy stretch is called in the city centre the US Capitol was perched at one end with the damn impressive looking Washington Monument at the other end. Shooting up to the top of this amazing feat of construction the view over the power houses and other monuments and memorials below was perfect on this clear sky day with the White House appearing pretty small from up here.
Down at ground level I checked out the newly built World War II memorial a suitably distinguished looking structure at the end of the Reflecting Pool a long pool of water now drained for winter which led right up to yet more memorials
To one side was the more understated but equally dignified Korean War Veteran's Memorial consisting of a group of larger than life size soldier statues spread out as if on patrol with their tired faces showing all the right emotions for a group of men as the inscription puts it: "...who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met."
Standing on the opposite side was the Vietnam War Veteran's Memorial a touching tribute to all the Americans lost in the war made up of a long reflective wall inscribed with the names of the fallen.
From here it was only a few minutes walk to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue arriving at the more recognisable 'Independence Day' back end first before heading round the front to see if G.W. was home or if he had got his head stuck in the high railings.
Not wanting to become a chalk outline on the street I headed back to the hostel before it got dark soon collapsing in bed to sleep off the hopefully last Greyhound bus I will ever take.