Washington DC

Trip Start Apr 15, 2008
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17
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Trip End Apr 01, 2010


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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Thursday, July 17, 2008

Washington DC
 
After dropping off the car at Ronald Reagan airport we made our way to the very efficient metro. After paying just $1.35 each we were transported to Dupont circle the nearest stop to our hotel in just under 15 minutes. From Dupont Circle it was an easy walk to the Hotel, though it is up a slight incline so we were so please the hotel allowed us to check into our room even though it was only 11am. We were so glad to be able to freshen up and cool off before heading out into town. Believe me after pulling those cases up that hill in 95f heat I needed that shower! Of course Julie just glowed!
 
At first sight we were not that impressed with Washington, it didn't give you that instant excitement which we have felt when visiting other great cities, but having now spend a few days here we have grown to really like the place and once you start to scratch the service there is an incredible amount of things to see and do.
 
Our first stop was the Whitehouse. Whilst it is a lovely looking building, it was not as big as we had imagined. Due to the terrorist risk they now have large concrete and metal barriers at the south entrance which is not particularly pleasing to the eye.
 
Next we moved to the National Mall which is a huge parkland area which contains masses of memorials, museums and the Capitol building, here we just strolled around taking in the sites.
Washington Monument - A huge mono Lincoln Memorial Thomas Jefferson Memorial WWII Memorial Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Korean War Veterans Memorial Vietnam Veterans Memorial  There are a number of companies offering bus tours but everywhere is walk-able especially for those who need the exercise! That said we must have walked 15 miles in the last three days, but as long as you pace yourself it quite doable! And it's a miracle but we have no blisters!

The Old Post Office Pavilion is a must visit, it is a beautiful building. You can also ascend to its bell tower for wonderful views of the city. We stayed for a while in the food court area where we enjoyed some live music over lunch.   

Museums in Washington - There are just too many to visit on one trip, but those we visited were amazing. The Smithsonian estate has nine museums and all are free. Smithson was a British scientist who left his entire estate to found establishments for the increase & diffusion of knowledge, as he put it. We visited the Natural History Museum which is housed in a stunning building, we spent a fair amount of time enjoying this museum. Next it we were off to the Air & Space Museum which maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world, I was in my element as I am a bit of an anorak where aircraft are concerned! Julie was ecstatic!

Union Station - Opened in 1907 and is considered to be one of the finest examples of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture. Architect, Daniel Burnham designed the building to be monumental in every respect and to serve as a gateway for the capital city. It really is a stunning building and is far more than just a station these days. In the 1980's it had fallen into such bad disrepair that it was being considered for demolition. Luckily it was rescued, redeveloped and is now the most visited building in Washington.

US Botanical Gardens - The huge conservatory houses exotic plants from all across the globe. A great place to visit but boy was it hot in there! The external gardens are equally as impressive but again the city is famous for its summer heat and today was no exception!

There must have been some important visitors whilst we were there as we witness at least one motorcade each day. They are quite impressive if you are not used to them! First you get the screeching sirens, followed by outriders going really fast then the blacked out limos surrounded by about 20 police cars and overhead helicopters sweeping through the sky, it's like something out of a movie! Roads and walkways are closed down and reopened at a minute's notice.

Jurys Normandy Inn - I must make a special mention of our hotel, it was first class, the service and the staff were excellent. Thank you Francesca for you and your team's wonderful hospitality, I can't wait to try that special Lasagne!
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