A Healthy Dose of Patriotism
Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
34Trip End May 05, 2011
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Where I stayed
Hostelling International - Washington, DC Washington DC
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Read my review - 4/5 stars
International United House of Tel.
This stately granite building was erected before war with the British so unsurprisingly it was razed when they invaded Washington DC. Unsurprisingly again it was reconstructed with an even more grandiose tower. A symbol of the great new country and an up yours to the Brits. The lobby was littered with great American figures (though some were not recognised as so until some time after their deaths) and the great halls were decked in beautiful fresco paintings of iconic moments in American history. Perhaps intentionally, some of the darker moments were ironically highlighted such as one statue of a battle against Indians sitting opposite another of peace. Curiously, most depictions of slavery and its contribution to the wealth of America was omitted.
Underground, I proceeded to the Library of Congress
These monuments highlight a particular face of American history. There is little doubt the country was blessed with natural resources, and with that the flood of migrants provided ample people-power. These facts alone however we know cannot guarantee greatness. What I have seen provides an insight that shows the greatness comes from stoic leadership. A government by the people, of the people and for the people was able to find the necessary direction, defeat the military superpower of its time and create wealth and pride. Despite all her current flaws, these achievements give Americans a right to be proud of their nation
I finished the day with a tour of the East building of the National Gallery of Art. Housing two special exhibits of contrasting styles both artistically and contextually.
"Venice" showcased the technical expertise of late renaissance Verdutists. The detail and mood of famous cityscapes capture the Artistic perspective of this bustling republic from its facetious Carnivale to the industrious shipyards.
"Gauguin" was a unique character of late impressionism. A close friend of Van Gogh, he could not match his contemporary in brushwork and colour palette. He did however share a similar tortured vision (and no doubt mental illness) that he weaved into his canvas. Progressively disillusioned with Parisian life and later life in general. He sought escape physically and then more brilliantly through imaginary worlds. His final works were a curious menagerie of impressionist colours, religious themes and his own fantasy - providing the viewer a uncomfortable sense of self-insecurity.
I finally finished the day with anther chilli dog. These bad boys are deliciously simple and appeals to the basest of my senses - gluttony. I can tell that they are going to be a favourite in this trip.