Saturday, 27 July 2013

Washington DC

The next leg of the tour took us to the east coast and the nations capital of Washington DC. This was a whole different ball game from Vegas. This was all about the history. Washington DC is easily recognisable on TV so to see all of those famous monuments, museums and government buildings with my own eyes was something I will never forget. Our hotel was located near to Pennsylvania Avenue, so we were close enough to classify the Obama family as neighbours...............and it was their gaff that we headed to first!

The White House. Whilst the house itself was an amazing sight, I couldn't help but admire the lawn.
How good would that surface be for a kickaround!
Say 'Cheese'!
The Washington Monument. It's currently under repair following storm damage.
The U.S. National World War II Memorial. This is dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II
The Memorial engraving.
An inscription from General Dwight D Eisenhower.
The Memorial Fountain, with the Lincoln Memorial in the distance.
The Lincoln Memorial.
The Abraham Lincoln Memorial statue
Posing with Honest Abe!
Your turn honey!
The view of the reflecting pool and Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial.
The reflecting pool was definitely longer than it looks!
I couldn't help myself!
The Martin Luther King Jr Memorial.
The Jefferson Monument.
Thomas Jefferson.
The infamous Ford's Theatre.
The Theatre was located just yards from our hotel. For those not familiar with its history, this is the place Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on 14th April 1865.
After the shooting, the dying president was taken across the street to Petersen House. After being in a coma for nine hours, he succumbed to his wounds on April 15th.
The next day the plan was to head east along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill.
This was taken in Freedom Plaza, which was just a short walk from The White House.
The Old Post Office Pavilion, located on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The view of Capitol Hill from The Old Post Office bell tower.
F.B.I. Headquarters
Agent Kermoury-Bish
F.B.I.'s Most Wanted!!
The National Archives Building.
This houses the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. We got to see them but no pictures were allowed in there. Security was very tight everywhere!
Eventually we made it to Capitol Hill!
Aicha was happy to pose as well!
The United States Capitol building. Home to the U.S. Congress
When wanting a photograph together, it was always better to ask another couple and return the favour.
I found they took more care over it!!
Directly behind the Capitol Building was The Library of Congress.
This is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States and is one of the two largest libraries in the world, by shelf space and number of books.
The decor inside was amazing too!
You were not allowed to take pictures in the reading room but I took this anyway.
Movie buffs will recognise this room from the film National Treasure: Book of Secrets, as it where the book in question is secretly located!
After dinner that evening, we decided to take stroll back to The White House and Lincoln Memorial to get a glimpse of them under the night sky...............

The White House from North side.
The Eisenhower Executive Office Building. This is located next to The White House and is occupied by the White House Office of Administration.
The White House from the South side.
The Lincoln Memorial................we weren't the only ones visiting!
Honest Abe was still there.................he hadn't moved all day!
Lazy.
This was the spot (on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial) where Martin Luther King gave his famous 'I have a dream' speech during his March on Washington in 1963.
The next day we headed back down Pennsylvania Avenue to The Newseum, which is an interactive museum of news and journalism. This place was amazing! If you ever end up in Washington DC I recommend that you go there. It was so interesting, I could have literally spent all day there! They had exhibits on the F.B.I, the JFK assassination, the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as other topics including news history, the September 11 attacks, the First Amendment, world press freedom and the history of the Internet, TV and radio. They even had an exhibit where you could do your own news report in front of blue screen. It was pretty cool!

The entrance to The Newseum
A piece of The Berlin Wall.
It said 'Do Not Touch!'......................I chose to ignore that!
The twisted remains of the broadcast tower from the fallen World Trade Center site.
The view of Capitol Hill from the roof terrace of The Newseum.
When we eventually left the Newseum, we headed to Arlington National Cemetery, which is located directly across the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial. It is a military cemetery where casualties of U.S. conflicts and deceased veterans are laid to rest. The cemetery is also the location of the instantly recognisable Iwo Jima Memorial and the famous eternal flame, which is found at the gravesite of the late President John F. Kennedy. It felt only right that we should pay our respects..............


The Iwo Jima Memorial.
I had seen pictures of this statue many times, both on TV and in books, but it is much bigger than you think.
The John F Kennedy Eternal Flame. Everyone who was there was absolutely silent.
The only noise was coming from the cameras. It did feel a little inappropriate taking photographs of a gravesite though.
We had also planned to visit The Pentagon that day, but by late afternoon we were both feeling tired so we decided to head back to the hotel. We were leaving for New York the following day so we did not want to be too worn out! We did however get to see The Pentagon from a distance on the way to the airport so I guess I can still tick that box!

All in all, I really enjoyed Washington DC, particularly the historical aspects. One of the surprising things about it was that it was really hot and humid there. We walked everywhere and at times the heat was unbearable. It wasn't always sunny though. There were times when it rained but believe me it felt like a blessing!

Having seen photos and images on TV of Washington DC, it looks as if The White House, The Lincoln Memorial, The Washington Monument and Capitol Hill are close together but this is definitely an optical illusion. They are much further apart than you might think. Just walking from the Lincoln Memorial to The Washington Monument took 15 minutes! As it was all flat, the walking from place to place did not affect us as much as it did in San Francisco but the heat definitely took it out of us!

Next up was New York. I wonder what surprises that would bring.............?

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