Washington DC was my next stop and this was always going to be a whirlwind. Monuments, museums major American buildings, this city has it all. Many said its just like Canberra hmmmmm they haven’t been to Canberra. DC is vibey, busy and has that international/cultural feel about it.
I think most Australians leave it off their trips but I would say make a b-line for DC you cant go wrong. In fact I ran out of time. There is so much to see and do 5 days just wasn’t enough.
The disappointment was also the most exciting. Seeing the White House for the first time was someone special. I remember it so clearly as it was just on dusk on a Saturday night in DC and there were a few people around, not many but you still knew you were standing in front of a very special building. I say dissappointing not because of the building or the surrounds but for the fact Australians are not able to go in and do a tour of the White House.
Sine September 11, stringent security checks have been put in place for visitors to most DC buildings particularly The White House. As such any tours need to be arranged through your country’s embassy in Washington and unfortunately the Australian Embassy has decided its all too hard and will not organize tours for Australians. I saw a tour come out one day and everyone looked so excited about what they had seen. Maybe one day the embassy will get off its bum and make it possible again.
I was able though to see all the monuments in the mall. That’s the open parkway between the Lincoln Memorial and Capitol Hill. The Lincoln Memorial is just like you see on tv only ten times larger and more amazing. A truly stunning sight of Abraham Lincoln sitting on his seat looking over his subjects. Something the Chinese or the Egyptians would do well. The World War 2 memorial is stunning as well. A massive large fountain with walls for each of the America States and a wall of stars each one representing 1000 Americans that died in WW2.
The Washington monument towers over he city and up until the recent earthquake you could actually scale it inside but it is dwarfed (not in height as they are actually the same size) by the towering presence of Capitol Hill at the far western end of the Mall. One of the most famous buildings in America if not the world, it’s the seat of America, home of independence and truly a stunning building.
I just sat in awe some nights at its structure but also the feeling of who is in there and how much power they have over the world. Just like the Reichstadt in Berlin it’s a parliament house to devour.
Plenty of museums to see in Washington. Most of the Smithsonians are here. The air and space one is great but don’t be fooled like I was, the one that houses space shuttles and full planes isn’t based in DC but in Virginia out at the Dulles airport so make sure you have that on your list as well. The American Museum and Natural Museums are good too. And even take time to see the White House museum. Lots of great stuff there.
All in all DC is a great place to go…. Stayed out in Pentagon City and commuted by metro each day. Very easy and convenient and plent of shopping centers and restaurants nearby to suit everyone.
- Public transport -clean efficient and not over cvercrowded. You seem to be literally only one block from a station at any one time. And very inexpensive
- Capitol Hill – what more can I say. Do The tour as well as it explains a lot about the building and how it came about.
- National Mall – this huge piece of parkland right through the guts of the district reminds me so much of the Champs Elyesses in Paris. In fact designed by the same guy. You could spend days just admiring everything along here.