As we drove into Washington DC singing along to songs such as ‘American Pie’, ‘Jack and Diane’ and ‘Dear Mr President’, I was instantly captivated by the gorgeous architecture. While each house lining the city streets were different, it was still beautiful.
Once we arrived at the hostel and got ready, it was time to head to Pinstripes for an Italian buffet dinner. The restaurant had delicious food and was just off one of the main shopping streets.
Dusk rolled around and it was time to drive out to the monuments for an illumination walking tour. Our tour guide, Jordan led us to the White House (which looks breathtaking at dusk for those who love photography), the National Christmas Tree and the Washington Monument which were behind the White House.
I also learned that the Washington Monument is built with different coloured marble as the initial construction couldn’t be completed due to a lack of funding and when it was restarted two decades later, the colour of the marble was different.
We hopped back on the bus and it was time to head a little further down the road to the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial. I was moved by the way that the veterans were honored on the Vietnam Memorial, it has been designed so that the names begin in 1959 in the middle pillar and it loops around to end in 1976 at the same place on the wall rather than being in alphabetical order. Seeing the American flags and flowers placed in front of some of the walls of the monument and walking down the path just after dusk was an emotional experience with over 56000 names of fallen veterans.
Then there was the Lincoln Monument. This building is large in scale, as is the statue of Lincoln. Near the top of the stairs, one of the tiles has been engraved with the words of ‘I have a dream’ to mark the exact place where Martin Luther King stood to give his iconic speech. The wording on the tile faces out towards the Reflection Pool and Washington Monument and whilst the engraving is humble, you can feel the significance of the site. To stand where he stood and to take in the views, there are no words.
After a magical evening, it was time to turn in and get planning for the next day’s activities.
The best part about Washington DC is that many of the museums are free of charge to visit but be warned, many open at 10am or later. I’d suggest allowing at least 2 hours per museum if you want to explore the exhibits and absorb the information as there is a lot to see and do.
I started the day early by walking down past the place where Abraham Lincoln died, the FBI building and then down to the Washington Monument and then to the Lincoln Memorial to see each in the daylight. It turns out that if you are an early riser that you will beat the masses and can take in the view with less people around. Then it was time to wander to the museums and along the way I stopped at the World War II memorial.
I started at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. It’s an informative and interactive museum with well set out exhibits. My personal favourite was the Gem collection and being able to gawk at the Hope Diamond.
I wandered past the Smithsonian Castle and after smelling the aromas of the streets lined with food trucks, I figured it was time for lunch and where better to eat than where the locals do. I had a falafel salad and sat under a shady tree and watched the world go by with the Washington Monument to my right and Capitol Hill to my left.
Next on my agenda was a visit to the Air and Space Museum. I spent approximately 2.5 to 3 hours here and I could’ve easily spent a little longer here. If you love learning about aviation history throughout the decades, historical figures, NASA, the solar system and space, then you will be content here. I’ll let some of the photos do the talking as we all take away something different from museums and displays.
I wandered up to Capitol Hill next and oh my, what a picturesque building. This was my favourite building that I had seen in DC. From the domed top to the ornate decorative work, it is a masterpiece.
I wandered up to the visitors centre and glanced at the Library of Congress before starting the long walk back on an extremely warm day back to the hostel.
Along the way I wandered past the Botanical Garden, the Trump International Hotel and past Forever 21 which is located in another picturesque building with a colourful and highly intricately designed exterior.
Fortunately I made it back before the heavens opened and unleashed a thunderstorm and heavy downpour.
A few of the girls and myself walked down the street to a little Thai restaurant and whilst the food was delicious, the service wasn’t great but we walked away with a funny story.
& then it was time for another day to roll into night as we made our to our farewell point, the big apple.