Nucleus of America - WASHINGTON DC

Trip Start Sep 07, 2008
Trip End Dec 10, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Maryland
Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day 1

Washington would have to be the museum and monument capital of the world.    And the great thing about this city, is that nearly all the exhibits, and attractions are free!

We stepped off the subway today, and straight up into Pennsylvania Avenue.  I had always pictured Washington to be lots of everything ie: cars, people, taxis, noise, hustle, bustle etc.  And sure, it does have all of that, but on a much smaller scale, and with lots of flags, and the added additon of many beautiful parks dotted everywhere.  It makes for a very tidy, clean and dare I say it, peaceful  environment.   And certainly for all the thousands and thousands of workers in the city (who all work in some way for the government!), it makes a haven from the corporate world.

The city itself was designed some 200 years ago when they set aside 10 sq miles for Washington DC to be created as Federal Government,  but everything is seemingly within 2 sq miles.  It's all very concise ... just makes perfect sense.  So easy to walk around, and the streets are nicely paved, and of course it's very safe - there's FBI, SS and police everywhere .. on push bikes, on cars, on motorcycles .. 

Just walking up the street you pass by some pretty monumental stuff:  the FBI headquarters, the Old  Post Office, the Department of Justice and so on.  After being pretty awed by this, we headed straight for the 1600 Pennsylvania Ave - probably the famous address in America.  Being The Whitehouse, I thought we'd only be able to see it from a distance, and it would all be enclosed etc, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Although you obviously couldn't go to the front door, the perimeter fence was quite close in fact, and it was nice that they hadn't 'hedged' everything.  It was very easy to walk around, lots of space, plenty of people but not crowds.  So, great for the tourist, but not sure how I'd feel about living in such a 'fish-bowl'. 

Just before you hit the Whitehouse, you come upon the Treasury Building, built in 1836, which nearly takes up a block.  Impressive piece of architecture, although you could say that about every building in Washington!, (as you'll get from the photos).  It comes complete with a statue out front of Alexander Hamilton, who was known for starting the financial system, as we know it ie: paper money etc.

A stop at the Renwick Art Gallery, which is like a beautiful French Renaissance building, filled with gorgeous glass pieces , on display, all in different sizes, shapes, colours .... I could've spent hours there, but it definitely wasn't a place to have to linger in with the children!

We headed up to Washington Monument, which is incredible in its sheer simplicity, and the fact that it looks relatively new and modern, but it was actually built between 1848 and 1884.  I believe it was Egyptian inspired .. obviously a choice that never dates.   The other great thing about the Washington Monument is as it looks over the whole city, it gives you fantastic views in every direction.  One superb view is down over the water pools, right down to the Lincoln Memorial - this Memorial is particularly poignant at this new time of change and acceptance in America, as firstly it is in built in memory of Abraham Lincoln who started the process to end slavery, and also much more recently , where Martin Luther King gave his infamous "I have a Dream" speech.

Tired after another long day, we head back around 5.00ish, with still so much more to see.....
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