Silence and Respect

Trip Start Jun 24, 2012
Trip End Sep 21, 2012

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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Monday, September 10, 2012

We got up later than planned today - about 9am - as we were so wiped from our epic walking tour of D.C yesterday. We were a bit late for breakfast and found that most of it had been devoured by an enormous group of Portuguese school children, but managed to grab a muffin and some juice before we headed out to Arlington. 

We retraced our steps from the other day and walked back to the Metro Centre stop and then spent around 20 minutes trying to figure out how to work out the ticket machine so that we could get out to the Cemetery. Eventually we did, and we were on our way. The metro stop was literally over the road from Arlington and just up the road from the Pentagon - which we decided not to go and walk to due to all the security around (it's the day before the anniversary of 9/11).

We went into the cemetery, picked up a map and then stepped back out into the glorious sunshine. The place is bizarre. It's so quiet and hushed, and the rows upon rows of identical headstones plays with your eyes and makes you dizzy. The weather was lovely, and it was nice to spend the day walking around; we visited JFK's tomb, and up at the amphitheatre, we could see right the way across to D.C, with the Washington monument prominent in the skyline. 

We stayed at the amphitheatre to watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There was quite a crowd for this, and many patriots all standing with their hands on their hearts. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier contains the remains of 4 unidentified American service personnel - one each from WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam - and represents all of the unidentified fallen personnel that have served the United States.

It was getting very hot by this point in the day, and we'd seen much of the cemetery, so we decided to head back to D.C. We got on the metro and chose to jump off at a stop called 'Foggy Bottom' just because it was hilarious. It turned out to be one of the oldest neighbourhoods near to the Potomac river and is now the home of George Washington University. We jumped off the metro and thought we'd walk back through the city, but along the way we were distracted by a Whole Foods store, which promised ACTUAL REAL LIVE VEGETABLES

It was brilliant - they had soy milk, fresh fruit and veg and chicken and these teeny-tiny little pearly potatoes...we didn't realise  how much we'd been missing fresh, homemade food, so we ran a little wild in whole foods. We bought the teeny little potatoes (obviously!), some chicken and some BROCCOLI (yum) and planned to make ourselves a little feast when we got back to the hostel kitchen. 

We carried on through Foggy Bottom and walked for a while to the Lincoln Memorial; a monument built to honour the 16th President, which depicts a 19ft statue of the man sat in contemplation, and inscriptions from two of his famous speeches - the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address. The monument was heaving, but we managed to find a little spot to sit and people watch, looking out across the reflecting pool. It was here that I also shamelessly chased a National Park Ranger that I spotted carrying a box of the National Park stamps, so that I could collect them. He laughed at me. I didn't care. I think I have a problem. 

After this, we walked down past the reflecting pool to the WW2 monument, and carried back around the Washington Monument and past the White House to get back to the hostel to cook our dinner. We - or rather I, if I'm being honest - couldn't resist stopping off at a nearby Starbucks for another pumpkin latte. The guy put whipped cream on my dairy-free latte, and when I told him I couldn't eat it, proceeded to just scrape off the cream....EXCELLENT customer service, I must say. 

The coffee (along with the accompanying cake pop, natch) sort of ruined our appetite for our healthy dinner, so we decided to hold off on cooking it for a while. We found a deserted 'cinema room' in the hostel with a giant TV which we commandeered to put on the US Open Final between Murray and Djokovic...we stayed up til after 10pm cheering Andy on and...he WON! Woo - very proud! 

Finally, we stumbled bleary eyed back out into the kitchen to cook our dinner - it was delicious, and the broccoli was worth the wait! As we were eating, an older asian lady came in with a tray of cupcakes and tried to offer us one...however we'd stuffed ourselves with tiny potatoes so had to politely decline her. 

We dragged ourselves to our room and packed our bags ready to depart for Philadelphia in the morning, before collapsing into sleep.

Deej x 

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