Sep 25, 2011
May 08, 2012
Anyway I am heading to Philadelphia but will go to Baltimore first, leaving on the 22nd
I arrived in Washington by Amtrak train from Harpers Ferry and it was quite straightforward to get to the Hostel. Red line to Metro Centre and then 3 blocks walk. The Hostel was in a great area of the city, within 20 minute walk to the WHite House for example. To get my bearings, i got a 48 hour Hop on Hop off bus pass on a double decker and there were 3 routes and I did each one twice. I did a lot of walking and it was a nice break to sit for awhile. Each round trip route took about 1-1.5 hours. I stayed in a female dorm with 8 beds. The only annoying thing was most mornings the person in the breakfast room (free toast, cereal, fruit,.juice, coffee) wanted us to say Good Morning in a language other than ENglish, and introduce ourselves to the person sitting at the table (there were long tables) and I am not all that garrulous in the morning as I like to read my travel guide and figure out what I want to do that day. However, I did meet people from Korea, Calif, China, Washington State, Poland. Most in my dorm were Asian and found it so cold! And here myself and the German girl were so hot.....Again good value for money, they also had free tours in the evening but I was too tired from walking all day to walk again. The highlight, other than the thrill of seeing the White House - it is indeed accessible and it and Congress are at opposite ends of Pennsylvania avenue.was going to an evening musical celebration of 150 years of Asbury Church, a predominately black church across the street from the hostel. some of the soloists brought tears to my eyes and they could have been Aretha Franklin and professional opera singers but they were just church members. It was a well to do church which sponsors 4000 meals per month for homeless people. Each city has its share of homeless people and panhandlers that is for sure.The other highlight was the Newseum which showcases 4 slabs of the Berlin Wall and displays on its outside walls front pages of many USA daily papers as well as some foreign ones. I took a free tour of the 6 story building and the tour volunteer pointed out that next door was the Canadian Embassy, the only Embassy downtown and within sight of Congress. It is a new building with a huge inukshuk in the foyer. On the hop on hop off bus, the taped tour guide also pointed out various Embassies, ie Turkey, even Iran, which had bars on all its windows, including those 4 floors up, Australia etc. and that Canada was conspiciously missing as it was downtown, the only one allowed that close to the White House. I spent 7 days in Washington and got a feel for the city, it has various neighbourhoods. There was a Washington Capitals hockey game when I was there and all the bars around the Verizon Centre were packed at 6 p.m. and people were streaming by wearing their red jerseys with their favourite player's name on the back. Lots of couples and families. The arena is right in the middle of Chinatown, which was quite amazing!