Washington DC

Trip Start Jan 11, 2013
Trip End Jan 31, 2013

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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Monday, January 28, 2013

The final destination of this trip was Washington DC, the capital city of the US. This city was last but not least. That was one of the most attractive cities I've ever visited. Because I took a overnight bus from Philadelphia, I arrived at Union Stataion at 3 am and then I stayed at a cafe until 4:30. I was thinking about my first destination of the city, but there are not many tourist attractions which are open at that time. However, I found out that all of my destinations are located around the National mall. So I headed for the National Mall, but subway was also not available at the time. At the station, I asked for directions to the National Park, and a station staff member told me to go to Smithonian. At that time, however, I didn't know I could walk to the National Mall. Anyway, I waited for the first train bound for Smithsonian.

At Smithonian, the first thing I did was taking a picture of a map, because I knew there were a lt of museum around the National Mall and, without a map, I would waste a lt of time. Anyway, when I went up the stairs to the ground, I realised it was raining. I hesitated to go out. Because I had nothing to do in the subway station, I decided to walk out. I just headed for the Capitol Hill, though I didn't know what time it would open. When I saw the Capital Hill, it looked close to the subway station, but I had heard it was actually quite far. On my way, I saw some joggers even in the rain and darkness. I was impressed those enthusiastic joggers, but I was not encouraged. I arrived at the visitor center at around half past six and it was two hours before the opening time. It was uncomfortable to wait in front of the entrance. I was talked by policemen twice and asked why I was there so early in the moring. I just honestly explained and didn't have any problem, but it was uncomfortable. In addition, because it was cold around there, I couldn't stand still. So I kept walked about.

At half past eight, the entrance opened. However, I was not the first one to enter. A family who came there 5 minutes before the opening hour dashed to the entrance and they entered before me, which made me a bit unhappy! (lol) Anyway, I left my bag at the cloak and get a ticke for the guided tour of the Capitol. When I arrived at the meeting place of the tour, there were a lot of visitors and it proved that the tour was very popular. The guided tour was well-worth joining, or rather a must. It doesn't mean that the guide was great, but that if you don't take the tour, you can't see the inside of the Capital. I was impressed by rooms of the Capitol as well as its outside appearance.

After that, I visited the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, which was the museum I was looking forward to visiting. Strangely the museum was closed, although I arrived at the museum at 11:00. I didn't know why, but somebody told me that all the Smithsonian museums were closed at the time, because of bad weather of the day. Just BAD WEATHER made all the museums closed! In fact, an employer of a museum said so.... Eventually I waited one hour, eating early lunch in front of the museum. The museum opened at 12 sharp as the employer said. First thing I saw in the museum was dinosaur fossils, the highlight of the museum. The collection was amazing! It was different from that of the movie Night Museum, but I liked it very much. I spent two hours in the museum and one of them in the dinosaur fossil section. Other than that, there were some live creatures like spiders, scorpions, butterflies, etc, but they were not as impressive as the fossils.

After I left the museum, I headed for Washington Memorial. You can see the memorial from anywhere in the National Mall, but it is not always easy to get there. I thought it was possible to enter the monument, but the gate was closed. So I just took some pictures and left for Lincoln Memorial. It was also very far, but it was a must-visit to me. I was eager to get a view of the
Washington Memorial from there. I liked the view since I watched Forrest Gump. I walked up to the memorial on the lane along the Reflecting Pond. So when I went up to the top of the Lincon Memorial steps, I took a picture of the view before that of the Lincoln Statue. Needless to say, the statue was also impressive. Personally, that was the best tourist attraction of Washington DC.

Before I depart for the next destination White House, I dropped by the tourist information near the memorial hall. The staff gave me directions to the White House and a piece of advice. He suggested that I should walk around the house ground to see it from different directions. That seemed to be a good advice, but it was a bit hard, because the ground was huge. First, I saw the house from the south side. It was the house I had seen in its pictures, but the house was seen in the distance. Then I walked to the opposite side, but the house didn't look so impressive. To be honest, the White House looks better in its pictures. I was tired from a long walk, so I finished sightseeing of the day and headed for my hostel. 

On the next day, I had a plan to visit two museums: American History Museum and National Air and Space Museum. However, as soon as I arrived at the National Mall, I changed my mind, because it was a beautiful day and I felt like visiting the Lincoln Memorial again. So I walked a lot again to the memorial and I got a great view of Washington Memorial from there. I am not a museum person, so I didn't care about losing time to visit the museums. Still because the museums are very famous, I felt like trying them. First, I tried the American History Museum. At the all the Smithsonian museum entrances, you have to take a security check. It was a trouble to me, but considering the fact that they were American museums, it seened to be a matter of course. Anyway, when I got through the security check of the American History Museum, I happened to see a tour guide of the museum. She was alone, so I asked her about her tour. She said she didn't have any visitors to join her tour. Because I didn't care about it, I decided to join her tour on the spot. Her tour lasted about one hour and it was great. she showed me highlights of the museum. Because the museum was huge and it was impossible to see everything, her tour was really helpful. After her tour, I took the same route as the tour, taking pictures.

The last destination in Washington DC was National Air and Space Museum, the most popular Smithsonian museum. I don't like museums so much, but I loved this museum. Probably, that was the best museum I had ever visited. Some displays were gorgeous, including Soyuz, Space Shuttle engine and Wright Flyers. I was so excited that I lost track of time. I spent two hours there, but that was not enough. At half past five closing time, gurds forced all the visitors out. Otherwise, excited visitors would never have got out of the museum. Actually, I was scheduled to leave there at five, but I couldn't until 5:30.. So I had to hurry to Union Bus Station to catch a bus for Montreal via New York. 

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