Greetings readers and welcome to Blog day number 2!
Today involved LOTS of walking. Everything aches and is certainly deserved of a bath, however following a rather chilling experience with the bath here yesterday, I’m going to opt out! (Let’s just say not EVERYTHING in the states is bigger than at home!)
Before I tell you about today, I’d like to take a short moment to write about my current surroundings in which I’m sat to write. When booking a cheap, central hotel, I didn’t think I’d end up in the nearly 100 year old Hamilton Hotel which is on the National Register of Historic places.
Tonight I’m sat in the foyer. Perfect people watching position, in the back left hand corner. It’s small but perfectly appointed nicely scented (Important) and has more gold leaf than you can shake a stick at. It just feels great and a perfect place to write… (especially with music like Carole King’s Tapestry gently playing in my ears – shout-out to Spotify!)
As I’ve written this, someone has started hoovering. It’s 10pm…. SHHH!
Today I was up and out fairly early for me on holiday (before 10!!) and headed down to the Washington and Lincoln monuments Via the White House. (to be clear, the President’s house, not the Kosher Take away in Hendon/Golders Green). While by the White House, I noticed a lot of Police Cordons, followed by a helicopter overhead. This then was followed by a convoy of about 20 police bikes, a good 10 or so police cars and then three black “State Cars”….. The cars headed into the driveway of the White House…. I assume that was the president coming home. (Sadly I didn’t get any photos!)
From the White House, I walked back down toward the Washington Memorial. In daylight it’s just as imposing as it is at night! I now know that it was built to commemorate the first President of the United States, George Washington… and that when built, it was the tallest structure in the world, later trumped by the Eiffel Tower! (I know some more but I’m not gonna bore you with the facts… wikipedia has it all should you desire!)
From the Washington Memorial, I walked along to the WW2 Memorial, amazed by the immense detailing present on the memorial and the thought that had gone into it. It’s at the end of the Lincoln monument reflection pool and gives great views of both the Lincoln and Washington Monuments.
I wandered along the Lincoln Monument reflection pool in the bitter cold (It’s -5) up to the Lincoln Monument, Watching the reflection of the Washington monument grow as I walked.
When I got to the Lincoln Monument I froze for a moment at the sheer size of it. While the Washington is tall and imposing, this is tall and vast and just kinda of BAM hits you in the face. I climbed the steps and entered inside to see the statue of Lincoln in the center.
While in the hall, I over heard a mother shout in a southern twang “Mary, Mary, get in front of Abe for a photo” (Mary, obviously pronounced “May-Ree”)… I decided that Abe probably would have been a fan of a selfie, so did the obvious.
From the Lincoln Memorial, I walked back toward the National Mall via the Korea memorial (because I was passing) toward the museums.
Soon I found myself at the Holocaust museum. Even having been to Poland, I felt compelled to visit and saw a number of artifacts and items which I hadn’t seen before. It’s got a similarity to what I can remember of Yad Vashem, where the main museum is dark, but you cross a number of times, through the light of the center of the museum. It’s cleverly set out across 4 floors ending at the Memorial Hall where I lit a candle in Remembrance of the distance family I lost at Majdanek. ( I only learned of them Via my Cousin, Sherman when visiting…. More about that trip is here)
From the Holocaust Museum, I headed up the National Mall towards the Capitol Building Stopping for lunch at what was effectively an office mall full of business people. (A bit like Canary Wharf)… the food court had a load of options, and I had a lovely Falafel pita.
Satiated, I headed towards the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. There were lots of planes and a few spacecraft to see. Oddly, I didn’t really take any photos. This is probably as I was a little… well let down by the museum… Thinking about it, the reason I was so let down is because last time I was in the states I went to the Kennedy Space Center which was hands down the best museum/working place experience I have ever been to. (I’m still blown away by Atlantis!)
From the Air and Space museum, I crossed the National Mall and had a wander round the Natural History Museum. Unfortunately again, I felt a little let down, most likely as we’ve got the impressive Natural History Museum in London. (Which houses a sample taken by me! If you don’t know the story, ask me next time you have half an hour to spare!)
From the Natural History Museum, I headed next door to the Museum of American History. This turned out to be a Bizarre collection of things, Trains, Cars, Buses, Clothes… all sorts. I did manage to go and see the Original “Star Spangled Banner” made by Mary Pickersgill in 1813. As the flag is now kept under special conditions, It’s now in a no-photo area, so you’ll have to trust me when I tell you I’ve seen it! (And no, It’s laying down so I can’t say that, that star spangled banner yet waves. *rimshot*)
As I left the Museum, I managed to grab this pretty nice shot from the center of the National Mall:
I was in need of a bit of a sit down so got the metro back to my hotel (I just couldn’t face the walking!) and relaxed in front of the telly for a bit before heading out to a kosher restaurant for some dinner. – I’ve eaten my body weight in meat and am more than satiated yet again!!
I don’t want to bore you all with more transport geekiness, but I’m gonna. In stark contrast to NY’s Subway the Metro is very clean, clear and uniform. All of the underground stations I’ve been to so far have been of a VERY similar design – Impressive vaulted horizontal cylinders. Platforms have lights on the edge which flash when the train is approaching and there are machines inside the gateline to top up your card if you run out of credit when you get to your destination. (Nearly, but not yet used by me!)
There’s also quite the mix of trains – I thought when I arrived that things were still a bit “classic” here but have since been set right with a ride on the (I assume) brand new trains which include 3 types of display to tell you where you are and what’s next! They ain’t messing about!
Right. Enough train talk. I probably ought to get to bed. Tomorrow morning I’ve booked onto a tour of the Capitol Building! Hoping to pass a bill to sort out the man in charge…. No Promises but I’ll try my best!
Good Evening (or I imagine morning by the time you come to read this) Earthlings and all other unfortunate creatures who have stumbled upon this blog.
For those of you who have been sending me what can only be described as borderline hate mail, (you know who you are) I am pleased if not indifferent to say that the Holiday Blog is back. (Travel Blog would be a vast overstatement!!)
Coming live to you this evening from Washington DC just after the State of the Union Address was given by the President, just a few blocks down from where I am writing this…. More on that later…
Before I get to DC, I want to clear a few things up:
I haven’t been blogging the first 5 Days of this trip because I’ve been to NY before. Anyone with lots of time to kill can bore themselves silly here reading about that…
The first 5 days of this trip have been downtime. If you’ve been following my life, you should be aware that I’m currently between jobs just like the last time I was in the states, but this time I have a very exciting job lined up for my return! I’ve spent very little time in New York City itself, mainly keeping busy round New Jersey with the lovely Abrahams’ eating far too much food and buying too many clothes.
There are a few things I have noticed about America (Well NY/NJ and now Washington DC which I have noticed which I wanna just throw a bit of light on:
The Police/Pigs/Five-Oh/Feds. They everywhere! You can’t go more than 5 minutes without seeing another car (At least in NY/NJ and tonight in DC. It makes you feel kinda safe…. you know!
I forget that I should be more thankful for the clean, well signed, easy to navigate London Underground. I take it for granted. While the Subway is getting better (They have new signage/screens which are actually better than London!) We’re still waaay ahead for ease and clean… although some express trains would be nice!
Immense National Pride
Regardless of the Cheesy Wotsit running the country, everyone appears to be immensely proud to be American. This means putting an American flag on EVERYTHING. I’m pretty sure they’d stamp it on toilet seats if it wasn’t a bit weird. I bloody love it. If you hung Union Jacks up at home on everything you’d get accused of being part of a Britain First kind of fascist movement… but here, no matter creed colour or race, putting a flag on it is the right thing to do! I bloody love a bit of national pride!
Things settled, onto today….
I had a slow start this morning, repacking my suitcase and packing my backpack for my two nights in DC before I got a lift (Thanks Jem) to LaGuardia Airport where I endured an hour and a half delay before getting on the “Shuttle” service to DC. Literally the Plane equivalent of a bus.
The plane was tiny and so was the journey. By the time the Air-hostesses had given out drinks, it was time to collect in the garbage to land. We’d barely gotten going.
I navigated the DC Metro to find my hotel, the Hamilton (Insert links to the musical, but as I’ve not seen it, I won’t understand you.) I’m right in Downtown DC and thanks to some sneaky booking, it didn’t cost an arm and a leg! (Loves a bargain me!).
I checked in, and went and got some food. It’s freezing cold, -5 here, so a big pizza did the trick before I went for a stroll…. I was hoping to catch the protests which were going on but sadly missed them.
Looking at some of the monuments and buildings at night, I’ve come to realize how little I actually know about the history of America (Which for an A Level Geography student is a little worrying!).
I wandered down to the Washington Monument, managing to take a wrong turn and not see the White House on the way (Well done!).
From the memorial, I wandered down towards the Capitol building where the State of the Union Speech was taking place. (I’m sure I wasn’t on the best route, but a guy who looked like Obama waved to me while he was being driven, so I was happy!)
The pavements were empty literally not a soul in sight, but Police on EVERY corner. I’m almost certain I’ve seen more police today here in Washington DC than we have in the whole of the UK!
From near the Capitol building, I asked a Police Woman where the Protest was… she told me I’d missed it by about 10 minutes and it had dispersed along the road… had I eaten quicker I might have seen it, but she assured me that Pizza was better than protest.
From the Capitol building, I found a Walmart (I do love a late night supermarket!) where I purchased some supplies (gotta be prepared!) before heading back to the hotel in a Taxi who told me all about how Uber was killing their trade. Sounds familiar!
Well… that as they say is that! I’m off to catch some sleep, I’ve got two beds to choose from (LOL) but I’m excited to be up and out tomorrow early doors to go and do some sightseeing and museum visiting!
Nighty Night… or good morning if you’re reading it back home!