MGWeb Travel Blog

Washington, D.C., USA - 6 June - 9 June 2012

August 30, 2012United States

A long flight from Seattle with a connection in Minneapolis had me arriving after dark in the District Capital. I had to walk something like 20 blocks at around midnight, so was a little apprehensive as to whether I was safe or not, but it was an uneventful walk where I relaxed after a few blocks when I saw two girls all dressed up and seemingly on their way to a nightclub.


So you may be wondering why on Earth I would fly all the way across the United States from West to East? Well my idea was that I had seen a fair bit of the States, most of the big cities at least, and would be able to head back to Europe which is the place I love to travel most. So instead of flying all the way to Europe from the West, I could stop over in the East for a few days before carrying on. Seeing as I’d already been to New York, nearby D.C. was a good alternative.


My first impression of D.C. was that it’s an “artificial” city in such a way that the whole thing seems like it was planned from scratch and built without much deviation from the plan. After a little research, I confirmed my suspicion and found out that George Washington himself had designed the city with the intent of it becoming the country’s capital city. And so it is a city devoted to politics. If you live in the city you are either a politician, trying to get into politics, or just someone who likes living there amongst all the politics.


The very wide streets, big blocks, Georgian and gothic architecture, wide sidewalks with trees lining them, mild climate, and an easy-living vibe from the people gives D.C. a pretty good atmosphere. So, what do you do in D.C.? Well you see all the monuments first of all! I walked around most of the city, it’s big but can still be done mostly on foot if you have a whole day. I had been looking forward to getting to the Lincoln Memorial which is from where Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech and seeing the Reflecting  Pool. Unfortunately the Reflecting Pool has been under renovation for the last two years! Sucks for me, apparently it had some serious leak issues.. oh well. So here you can see the “concrete” Reflecting Pool with the Washington Monument in the background.



The Lincoln Memorial itself.



With old honest Abe inside.



The World War II Memorial on the other side of the Reflecting Pool.



The Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. I found it very interesting because they have dozens of quotes from him all around the place. A truly great man, I would say.



Next to the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial is the Tidal Basin which is rightly named so, the high tide had covered part of the pathway!



I happened to catch a pic of a Chinook :)



Mr Obama’s house from the front.



And from the back.



I also made a trip to the nearby Arlington Cemetery which is just outside D.C., near the Pentagon. I spent a bit of time there, half because it was interesting and half because I actually got lost for a while the place is so huge! They seem to bury all the old and new war heroes there.



I also went to the Pentagon to see what I could see. I didn’t take a photo of it directly as there were signs saying “no photography” and stuff everywhere, and the last thing I wanted was some FBI agent confiscating my camera. But right next to the Pentagon there is a 9/11 memorial, and in there I was allowed to take pictures, so I took one with the Pentagon in the background.



At first the memorial is a little confusing, but I figured it out. There are dozens of rows of those things everywhere. Each row signifies a birth-year. The rows are ordered from the year of the oldest person’s birthdate who died in the 9/11 attacks, to the youngest. Each one of those things sticking out has a few names on them. So suffice to say, many people died in those attacks – 184 to be exact. There were even some children born as recently as in the late 90’s who died, I guess they went to work with mommy or daddy that day.


On a higher note, I found that I enjoyed the food and nightlife in D.C. Bars there are not too expensive, and I had a couple good nights out with people from the hostel I was at. I also spent some time in the Smithsonian Museums. I had a look in the American Natural History museum, which is mostly about Native Americans and slaves, but didn’t really enjoy it – I guess I don’t have an interest in that stuff. I did enjoy the Space Museum, all sorts of cool facts about airplanes, space shuttles, Apollo missions and whatnot!


So that was my time up in the United States! On the 9th of June I jumped on a plane for New York, and on the same day jumped on a plane headed for Europe (it worked out a lot cheaper to do it like that). Maybe I shall return to the States one day, although I would like to hit up South America and Canada before I do so, but you never know.



Written by Mark G