Less than zero percent interest in American politics? Well it doesn’t matter when visiting Washington DC. A trip to the nation’s glorious capital will be a truly unforgettable experience.
Washington is an impressively beautiful and vibrant city bursting at the seams with magnificent museums, amazing monuments, art collections, stately avenues, beautiful parklands and gardens, cherry blossom, lovely homes, great restaurants and history. And best of all….almost everything you will ever need to see and do is free.
During the time we spent in Washington (the very end of April to the beginning of May) the spring weather was somewhat unpredictable – a little like the weather of Melbourne, Australia. It varied between very cold with heavy rain and thunderstorms to very, very warm and muggy (and I actually got sunburnt). We spent almost seven days in Washington and barely scratched the surface of this wonderful city. And Washington is also one of the best cities to do on foot so do take a pair or two of your best walking shoes.
The Mall (not to be confused with shopping) is the boulevard which stretches approximately 1 mile in DC and is the virtual heart of the city. This is the area where you will find many of Washington’s museums. You can (and I did) spend an entire day in just one museum and you still may not get to see everything in it! The National Museum of American History is a must for any traveller to Washington. It is a five story showcase of America’s fascinating history. And a tip – get to the museums (or any site such as a memorial or monument) early. Most museums open at 10am and close around 5:30pm.
The National Museum of American History and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz
The extremely harrowing, thought provoking yet very moving Holocaust Memorial Museum
We ate some pretty great food in Washington and there are plenty of places to choose from. My two favourites of the trip are listed below:
* Old Ebbitt Grill – Do I love this place? Absolutely! Its a bit of a step-back in Washington time and is just around the corner from the White House. Old world, dark and moody with lots of polished wood. Modern cuisine and great drinks list too. If you can, grab a stool at the bar. At the bar is where you meet the most interesting people plus you can eat and drink while having a birds eye view which is especially great if like me you love to people watch. The staff are wonderful too which is always a bonus.
* The Capital Grille – This is FAB!!! Great food and wine and conversation with the local suit wearing powerbrokers of Washington. The Grille is located on Pennsylvania Ave just near the Capitol Building and once again a seat at their lovely bar is essential. Do try their dry aged steaks along with the Washington State wines from the Grille’s award winning list. This was well worth the money and more.
When out and about keep your energy levels up………. with an ‘ice cream taco’
The public transport system in DC is great. Especially their rail system. I am a bit of a train buff so I did ride the rail on a couple of occasions. It is all very user friendly too.
The underground rail system in DC – its a little grainy as the shot was taken on my phone
On one particular day I actually walked so much and so far that I decided to grab a cab home to the hotel. The ride was relatively quick, cheap and very entertaining. The following photos were taken in that cab.
The first photo is the inside roof of the cab (yes, they are shoe prints) and tucked beside the driver was a dog-eared and page marked copy of ‘The Joy of Sex’. Needless to say our conversation was an interesting one!
During the weekend, the ‘wannabe’s’ of Washington head to a little place called Georgetown but don’t be put off by that fact. This was a lovely little community to visit for a day trip as was the suburb of Foggy Bottom. Both are in very easy reach of the city by bus or rail or if like me, on foot (therein requiring a cab ride home).
Okay, a big finale for the Washington trip. To commemorate our trip to Washington (this trip also encompassed attending the RAAF Washington Ball) we had the opportunity to fly ‘our flag’ at the Washington Capitol Building. We flew the American flag (as we were unable to fly an Australian one) as part of the Capitol Flag Program. On a set day (you nominate the date), your flag will fly at the Capitol Building. Once flown, it is then taken down at the end of the day and given to you as a keepsake along with a certificate. All you need do is contact your local member of Congress.
‘Our flag’ – flying at The Washington Capitol Building
The White House – 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is probably the best known address in the US. Every president except George Washington has lived here.
In the front yard of a home in Washington DC
The Washington Monument – an obelisk visible from almost everywhere in Washington
A great farmers markets I happened upon one day in the heart of Washington
Moi and FB xx