Thursday, October 15, 2009

Washington, DC... in 5 Hours?

Is it possible to do Washington DC in one afternoon? The answer is no, of course, but then again, if you're nearby enough to pop in on the train, there is plenty to see and do in a few hours, and the experience can be quite rewarding.

After the Baltimore Comic-con, I stopped in Silver Springs Maryland for the night, and the next day took the metro to the Smithsonian stop in Washington. I had to change trains twice, but things went pretty smooth, and it was only 20 minutes or so until I was standing within an area surrounded by the Smithsonian Museum buildings, and gazing over at the Washington Monument.

Now, being there for the afternoon, I had to prioritise, so standing in line was out. It was well worth it just to walk around the Washington monument, tilting my head back ever minute or so to see just how high it is, and looking for the secret inscription that Dan Brown mentions in his new book. From there it was a short walk to the Lincoln Memorial, with several other memorials to see along the way.

The biggest disappointment so far was that big long pool of water you see in all the movies, including Logan's Run, where it was full of weeds from centuries of neglect. In reality, the pool looked a LOT like it did in Logan's Run, having green water that was overflowing in places onto the dirt path that followed alongside. Stick to the sidewalk about 20 meters away is what I recommend, although I stuck to it and followed the pool all the way to the steps. Looking left you can see the Jefferson Memorial, by the way, and turning around you can sometimes spot the Capitol Building in the distance, behind the Washington Monument.

See how much we've seen already?

The Lincoln Memorial is awesome in it's own sobering way, and definitely one of the monuments worth going in and walking around for a bit. Take time to read Lincoln's words on the walls, and to just stand there gazing up at the man himself.

I then walked back to the Smithsonian making a slight detour east to see the Whitehouse, which unfortunately had a big white tent in front of it, marring the view. It just didn't seem worth going any closer since there was no time for a tour, so back across the park under the Washington Monument, and back to the Smithsonian.

Once there, there were many options from Art museums, an information Castle where Mr. Smithson is interred, the Air & Space Museum, and the Natural History Museum. I love Natural History Museums, and was curious to see how much the Night in the Museum resembled it, so spent my few remaining hours there, where I saw a LOT of cool stuff, and even learned a few things. Highly recommended, especially if you have kids. Be warned, though, that food inside is expensive, but good, and the gift shops are marked up considerably. Still, you gotta buy something while you're there. :0)

After that it was another short train trip back, and then into the car for the ride home. A very good afternoon, indeed, walking amongst our nation's history, and seeing close-up all those things you see in the movies, which is really what travel is all about, isn't it? Experiencing life first-hand.

Cheers, JOHN :0)

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