From Washington

Washington monument

We got up at 6am and were determined to line up at the Washington Monument which is a obelisk shape which is meant to signify eternity. It is shaped like a one cause he was the first President of America. when we got there there was a huge line but after an hour wait we went up the elevator to the little windows up the top and had a fantastic view of Washington and surrounds for 30miles out! It was a particularly fine day so we had a great view of where we’d been over the last few days.

There are a lot of museums in Washington so its hard to decide which one to go see, anyway we went to the Holocaust museum which is a huge display of actual photos of atrocities committed and displays of interviews with survivors. After that sombre visit we needed a break so went to the botanical gardens to have lunch and went shopping. We saw a pink bride with pastel green bridesmaids having their pictures taken in the gardens! We thought they were Puerto Rican.

We took the metro to East Falls Church which is a suburb of Washington to go shop and I bought some scarves and Rick bought 2 pair sof shorts. We noticed an unusually named restaurant “Dogfish head Alehouse” so we went and had dinner. Waitresses are very friendly here and our waitress tonight was exceptionally friendly. Rick couldn’t decide which beer he wanted so she bought him 3 different ones shot size to try. Waitresses expect 18% tip and they work for it!

Mt Vernon , Arlington

After walking back to Georgetown we hired bikes from the local bike store which unfortunately didn’t open till 10 am , and there was a queue ! We rode along the Mt vernon trail to Mt Vernon. Mostly it is a bitumen shared trail and mainly well marked , except at halfway point just out of Alexandria and we found ourselves well off the track .The round trip ended up t 62 km mainly on a shaded trail next to the Potomac river. We went for a tour of George Washington’s estate .The buildings were mainly in the style as it would have been back in the late 1700s. It was a large plantation and there were around 300 saves employed. Washington later renounced slavery as being incompatible with a free USA and later freed his slaves in his will. The ride home was pleasant especially as we knew the way. After dropping the bikes back we walked back toward the Arlington cemetery. This is a huge lawn cemetery with sacred stones , with bout 400,000 buried there.

Amtrak New York to WashingtonDC .

The Amtrack regional train was spacious and comfortable, took 3.5 hours what would take 5-6 hours to drive. Straight out of New York we came through some very industrial areas, then later  through Delaware and Philadelphia. When we arrived in Washington we had to take another 2 trains to get to Arlington, on the metro , then it was only a short walk once we worked out which way to go. We are sharing a 2 bedroom apartment with a young man through airbnb. It’s great to have a proper kitchen to  cook in  though it is very small. The weather has been very humid and about 30C so we had the fan going in our room. Rick went for a short 6km run and got a bit dehydrated with the humidity, so was a bit of a reluctant tourist! We walked downtown to the Old  Washington   precinct which is very impressive with it straddling the Potomac river.  I couldn’t stop taking photos there was so much to see and the old stately buildings are so impressive. First we went to the Washington Monument which which is 169 m  and was built from 1884- 1888, as a tribute to George Washington’s  military leadership during the American Revolution. We spent the day walking around most of the memorials . Have to says it’s pretty clear that without the American sacrifices in WW2 we might be living in a different world. There are memorials to all of the well known presidents ,those who left their mark , I guess and other important Americans ,  such as Martin Luther King. Toward the end of the day we were able to go on a tour of the Capitol building. Our route home took us past the White House.
Our intention was  to line up  at 7am and  try to get tickets to go up the Washington monument but it didn’t happen. The humidity has got to us a bit so after a late start we caught the metro back to the Mall in the capital and went to a couple of the many museums , which all have free entry. In the aerospace museum we sat through a couple of 3D movies in the iMax – Hubble and Normandy. We boarded the metro for a return to the apartment but there was an “arc” between the very stations we needed to get to and the train wasn’t stopping there . We got off early and went to a food court for dinner and then walked home through Georgetown – which is a shopping area with the buildings still in their original style from the early 1800’s .