After our hassle getting there, we enjoyed DC very much. We stayed in a very basic
youth hostel room (HI Hostel, 11th and K street), but we could walk pretty much
everywhere from our hostel. One day we walked 11 miles, as measured by the pedometer
I got from McDonalds with the purchase of an ‘Adult Happy Meal’ (salad, etc).
The Washington Metro is excellent - cheap, clean and seems to go everywhere – great
for outings that are just a little too far to walk. They also have these people known
as ‘Red Hats’. These are employed by the City (I think) to assist tourists and you’ll
see them near the major Metro stations and popular sites for tourists. The ones we dealt
with were friendly and knowledgeable.
We visited the Mall, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Museum
of Natural History (very good), Arlington National Cemetery (JFK's grave, Changing of the
Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, etc) the Lincoln Memorial and the White House
(not that you can really get all that close these days).
We also visited the Capitol. A very beautiful old building with many fine paintings,
statues and other artwork in it. Lots of history here, at least compared to us, if not by
European standards. Most of these attractions are free of charge. There’s lots more
we would like to have seen, but there’s only so much the kids can take…
Washington has a reputation for being one of America’s most crime-ridden cities, and there
are no doubt parts of town where it would not be advisable to go at night. We had no
problems at all, and felt perfectly safe walking back to our hostel up 11th street from a movie
theatre downtown at about 11:00PM (having seen ‘Supersize Me’ – we didn’t go back to
McDonalds or any other fast-food joint for weeks!) There were plenty of people around,
coming out of bars and restaurants, getting into taxis, etc.
Likewise, we felt safe walking a block or two north along 11th street to buy booze and other
supplies at a small convenience store, even at night.
Walking to the Lincoln Memorial we were surprised to see Marine 1 (the President's
helicopter) swoop overhead and land on the South Lawn of the White House nearby.
You can't get all that close, but we could clearly see that it appeared to be either dropping
off or picking up GWB or someone important. A few minutes later it started its engines
again and we filmed it lifting off from the South Lawn and flying away past the Washington
Monument, just like in the movies.
A cab driver told us it was probably dropping Bush off after his weekend at nearby
Camp David, it being Monday morning. Later we saw on the news that Bush had been off
to Kansas to make a speech marking the 50th anniversary of the famous Brown vs. Topeka
Board of Education case that was a landmark civil rights victory in the Supreme Court.
The same cab driver, by the way, in the space of ten minutes told us that Bush was only
president due to the machinations of his brother Jeb in Florida and also should be tried
for war crimes!
You do apparently see the Presidential motorcades here quite frequently. One Aussie at
our hostel was visiting the Capitol when Bush's motorcade pulled up at the Senate. There
is a big convention of police and law enforcement from all over the US and the world here
at the moment. Bush's visit to the Senate I think was in connection with this. This convention
includes some British bobbies and others from overseas. It's a bloody nuisance actually,
as they are being shuttled about the city in a large fleet of buses, day and night. The DC police,
presumably as a sign of respect to their police brethren, insist on giving them a full police escort
everywhere they go - one car in front of the bus, one behind, lights and sirens on. This continues
for most of the night. Oh well, I guess we are perhaps better protected than at any other time!
Arlington National Cemetery
JFK Grave & Eternal Flame, Arlington
Bobby Kennedy's Grave
Artwork from Capitol (British surrender)
The Capitol, Artwork on Rotunda
On the Capitol Steps
Bush Chopper (Landed)
Bush Chopper Take-off
Caity meets the President (is it for real, or trick photography? – you
be the judge…)
Zac with George W Bush
DC from Arlington - look familiar CBR?
DC Licence Plate (They have only a non-voting member in Congress)
Lincoln Memorial, Interior
Lincoln Memorial, Exterior
Washington Monument, viewed from Lincoln Memorial
Family at White House
NLK at White House
Dom at White House
Dom & Caity at White House
White House, South Lawn
NLK with Wright Flyer, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
John Glenn's Mercury Capsule, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
The Boys - Vietnam Memorial, DC
More Vietnam Memorial
With grizzly, Natural History Museum