We went to the Washington Giftshop where they have a fake pressroom and oval office set up for photos. Hilarious and great fun.
We went to see the White House today and took the obligatory pics in front.
We went back on the Hop on Hop off bus today because our second day was free and that took us back to stop no 10 – the Lincoln Memorial but also in that vicinity was the Vietnam Memorial, which I wanted to see. I had heard that it was at Arlington Cemetery but it wasn’t – it was near the Lincoln Memorial. The Vietnam Memorial is a highly polished wall in a wide V shape covered in thousands of names of the fallen. The are in alphabetical in order in the year they died.
There are books that look like phone books on stands covered with perspex so that the vetrans or families can locate their loved ones and it gives them the panel number where they can find the name they are looking for. Some people do a rubbing of the name to keep.
The city was wonderful to look around and the weather was phenomenal. We have had 2 days of rain in the whole time we have been away. That is pretty amazing I reckon. Thanks for reading. Any feedback or comments are welcomed.
Field after field of white monuments. It is a sad and confronting place. So many lives lost. Such a waste of talent and so many lives lost without proper planning, training or consideration of the outcomes. Much was done for the right reasons, however, the loss has been staggering.The men and women killed were aged between 17 and 23 on average.
The tomb of the unknown soldier in four wars is guarded 24 hours per day every day of the year, rain, hail, snow, or terrorist attack without fail. Even of the day of the attack on the Pentagon, the soldiers stayed at their post. The changing of the guard happens every hour. The guard marches 21 steps along a rubber mat which has foot prints in it from the hours of repetition. At the end of his 21 steps he turns, changes his weapon from one sholder to the other , waits 21 seconds and returns to the other end, and repeats this for an hour.
Changing of the Guard, Tomb of the unknown soldier. Rain, hail, snow, shine, or terrorist attack; nothing will stop the soldiers guarding the tomb.
Also saw the monument to commemorate the taking of the the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese in 1942.
After all that we needed to eat so headed to the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Washington.
Memorials and remembering day for us in Washington DC- Part One
Such a big day today – will have to do it in two posts. Stay tuned, more to follow.
We started the day with waiting in the lovely sun outside Union Station listening to a man sing about Jesus. It sounded like he had done it all day the day before at least due to his voice cracking and disappearing completely at times. We waited for the Old Town Trolley to take us around the city. This is the same mob we used when we ‘did’ Boston. Very organised, very safety conscious, and great fun.
The journey around Washington was fascinating and the buildings are beautiful. The have all been built over various periods. I saw one that was probably built in the 70’s as it looked just like a building my Dad was involved in designing, which is now the Duxton Hotel in Perth.. The windows were the same deep recessed rectangular style.
Anyway, the day was sunny and the commentary was pacey with a smattering of laughs and questions along the way.
My favourite stop was Stop Number 10, the Lincoln Memorial. We got off here and saw, Martin Luther King’s memorial, one for the Korean War and of course, The Lincoln Memorial.
I cried at the Lincoln Memorial – fancy that eh. I was just so pleased to finally be there. I had wanted to see that sculpture my whole life, and I really have no ties to America per se. Maybe its just that I’m just an emotional person, but the grandeur of the place. The collosal size of the man on his seat. The craftsmanship of the sculpture. Just amazing, and beautiful.
I must say I really have a penchant for sculpture, both creating and looking at it.
After Lincoln and my emotional response, I gathered myself and we wandered down the path to a group of sculptures in an area of shrubs. They were slightly larger than lifesize and represented soldiers in the Korean War. There was also a granite wall with photographs etched into it. Really nice memorial.
Next we wandered further and found the Martin Luther King Memorial. His “I have a dream”speech, which was presented at the Lincoln Memorial included the words “out of the mountain of dispair, a stone of hope”
Here is the mountain represented.
Once we had looked at this piece for a while and watched 72 8th graders wander around and hang off each other to have their photos taken, we went back to our pickup point for the Arlington shuttle to Arlington Cemetary. I spoke to a teacher supervising the students who were being asked to move on quickly so others could take photos, and she said ‘we are trying to encourage, self awareness’. We both laughed.
The shuttle took us to Virginia – just like that and we arrived at the cemetary ready for our tour. We had been told to go into the visitors centre to get our tickets processed – because “people were printing off copies” – so we queued as you do and waited, then when we reached the counter – we were handed two tickets which we thought would cost us – depending on who you spoke to – anything from $9-$12 each. So with our free tickets in hand – off we went.
The bus for the tour was a small trolley and that posed a problem for the larger members of our community.
I’m not a fan of America/Americans either positive or negative – some of the things they do I don’t agree with, but I think they do, do some things extremely well.
We went to the Natural History Museum and we saw heaps of stuff and if you have any questions ask. This blog is misbehaving and captions are just too hard today.
Phenomenal place. We walked around for hours and saw things like the live butterflies, dinosaur bones, the Hope diamond,
crystals, rock formations, gifts from overseas, a mammal display, egyptian mummies and artifacts. Wonderful stuff.
We then wandered across the “Mall” – a long strip of grass down the centre of Washington- to the air and space museum, another of the 19 Smithsonians around the country.
We had lunch there and there were 3 restaurants combined but I think Macdonalds (Mickey D’s as they call it here) was running the show. Hundreds of tables and chairs – truly amazing.
We caught the red Circulator bus to Union Station where Didi bought some cloth patches for her suitcase. I took some photos too. Beautiful building.
After that we caught the yellow Circulator bus back to our hotel.
The Circulator Bus is a service similar to our CAT buses in Perth only the service costs a dollar per ride but you can go a long way for a dollar. We lept off at 14th and K Streets and found our way for one block back to our hotel.
The dinner we had was at the hotel at their restaurant called Grist Mill.
We are off to Washington today and, for the first time since we arrived in NY, it is raining. It's not the sort of torrential rain of a tropical downpour. Its more of an English drizzle. Anyway – it's not too penetrating so raincoats will cover it. The rest of my party decided to wrap their suitcases in plastic bags to keep them dry. It was not necessary in my opinion, due to my packing all my clothes in those bags you suck the air out of to flatten them. I figured if the rain got through the vinyl on the outside of my case, it wouldn't matter anyway. I did cover my camera bag though.
So picture it if you can, four adults pulling their suitcases, covered in plastic, which are being rattled and pulled at by a fair gust or two of wind as we hold the hoods on our raincoats down to cover our faces, while trying to see, and dodge umbrella covered New Yorkians who keep to the right, mainly, at a reasonable pace. This whilst we avoid puddles, wait for the lights to change, dragging our beasts behind us, trying to miss the kerbs so that the wheels will remain in contact with the pavement at all times. Lucky it was only a three block walk.
We arrive fairly unscathed at New York's Pennsylvania (Penn Station) in spite of the escalator ride down to the waiting area. Once we had waited, we were herded into another area to head to track 9West to go to Washington. All loaded on the train and we were off. See below the route we took which lasted almost 3 hours. Great to sit and relax and watch the world go by.
New Jersey,NY – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Wilmington, Delaware – Baltimore, Maryland – Washington, DC
We are staying at the very lovely Hilton Garden Inn 815, 14th Street, North West DC.
We arrived early so had to wait for our rooms to be prepared. One thing I will say about the place is that it has old world charm, with thick carpets and heavy drapes. The bed is sensational. The lighting too is exceptional. Sounds pedantic I know, but really, whoever designs lighting in hotels, must do it to avoid the clients seeing anything that may be faulty. This hotel has lighting that lets you see whatever you want to. Its glorious.
Had dinner at the hotel Grist Mill. Shared a beautiful steak with asparagus and mashed potato. So yummy! Sigh.
The days have gone so fast and we have packed in a lot. I LOVE Boston. I would love to spend much more time here. We have been on the 8th floor of Lowes Hotel for 3 nights and enjoyed the quiet and view from our corner room. The staff is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and extremely efficient. We asked for a place for breakfast as it was not included in our room price. So the Concierge recommended a place for us that was not fancy but good food. Billy’s Cafe in Berkeley. A regular haunt for first responders. They line up daily. The food is great and the prices good. The down to earth tables and chairs are functional and not there to be a fashion statement. Very real and unpretetious. Loved it – went for breakfast three days in a row!!
The location of the hotel was fantastic, near Back Bay station and Arlington subway station. The Boston Common was not far away and a welcome oasis teaming with squirrels and geese. Cool and quiet, right in the centre of the downtown area. Beautiful.
We went to the ticket place for the Hop on Hop off bus for today and, yesterday and then sat in the park – or the Boston Common and just relaxed.
We were just sitting quietly enjoying the peace and suddenly from above a horse chestnut, almost hit us. The little beastie was covered in a green spiky covering and when it hit the ground, it split open and a horse chestnut was revealed. A beautiful glistening object which could really hurt if it landed on you, I suspect.
We spent most of the day getting on and off the Hop on Hop off bus. The city is full of beautiful architecture and thoughtful spaces.
We also went to Fenway Park one of only two baseball stadiums which have remained the same for years – well there has been some change I am sure but in general it’s still as it was. Very cool.
The whole atmosphere of the game was great. There were food sellers who walked continually up and down the aisles. The music between each hit. The singing – orchestrated by the announcer – now lets all stand up and stretch and sing – “Lets all go to the ball game” So we did. It was terrific to be part of such an American tradition.
After the game we went to the “first timers” room and were given badges and merchandise. We also went to the Merch store and I bought some Red Sox socks.