101 things about me

Monday, 6 September 2010

Wonderful Washington DC...

Oh my goodness... Two full-on days of hitting the tourist trail in DC  and I'm exhausted.

This city is amazing.

I wasn't expecting to like it so much, but I am actually really taken with DC. Firstly, it is easy to get around, and we have done that mostly by foot. Secondly, the weather continues to be superb, the skies are cloud free and bright bright blue and I am loving every moment of sunshine!. And thirdly, everything in DC is BIG.

The monuments are monumental, the art, the museums, the numbers of tourists and the number of tourist attractions... well, it really is amazing. We have 4 days in all here and after just 2 and a half, we have barely scratched the surface.

Yesterday, we walked for miles seeing the sights at ground level.

We walked from Capitol Hill (near where we are staying), to Washington Monument, The White House and the War Memorial and to museums and art galleries along the way. The Smithsonian Museums kept us busy all afternoon, highlights including the hope diamond, a paper engineering exhibit, incredible jewelery, Dorothy's red slippers from the Wizard of Oz, an amazing collection of First Ladies inauguration ball gowns and a stunning exhibition of former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright's collection of pins. Even Kermit the Frog was there!


Today we decided to buy tickets on the double decker tourist bus to cover more ground and we headed first to Arlington Cemetary. If everything in DC is big, Arlington Cemetary is no exception. It's hard to describe.

The rows upon rows of headstones, stretching in perfect line, over hills as far as the eye could see were without doubt impressive (though this is NOT the word i am looking for). I think we were both quite overwhelmed by the visit, and for an hour and a half we walked around without much talking. We visited JFK's grave (and other Kennedy's), the unknown soldiers grave, memorials to Locherbie plane crash victims and to the Civil War, but for me it was the lines of identical headstones that had the largest impact. It really takes the breath away in it's sheer scale alone.

Next stop was Lincoln's memorial, just in time for lunch... and my camera's battery to run out of oomph! But really, whilst I could maybe have captured some of it's magic (amongst hundreds of other tourists), it was actually timely, as it made me pause a little longer and take it all in. Wow. I swear he was looking right at me! And not only did I feel small in stature, I felt rather intimidated by him too!

The rest of the afternoon, we spent at the American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery. We were so so lucky to be here at the same time as a Norman Rockwell exhibition which was fantastic. Collected by both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, the paintings and drawings have been combined in an amazing tribute to Rockwell's art. It was a treat to see them in 'the flesh'. He really managed to capture beautifully the characters and moments in time he portrayed. I didn't realise, but he actually auditioned his models, and used photography to capture faces and expressions and pull them all together to create the final artwork. Stunning. Both Mum and I are quite keen to return tomorrow to take another look.

And THEN (as if that isn't enough for one day), tonight there was a free concert by the National Symphony Orchestra on the west lawn of Capitol Building. As the light faded and "Star-Spangled Banner" echoed into the night, the crowd rose and turned to face the Capitol Building and sang the national anthem along with the orchestra. It certainly gave me goosebumps!

And the concert was a great way to finish off a big big day.


Breathe Gently said...

I ADORED Washington, it has a lot of character - and we did nearly everything (except Arlington) just on foot too. Lincoln is fabulous, and very moving - and he really does follow you. We visited him at night, it was wet and rainy and wow, yes, very strange. Glad you're loving it so!

Ames said...

Wow Cinta, sounds like you guys are having an amazing trip! I'm sure New York will be just as full on for you. Travel safe and keep having fun. xoxox
PS - 4 sleeps!