31.07.2012 - 01.08.2012 38 °C
G 'Day from Washington DC - Capital City Of the USA
Tues 31st July Day 18
As mentioned in our previous blog, we arrived in DC on Monday arvo and after a quiet night we hit the tourist trail big time on Tuesday morning (31/7/12). - where the camera truly copped a beating.
First up we decided to do hop on/off bus. The tour pointed out lots of sites, memorials and monuments along the way and the commentary was very informative. We then got off the bus at the Lincoln memorial, a very impressive and well known landmark to Abraham Lincoln, standing 19 feet tall and 19 feet wide. From here we walked up the mall, stopping by the White House (can't get too close these days...), the Washington monument (of course), and the World War II memorial.
We then went on to visit some of the many Smithsonian museums. All of these museums are free, so after the usual security check you are able to wander in and out at will. First we visited the American History Museum, the highlight was looking at Dorothy's Ruby slippers from Wizard of OZ, the last time my sister and I were here this museum was closed so finally got to see them after 4 years ( Hope you got my text message Lou). After this it was on to to Natural History Museum where the girls loved seeing the Hope Diamond and many other precious gems. Later we saw the missile like escape capsule used to rescue the Chilean miners in the Oct 2010 mine rescue.
After a brief look at the Hirshhorn museum of modern art and scultpure garden we went to the Air and Space Museum. After walking by the Capital for more photos of this amazing building, we made our way to Union station to grab a bite to eat before boarding another bus for a night tour of the Washington monuments. We visited the Korean war memorial, Martin Luther King Jr memorial, then back to the Lincoln memorial as the sun went down. We all voted the night tour was a great success, seeing the lights of Washington on the famous buildings was a sight to behold. It was a full moon as well and the temp was a pleasant 28 or so degrees.
We finally arrived back to the digs about 10-30 pm - very exhausted indeed.
Wed 1st August Day 19
After a pleasant sleep in we walked to our bus stop and ventured over the Potomac River into Virginia to visit Arlington Cemetary, Americas most famous war grave site, and of course where President John F Kennedy (and Jackie) are interred. Whilst we thought the temperature was fairly mild when we set out, it quickly became hotter, so walking up the hill we really started to feel the heat - by this time it was about 35 and climbing.
First visit was the grave of the Kennedy's and after to the Tomb of the unknown soldier. The tomb has a constant guard, who is changed every 30 mins in summer and every hour in winter. We were lucky, as changing of the guard took place while we were there, we were sweating while standing watching while the guards who were in full military uniform - no wonder they can only go 30 mins.
While wandering about the cemetary, we also witnesed from a respectful distance a full military funeral - horse drawn carriage - band etc........very moving indeed. We then hopped back on the bus to Washington and went past The Pentagon - no visits or photography allowed though.
Next up was a visit to the US Supreme Court, the highest court for the United States, a private tour which Marisa had arranged whilst in Boston on her conference. She had met the Research Librarian of the Supreme Court, so we were privileged to be shown behind the scenes where the usual public are not allowed including the Supreme Court library which has over 600,000 books, a very impressive collection indeed.
Next door is the Library of Congress - the worlds largest lilbrary so again we went on a short tour, checking out the Thomas Jefferson library collection, as well as collection of rare books - amazing................Walking out of the library the tempeture by this time had reached 38 deg, we had one more thing to go - Washington Botanical Gardens - where Leonie (aka Donna Burke, haha) was in her element, afterwards onto Union Station where a well earned ice cream was in order. We then got a cab home to our digs, tired from much walking, the girls voted to stay in for the night and Pierre went out to get pizza and of course a couple of ales.
Tomorrow (our 2nd Aug) Marisa goes back to New York and we fly to Vancouver to meet Trevor and Anne and commence part 3 of our wonderful holiday.
Did everyone see Rhiannon and Evan (and their friend Nick) live from London on Sunrise yesterday morning???
Until next time in Vancouver
Love and best wishes
Pierre, Leonie and Marisa