Museums, Memorials and Monuments: 4 Days in DC

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I’ve spent the last 4 days in Washington DC and I don’t know where the time has gone! I’ve been pretty busy and hugely enjoyed my stay here. So I’m kinda sad to leave because I would happily spend another few days/weeks in the capital… there’s so much more to see. I have to admit, I reckon DC is my favourite of the four cities I’ve visited in the North East. So! What have I been doing to leave me with such a good impression?

I arrived on Monday, found my hostel, and following the advice of my American friend (Alex) I have in DC, set out on a walk to see all the famous monuments and memorials that lie between the White House and the Potomac River. It was a gorgeous day and the perfect thing to do to introduce me to the city. I considered posting an entry on here solely devoted to all the best pictures from that walk because I took so many… but didn’t get round to it. Here are a few of my favourites now though;

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The White House - looks small because you're not allowed to stand anywhere near it
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Lincoln Memorial
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Constitution Pond
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Korean War Memorial
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Martin Luther King Memorial
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
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Looking across the tidal pool during sunset towards the Jefferson Memorial

The next day I had lunch with Alex, and afterwards he showed me the view from his law firm’s roof terrace that looks down into the White House’s grounds, and also the conference room where President Bill Clinton sat and lied about his affair – it’s now called the Perjury Room. So Washington is famous for a lot of reasons, it’s collection of museums being one of them because they’re some of the world’s best. And if you didn’t already know it by now you weren’t paying attention; I’m a big nerd for museums.  I went and checked out the National Gallery of Art, where I enjoyed some stunning landscape paintings. Next I visited the United States Botanical Gardens which were surprisingly beautiful, but not the best place to find respite from a harshly sunny day. Then I went to the Air and Space Museum where I saw the Wright Brothers’ Plane, as well as Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis and a load of other amazing machines.

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I was in a state of ecstasy following these visits, but I was a little nervous also because that evening a huge concert was taking place on the National Mall. Tuesday was the 11th of November, which in America is Veterans Day. And by some kind of masterful luck, I happened to be in the most exciting part of the country for it. A free live music event expected to draw a crowd of a million people and broadcast to another two hundred million, with artists such as Jessie J, Metallica, Rihanna and Eminem all performing… for free! The reason I was nervous was because I knew that people had been queueing to get into the show at 10am. And that a lot of people in the hostel were probably going and I’d rather find someone to go with than to go alone! Unfortunately that’s what I ended up doing cus I was a little too late. But it worked out fine!

I was stood around some of the most annoying humans though (Americans) who pushed me, hijacked my personal space, smoked cigarettes in my face and talked about indescribably inane things so loudly I couldnt hear the music. So I was a little peeved about that, but the show was incredible. Jessie J’s voice was unbelievable, Metallica put on a superb show, and Eminem was awesome. Went for Ramen afterwards with Alex and his friends. It was a great night!

I was recommended to go to the Newseum, a recently opened museum that documents the history of the media through loads of incredible and creative exhibits that were multimedia, immersive and fascinating. I spent the whole afternoon there, and because I was enjoying it so much I only made it through half of the exhibits. Luckily the ticket allows you to return the next day, which is what I did, after visiting Arlington Cemetery. It lies across the Potomac River in Virginia and is the site of thousands of military graves, and other monuments, including the super famous Iwo Jima statue. 

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I just had enough time after finishing the Newseum to pop by the National Museum of Natural History. Quickly looked around, my favourite part being the photography exhibition… Some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen, I did not want to leave! But the Museum closed and I was forced to return back to the hostel, where I shared beer and pizza with Canadians, Aussies, Brits and Germans.

My first impressions of the hostel weren’t entirely positive – no shoes allowed inside, no drinking after 10 and no organised events by the staff… it seemed a little strict and boring. But I actually had a really lovely time playing Mariokart with Abby and Liam, chilling with AZ, Jeff and Eric (the staff) watching World War Z, and of course the free pancakes in the mornings. Fond memories! But for now I’m finished with the North East; it’s time for the next chapter of my American odyssey – the Deep South!

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