Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Washington Adventure

So, I won't tell you how fantastic Durban was - you all know - we loved being there! I'm so grateful that we got to come home for Christmas and New Years. Thanks to everyone who made it so great. 

So on to our latest adventure... we got stuck in Washington for 9 hours on our way back to Detroit on Saturday. It was a combination of a slightly delayed flight and an extremely long line at border control - we missed the flight by about 15 minutes...

We decided to make most of the time by visiting the Washington sites. A very nice tannie at the airport told us which bus to take and where to go. We ended up at the National Mall - here's a map and the route we took and places we stopped off at to take some pictures. We didn't have time to go inside any of the buildings of museums but this trip definately piqued our curiosity enough to want to come back for a longer visit.

1. This was where the bus from the airport dropped us off - $3.10 for the bus ride - not bad for an unplanned trip to Washington...

 2. The first thing we saw was the United States Capitol. When I saw that I thought - how cool is this?? It's really an amazing feeling standing in front  of something you've seen on TV a million times before. Throughout the day I kept thinking "Wow - I can't believe I'm here". The construction of the Capitol on Capitol Hill began in 1793 and the cornerstone was laid by George Washington himself. The  Reflecting Pool in the front was completely frozen.

3. We took a stroll down Pennsylvania Ave and happened across the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building. No men in black suits to be seen - but I'm sure they were watching... We also came across the Newseum - which is a daily collection of Newpapers from around the world - as you can see the Obama buzz is still big here

4. Next stop - The White House. There are alot of trees and extensive grounds surrounding the building itself. Only one small opening in the trees allows a view of the building from the front. So here it is  - Barack's new home...

Just in front of that spot is The Ellipse - which is a big open field where we found alot of foriegners playing soccer! Prean said they were not very good

 5. The World War II Memorial has another frozen pool and 56 pillars representing the US states. 

6. Past another Reflecting Pool - this one 618 m long and 51 m wide, we finally reached the Lincoln Memorial. Its quite an enormous structure that takes the form of a Greek Doric Temple and has massive columns all around it.The memorial has been the site of many famous speeches, including Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. 

The Bollywood picture...

7. Back past the Reflecting Pool - we walked over to the Washington Monument. This is the large, tall, sand-colored obelisk that is a United States Presidential Memorial constructed to commemorate the first U.S. president, George Washington. The monument, made of marblegranite, and sandstone, is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 169.294 m in height. 


8. The National Museum of American History - The Smithsonian ( from the movie National Treasure) - I really want to go back to visit that some day soon. By the way - all the museums around the National Mall are free...

 9. Finally, after covering about 8km we got a Chilli Dog and took a break in the National Gallery of Art, where we watched people ice skating on an open pool. The Natioanl Gallery of Art is basically a park with modern art pieces. 

So that was it - our Washington Adventure - we headed back to the bus stop - got our flight to Detroit and passed out for the 2 hour flight!

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