Another destination for my last trip to the US was its capital – Washington D.C. This city is one of my top interests in the States!
The drive to Washington took me on a busy southbound I-95 through Philadelphia and Baltimore. I passed many interesting palces on my way to Washington that I have presiously seen only on TV or in books – Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Andrews Airforce Base, the NSA building. I felt like in Tom Clancy’s spy books! Maybe Jack Ryan was travelling in a next car!
I found a great undergroung parking on the Capitol Hill just two blocks from Capitol building. My plan was to have a quick tour of the most famous places in central part of the Washington, so I decided to start with the Capitol!
Actually, it is possible to have a guided tour inside, but you have to book it online several weeks in advance! So the best I could see was the visitor center and some facilities.
The security is really serious. In addition to usual airport-like securities, there was a dozen of guys armed with machine guns, and they seemed really serious. I cannot say I felt really comfortable, even though I understand why they do it, and most likely, support it. But I was really upset to throw all the food that I had with me for a day into a dumpster just to get in!
Washington was in preparation for the 4th of July, so the National Mall was crowded with trucks and construction equipment. But what is convenient for a tourist, that most of the top tourist attractions are around this area and are in walkable distance.
The Washington Monument dominates the National Mall. 170-meter tall obelisk is seen from every corner and fells like the whole area was created around it. It really impress when you see it.
Next stop – a residence of World’s most powerful man – the President of the United States! The White House is just a short walk away from Wahington Monument and looks much smaller in real life then I imagined it. The crowds are huge, but I was there, just a mere 100 meters from the Oval Office, where some of the most important decisions in World’s history were made. No wonder it is heavily guarded, I have seen several men with “Secret Service” on their body armor.
What I really admire about Americans, is how they respect their history. It was full of hard decisions, sacrifices and lives lost, but it feels like noone is forgotten, every soldier’s life is valuable.
And not only the onces who put their lives for this nation are remembered and highy admired, but also those who created it. The Lincoln Memorial is massive!
Many places in Washington that have historical importance are hard to miss, for example Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, a place where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speach.
I’ve read in many books and have heard from many people that summer in Washington is unbearable. I can totally confirm that! I spent over 8 hours walking in bright sunlight, with temperature over +30 Celcius and 100% humidity. I drank over 3 liters of water and tried to cool myself down with an ice cream. It was not helping much. And what a great idea it was to go to Washington in a t-shirt with huge maple leaf and “CANADA” across it. I met many Canadians who were visiting DC.
I need to come back to Washington again. It is a very interesting city with many things to see. There are still many items on my “must see” list for Washington, like the Pentagon, Spy Museum, Arlington National Cemetery and many others. One day is not nearly enough for this city.
Expedia has an amazing video on YouTube highlighting what Washington has to offer to its visitors: