|Washington DC March 07|
It started off bad. I got up at 630am on Saturday and rushed to pack for my 9am flight. I ended up missing my flight but thankfully wasn't charged any Stupid Taxes for this blunder and was switched to the next flight. I didn't do any research until I was at the airport as to how I would get from the airport into DC. Apparenlty, Dulles Airport is not in DC, its in Virgina. The good news is there is always a bus. The bad news was that it was raining when I landed. The first thing I noticed was that the bus seats had fabulous Capital City-themed cloth coverings....then I slept. Total time from NYC apartment to arriving in DC = 7 hours.
I decided to poke around the city a bit before meeting up with Alex, my last minute tour guide. The first thing I noticed about DC around The Mall was that all the building are HUGE-mongous. Granted the buildings in NYC are really tall, but they don't usually also take up a full city block and are definatley all made of blocks of granite or marble the size of a Humvee. I came across The Mall (the main thuroughfare) and the Capital Building really by accident, but it was a good detour and a much better idea then storing the National Department of Education Building that had ridiculous "No Child Left Behind" signage that I wanted to burn and destroy.
I first went to the United States Botanical Garden. It was a phenomenal builiding outside but I didn't get any good pictures of it as it was so incredibly huge. There were lots of plants and stuff and I looked at them. Next on my whirlwind tour came the Capital Building, which you can look at but not enter unless you pay for a tour - whirlwind automatically means "no time for that nonesense". After that I stumbled upon the Library of Congress and felt like I needed to go in although I wasn't really sure what to do there. The outside of the building definitley gives you no indication of how beautiful the inside is going to be. The inside was all gilded, gold, and fancy. I then happened upon some exhibt and saw some old books of Lincolns, the stuff he had on him when he died, and some other random old written stuff that was worth displaying.
I then realized I suck at being a self-directed tour guide when I don't plan and I met up with Alex. Thankfully he looked up some stuff and brought his trusty Lonely Planet DC to dinner. I have to throw some props to the Capital City Bar and their sweet potato fries. Definatley tasty.
After dinner we went around to what Alex thought would still be decently viewable at dusk, namely monuments. We did go by the White House, which I have to admit was rather unmonumental in evoking any feelings at first sight. I took a picture in front of it beacuse Alex suggested it and everyone else was doing it. Blah, I have seen the White House. After that came Einstein's monument outside the National Science Association, Lincoln's Monument, the Reflecting Pool, Vietnam War Memorial, WW II War Memorial, and the Washington Monument.
When we decided the darkness had won we finally called it a night for the touristy activites and turned instead to beers at Alex's local bar. After a restful night on his lazy boy, we were back out. Thankfully Sunday ended up being sunny and mildly warm outside so it made wandering around quite a bit nicer. After a tasty brunch in some classy neighboorhood we headed off to the Jefferson Memorial. Then came the FDR Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Disctrict of Columbia WW II War Memorial (accidently), back to see Lincoln and the Reflecting Pool in the daylight, a nice walk along The Mall, then through the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden to the National Archives Museum.
The last stop was the best and that was what I wanted to see the most. I have seen, with my own eyes mind you the actualMagna Carta, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. Awesome. And, considering the Declaration is fading and the Bill is as well, its good that I did it while I could.
Due to time constratints, there ended my tour. I was back on the bus and to the airport before I knew it. The sad thing is I wasn't on the plane and before I knew it. Once everyone was loaded on the plane the pilot found out that JFK Airport wasn't accepting any incoming flights. After sitting on the tarmak for 2 hours while the teenage boy next to me fiddled with his weiner, we finally took off. Total time from leaving DC to arrivng at NYC apartment = 8.5 hours.
Here is some tips I can give to anyone who might be planning a trip to DC.
1. Don't bother with flying. It saves no time. 3 hours on a bus or train will be much better on your soul.
2. Plan what you want to do because there is really so much. The Smithsonian alone has 16 museumes!!
3.Come when it is sunny and the cherry trees are blooming as that is when its really beautiful.
4.How long will it take for DC to realize that cloth covered seats on busses and non-plastic seats and carpeted floors in their subways was a mistake? Who cares. Enjoy the luxury of DC mass transportation.