Sunday, 13 January 2013

Washington, D.C.


I love this city! It was definitely one of my favourite places I've visited so far. Again, I'm blogging from my phone... My Facebook picture is still from Christmas because I've not been on a computer since in order to change it! Actually more specifically, I'm blogging from the plane back to Orlando at the moment but I'm bored out of my mind and don't feel like reading. So once I return to the world of phone signal I will post this.

So I left Canada super early on Wednesday morning, successfully got to the airport in good timing and got on my plane to Washington. Tiny plane! Only sat about 40 passengers anyway and then add into the mix that I was one of only 12 people flying!! I was worried it wouldn't be heavy enough to take off haha. The up side of this was that I got two seats to myself (there was only two seats on each side anyway) and loads of luggage space (in fact it transpired there was only 2 bags in hold including mine anyway) plus I got a whole can of drink rather than half in a cup. The flight was only about 1 hour 20 minutes. Following on from my worries on the previous post, I went through US customs at the Canada border... Was slightly nervous! But after explaining that I was on the Q visa (officer: "oh the Disney visa" LOL) and that I went to visit friends etc he stamped my passport and I was on my way... Phew!

So I retrieved my bag and then got onto the metro which literally only took 15 minutes to get to the centre of the city, then it was only a 5 minute walk to my hotel - the St. Regis.

I chose this hotel because I got a good deal on it on hotels.com but also because I felt like treating myself! And it was lush! Highlights included the bed which was super comfy (especially after sleeping on Tyler's sofa for the previous 5 nights haha) and the TV inside the bathroom mirror! So you could get ready and watch TV at the same time. Amazing.

So I managed to check in 3 hours early and this meant I could get changed and then head out for a couple hours of sightseeing. I walked down to the White House (literally one block away) but was instantly faced by a building site as they were constructing media stands and bleachers everywhere for Obama's 2nd inauguration next week! So I navigated that and went to the back of the White House where I could get a picture of it. Then I walked a bit further to the natural history museum and went to see the gems and crystals collection. I wanted to see this so that I could see the hope diamond - the most rare and expensive in the world! And it was indeed beautiful. I had seen a lot of stuff that they had here from the natural history museum in London so it wasnt all that different. Therefore I only spent about 45 minutes there before going back out. It had turned colder and spitting with rain a little which sucked. So I was going to walk to the Lincoln monument but ended up going the wrong way and was half way to the US Capitol building before I realised... So I walked down to that (which also had a building site outside it...) and then finally got to a subway station. I wasnt intending to take any more subways that day but I was tired and it was raining.

On that note, the Washington subway is probably the nicest I've ever seen. It's so easy to navigate, all one fare zone. It looks super futuristic and there's a no eating/drinking policy which means inevitably they're cleaner. They're not too far under ground so not many stairs to climb and they seemed to be pretty frequent and reliable... Loved it.

Anyway, I got the subway to back near my hotel and made the short walk to... Nandos! It's well known within the UK pavilion that if you go to Washington, D.C. Then you have to do the pilgrimage to nandos as its one of the only places in the states to have one right now. So I got a chicken wrap and fries it was yummy. Then I headed back to the hotel via CVS to get some snacks for later.

I made full use of the amazing shower and washed my hair before crashing out at 9.30pm for a great 11 hour sleep!!

So onto day 2: I got up and had a Starbucks for breakfast (there was one right across the street!) and then got my day ticket for the subway ($14) and going to Capitol South station to see the library of congress. I thought this would be a quick in and out slightly boring thing but how wrong I was... I don't know why but I loved that place. It was beautiful and inspiring with quotes all in the murals on the walls. I ended up spending almost an hour there!

When I left I made the mile walk to the postal museum (after taking photos of the non building site side of the US Capitol building). The weather was amazing! Sunny blue sky and nice temperature for walking around (not too warm!)

So I visited the postal museum which was fun and interesting. After that I got a sandwich from union station and then got the metro back to the museum area. After eating my lunch I went to the American history museum where I saw the dresses of the First Ladies. I have to say Michelle Obama's was one of the most beautiful. I also saw the ruby slippers from the wizard of oz and a real Kermit puppet. I wondered through the "America at war" exhibit which was interesting and amusing as there was a fair bit of British bashing going on in there haha!

After this I left and walked (the correct way!) to the Lincoln memorial. It was very grand with a long water pond thing in front of it which meant I could take good pictures of the Washington monument reflecting in it.

After this I wanted to visit the pentagon memorial and realised the quickest way to get there was to walk another mile over the river to the Arlington cemetery metro. This also meant I officially stepped foot into Virginia! Haha! Another state hit :)

So I got the metro to the pentagon which was a cool place. I wanted to visit the 9/11 memorial so even though it was a little off the beaten track I made it there. Very peaceful and respectful place. The constant sound of airplanes taking off from the nearby airport (where I just took off from!) was like a constant reminder of what happened whilst you're there. Anyway it was by now about 4.15pm and starting to get cold... So I made my way back to the hotel from here after a very successful day in the city. I saw everything I wanted to see but you could easily spend 3 or 4 days here there's so much to do!

I packed my stuff, had another amazing shower and then went to bed at 9pm as I was so tired from all the walking around!

Well, it now almost time to land so that was a successful way of spending half this flight even though I have a slight iCramp in my hand now!

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