Wow, what a weekend, I spent a 3 day weekend in Washington DC for the fall break with a group of International Club students which included Me, Lloyd and Shane.
At the beginning it seemed like nothing would really fall into place, the coach was late and the weather was not unlike a bad day in Torquay. The journey itself was a long and mind numbingly boring 8 hours, normally I wouldn’t mind that length of journey but the coach wasn’t very comfortable, plus I hadn’t had much sleep the night before so it made for a quite interesting mixture. While we were on the road me and Lloyd took the opportunity to record a few minutes of audio for the ABC1 Podcast which included a rather reluctant cameo appearance from Shane.
We arrived the hotel at about 1.30am surprisingly none of us were tired, so we went to our hotel room and started to set-up our gear, chargers, laptops cameras and all sorts then we went for a 3am walk around the vicinity, right from the start my immediate reaction was “I want to live there”.
The first morning (Saturday) we all met up in the lobby and walked to The Mall, which is the part of the city from which everything is accessible. We had a choice – walk around the museums for the day, or walk around the city and visit places like The White House, Washington Monument, Capitol Hill and Lincoln Memorial – obviously we chose the latter.
Because it wasn’t a nice day and we weren’t sure what the weather would do for the next few days we decided to go to all of the important places and get photos then if the weather gets better then we would go back and take better ones.
First off we decided to visit Capitol Hill, it’s a pretty cool building and as you can imagine has quite a high presence of security, after we visited the Washington Monument, but not before taking some funny photos with it in the distance.
After a lot of walking we got back to the hotel and rested for an hour, we we’re meeting the group in the lobby at 5.30 so we we’re just counting down the minutes. We were being taken to Georgetown which is a small town next to DC, it’s a pretty nice place, a harbour, houses, a high street – you might just call it a town in the UK, even the architecture was a closer match to the UK than the rest of the US. We walked around the town for a while and went for something to eat, the restaurant was pretty nice even if it was a bit noisy.
I will post photos and a few more posts about the other days (which have far more interesting photos) within the next few days, there are currently issues around photo organisation at the moment, I took over 800 photos and didn’t really think about organisation when I imported them.
For the most part we we’re left to our own devices, the first morning we met and walked to The Mall but the rest of the time it was up to us to decide where to go.
It was yet another early start, we decided to head a few blocks away from our hotel to the Old Post Office. The building used to be Washington’s sorting office but is more of a tourist attraction, we went up to the tower to look over the city from one of the highest points. One thing we’d learn’t was that all buildings can be no higher than the Washington Monument, this means that there are no massive high rise buildings or skyscrapers, the skyline in relatively flat allowing you to see for quite a distance in all directions.
We decided that since we were in DC and weren’t that far away from the Pentagon Building that we would go see what it’s like. We knew what general direction it was in, the only problem was getting to it, we could have taken the Metro (the underground for those who can’t translate from American) but we would have missed all the cool stuff on the way. What we didn’t realise when we started the expedition was that the Pentagon Building isn’t actually in Washington DC, it’s in Virginia which is a different state, we only realised this once we crossed the state boundary, so technically we walked to another state to get to it.
The Pentagon is located near Pentagon City (who’d have guessed) it’s not very well signposted and it’s a pain to walk to, however there is a bridge with a sidewalk (which is a very rare thing) and the view from it was pretty nice. Along the way we stopped at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial for a bit, took some photos and took in the scenery, no matter where you are the scenery looks good, the Washington Memorial is pretty much the focal point of the entire city (as you will be able to see from a lot of my photos). When we finally got to the Pentagon we walked around for a bit, for obvious reasons we could only take photos up to a certain point and we couldn’t get very close to it but at least we can say that we’ve seen it in real life.
Of course no trip to Washington would be complete without a standard photo of the White House.
In the evening we decided to take another walk around the city, this time under the cover of darkness, we saw the White House again which was nicely lit up and still as secure as a military silo, as one genius would have found out if he’d tried to do anything more than climb up on the railings, but even then, climbing the railings still isn’t a good idea.
Yet another early morning, when we woke up in the morning we didn’t have many plans, however after watching the news we realised the president was going to make a trip to Capitol Hill to make a speech about the emerging tension happening with North Korea. On the off chance of seeing something interesting we decided to take a short walk over to the White House, and we’d definitely timed it just right.
As we got closer to the White House entrance we decided to cross the road, but what we hadn’t realised at this point was that there was a roadblock further down and all traffic had been stopped. We took a few steps onto the road before hearing shouting and chaos. Police officers were telling us to get off the road.
Moments later this happened…
It was a little bit of a surprise. There’s so many vehicles involved in moving the president from one place to another, and naturally everyone looked very well armed.
The rest of the time we had available was spent walking around taking in the last few hours of sights before heading back to Charlotte.