Jun 17, 2008

Day 18 - Baltimore to Washington DC



This morning, we said goodbye to Baltimore, a surprise package from a city that was not part of our plans in the first place.

We took a regional train down to Washington DC that only took us half an hour. The weather in the US capital was nice in the morning, which was to change substantially later on.

Our accommodation in Washington, Harrington Hotel, let us check in before 11:00AM, which was nice. Once we put our stuff in our room, we left the hotel for sightseeing straightaway. The hotel is ideally located in the centre of the city, which meant that we could get around in this city very easily.

We first went to see the White House. Although you could only see the White House building from such a long distance over a fence, the area where you can get the view of the residence of US President was packed with tourists. The grass in front of the White House looked absolutely immaculate. Imgine what it would be like to play football there...

After a bit of a walk under hot weather, we arrived at the Lincoln Monument. I was really looking forward to seeing the monument ever since I learned about Abraham Lincoln when I was small. This place was also filled with tourists. I must say that I was amazed by the amount of tourists from all over the US. It goes to show what a popular tourist destination Washington DC is although this city's main attractions are government buildings. The monument was huge, and well-deserved for a man who played such an important role in revolutionising this country many years ago.



The walk along the Reflecting Pool was really pleasant, and there were tons of duckies around including some families with little babies. We also saw the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, National World War II Memorial, Washington Monument, and Korean War Veterans Memorial. I might have learned while at school, but couldn't believe the amount of US soldiers involved, injured, and died in the Korean War. This made me realise the magnitude of the Cold War between then Soviet Union and US.



The day had a totally unexpected twist while we were having a break with ice cream at McDonald's. It started raining, and when we realised it was an absolute down poll. We had some shower in the morning, but not to the level that would affect our plans. While we were trying to figure out the timing to go to a Metro station, a gentleman sitting next to our table grabbed a bin bag for us from McDonald's so that we can make our own tailor-made raincoat. Good on him. We made a stunning looking raincoat out of a bin bag, the first time I have done this in many many years, and headed to the nearest Metro station to head back to our hotel. Once we got to the Metro Center station, closest to our hotel, things got even worse with lightnings and strong winds blowing in big style. We were forced to wait until things calmed down a little bit.

In the end, this thunderstorm did us a huge favour as we managed to do laundry and a few bits and pieces we wanted to do.

We were hoping to meet up with Judy for dinner, especially because I still have not bought her a drink or two for doing me a huge favour introducing me to Sonny Landreth. Good for her, she was going to another live concert this evening. So we decided to head to Sushitaro, a Japanese sushi restaurant in Dupont Circle. Unfortunately, the place was packed with people, which is surreal considering it's Monday evening (never happens in the UK!), and we could only get a table in half an hour. We were starving, so decided to walk further and grab some Italian food at.

We saw a band full of trumpets and trombone performing live music outside of the Dupont Circle station. They were so good that we couldn't believe they were performing there. I am not sure if they perform at various venues, but if they do then good luck to their future.

I really wanted to take some photos of the US Capitol in the dark, so we got on a Metro to somewhere close to the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Unsurprisingly, there was almost no one in the area, while there were a few tourists taking photos at the Capitol. Because there were hardly anyone in the area, Teruko was a little bit concerned about safety. But in the end, we were really pleased with the view we got and the photos we took.



Things didn't go as planned, but we had yet another fine day.

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