With only three days in Washington, D.C. and so much to do, we were very busy.
When we arrived to our hostel we could not check-in for 3 hours, so we decided to get straight into it and go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, The White House.
When we initially got there we were looking across the North Lawn at The White House. We knew it was The White House as it was very white and the sign said so but it looked different to what we expected. With a large fence and security presence we could not get within 50m of the place but we still took out photos and then walked around to the south side of the building. From the south side of the building we were much further back from The White House due to the large garden (technically the back yard). We then saw the side of The White House that is shown in the movies, on postcards and all the touristy type stuff. Personally it was much smaller than I expected and I even had a bit of a man giggle because it is made to look so much bigger.
It was difficult to take photos due to the distance and the big fence but here are some of our attempts. The first is the front of the building and the second is the from the back of the building.
We then decided to walk to the Washington Monument built to commemorate George Washington. It is the worlds tallest obelisk at 169m tall.
Unfortunately the obelisk was undergoing maintenance so we could not get close and the lower portion was covered in scaffolding but, we got photos and then started to make our way to the Lincoln Memorial.
On the way to the Lincoln Memorial we passed the World War II Memorial, which consisted of a pillar for each state and territory of the United States and a fountain in a pool. It was a very well designed and thought out memorial as it honours those that fought, died and contributed to the effort civilian or soldier but also is tells stories by picturing scenes from the war.
Most of you know what the Lincoln Memorial looks like; steps to a big white marble building, with Abraham Lincoln sitting on a chair inside. The memorial has equally great surrounds and was very impressive, inside and out. The actual statue was huge and from the top of the steps you can get a nice view of the Word World II memorial at the end of the reflecting pool and the Washington Monument in the distance.
After the Lincoln Memorial we went back to the hostel to do some research into what museums to see the next day.
The Smithsonian Institute has 19 museums in Washington, D.C. most of which are within walking distance from the National Mall. We decided to visit the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum. Both museums were fantastic and enormous with a ridiculous number of exhibits. You could literally spend days in these museums. What made it even better was they were free!
The highlights were seeing the dinosaurs, mammals and the Egyptian mummies exhibits in the Natural History Museum. In the Air and Space, the Apollo 11 command module (Neil and Buzz would have been very cramped), Apollo Lunar Module and the Wright Brothers exhibits where the highlights. While we were at the Air and Space Museum we also went in a flight simulator that turned and spun when you were flying the plane. I flew the fighter while Corry was shooting the enemy. We were not very good as I kept on doing nose dives and spins to get our moneys worth but it was still great fun.
Later this day we went to the Capitol building, got some photos and went inside. There wasn't a whole heap of stuff to do, so we had a quick look and left.
On our final day we went to the Library of Congress (Jefferson Building). Although we could not roam the shelves, we did go into a viewing room and look down into the main reading room. We were not allowed to take pictures but here is one I found on google images.
After going through airport type security went into the National Archives and went into The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom which is the permanent home of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights. It is dark room, no photography is allowed as people can't be trusted to turn the flash off, both of these reduces the life of the documents. With the lack of light, fancy hand writing, and fading ink the documents themselves were very hard to read. We both watched National Treasure within a few days of going here, we could not see the back of the declaration, but the guard insured everyone nothing is there.
Later that night we decided to see what the Lincoln Memorial was like at night. At 11pm there were still 20 or so people there but, it was much quieter and was lit up. The same view of inside and outside we had before was even more beautiful. We ended up also going to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial as we took a few wrongs turns trying to find parking. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial was pretty much empty of people. He was standing instead of sitting and was in an open circular building with circular stairs and a high ceiling.
Overall Washington, D.C. was great and it was really handy having all these things in or around the National Mall. I loved Washington, D.C. but it is probably one of those places you only need to go once or twice and is not on my list of places to return to anytime soon. We are now off to Philadelphia for 4 days and then hitting up New York City!
Keep it cool.