Hello, my turn today :-)
I believe you left us on a Greyhound coach heading for Washington DC. The journey was about 4 1/2 hours, and not so bad and it gave us a chance to sleep, write previous blog and sort photos etc. I also got to see an awfull lot of bridges (massive bridges) we have the Humber and the Severn but i must of seen a dozen if not more of a simular size to these on the drive.
As we approached DC though the weather changed dramtically, and we drove into a massive storm. Thankfully on arriving at the bus station the worse had gone so we headed to the Main train station to get a map and find our hostel. Washington however has a completely different to anywhere i have ever been and although sounds very easy, you can technically have the same street adress in all 4 quaters of the city so after 1 hour of trekking we finally made it.
The hostel itself is very nice and has only been open a few months (they make you take your shoes off at the door to keep the carpets clean :-) it is our first with shared bathrooms and showers but there is loads so it fine, and we did have to fight over who had the top bunk in the room !! I am on the bottom !! Both exhausted from the travel and not having really eaten anything since our bagels with Peanut butter and jam that morning, and being right next to Chinatown we had Chinease and headed to bed.
This morning after a bit of a lazy start and a room change (we booked an extra night and they haven't worked out that you can keep people in the same room and move the new people into the other room. A guy i met at the office was on his 4th room move in 4 days :-) we headed to the train station to grab some breakfast to start the day. The weather was still cool ish for about half an hour following the overnight storms but after breakfast the sun reappeared and some serious heat. My first thoughts are that the place is desserted but then it strikes us that we have just come from a city of 8.5 mill to one of 500,000 so it going to feel a little empty. The other thing is the place is imaculately looked after, very clean and lovely well looked after gardens and park spaces.
The aim of the day was to wander down the National Mall taking in the huge number of buildings and monuments of the Capital, and none was so impressive as the domed Capital Building on top of the Hill at our start. We then headed off to the Air and Space Museum. The great thing about DC is the Smithsonian Museums, they are all free entry and range from American histroy to Science & Nature to The Holocaust. I had a fab time in here with space ships and airplanes hanging everywhere but really do think Elles did too, she particularly liked the exibit on the Wright brothers and the first plane that they made is there in the museum. She also got to touch the moon, well a small fragment of it that is on display to touch. We next headed to the Natuaral History Museum finding a fountain along the way in a sculpture park which could dip our feet in much to Elles' joy. The museum had all the usual bits and pieces but a special on gem stones. Elles' has seen the stone she wants in her eternaty ring (and i thought the ring buying was all done!!) it was about 45 carats and very impressive.
We continued our wander and next got to the Washington Monument which again is really impressive the gaint needle reaching skyward and surrounded by the flags. Then on to another fountain where people were cooling off at the large WWII memorial. The last monument is the Lincoln Memorial and climbing up to the top of the steps allowed us to look back down, with Lincoln from his massive seat, at where we had come from today.
Any normal couple may have called it a day here at about 6.30 but no and we headed over the river toward Arlington Cemetary and the Pentagon. Half way across the bridge the sun was gone and the storm clouds were once again brewing and by the time we got to the other side it had started raining, unpeturbed we carried on until finding a metro station we darted in and caught the train to the Pentagon. Unfortunately by the time we got here the storm was practically on top of us and neither of us has ever seen rain like it rivers appearing in minutes and disappearing down the metro. Us and a couple of others did take some photos but were warned on several occations by people just finished work and waiting for the bus, that "they" will come and conficate your cameras and phones !!
Getting back on the Metro we headed for our final destination The white House. I did try to see if the flag on the building ment if Barrack was in or not but the Officer was not giving anything away only saying it was not like the Queen at Buck Palace and that it was rather clever. i actually don't think it is really as it is very easy to google what he is up to and where he is actually on his website :-)
Dead beat by now and starving our absolute final call was pasta and Pizza oh and a well deserved beer for me:-)
I am really glad we came here it is amazing to see such iconic buildings of power not only in the US but within the world and you can really feel it in the place. You also see in the US visitors a great sense of national pride the Americans have here in there history and democracy.
Lazy day tomorrow here (possibly some washing !! noooo) and an overnight trip to Boston to look forward to on the coach.
ps - my typing on this small keyboard so slow Elles has gone to sleep before i have finished !!