Washington is a beautiful city, and reminds us of London in a lot of ways; big parks with wide walkways, low rise buildings and lots of history. (Though it is a lot cleaner!). It also seems like it was designed with the tourist in mind. We did a lot of walking but nothing is futher than 45 minutes by foot from the capitol building.
We are staying with Alex, the brother of a girl we met in Guatemala, his girlfriend Karyn and their huge ginger cat Banjo. They are lovely people and it is a great place to come back to when we are totally exhausted at the end of the day. Once we regain our engergy a bit, we play with Banjo and his never ending enthusiams for shadows. You would think that he would give up when he realises that he can't catch them!
What we love most about DC is that everything to do is free!! So we have to pack in as much as we possible can. Though today we did end up getting up a little bit later than we had planned, which meant that we weren't back for dinner until 9pm, we could hardly walk by that point!
The 1st stop today was capitol building, which is a really impressive sight. We had planning on going inside, but when we got there we found out that as well as the usual weaponry no no's we were not allowed any food or drink and that there was no where we could put our bags. Given that we are trying to keep money spending to a minimum we had our entire lunch in our bag so we had to go for plan B and come back later.
Off we went to the air and space museum. Now this was definately more Ian's cup of tea but it was defiantely an impressive museum. As well as seeing all the historical, new and army planes, rockets and other such spacey things, we went to see 'Hubble' in 3D at the Imax cinema (Imax is soooo cheap here!!). You got to see what Hubble saw but in 3D, which was incredible. You got taken through nebulas, and saw where stars are born and die. I probably sound really geeky right now but it was honestly unlike anything we had seen before. Now I don't want to sound too much like a spaced out hippy when I say this but some of it really did blow your mind! For example, they showed you images of a group of galaxies that had omitted their light before earth had even existed...try wrapping that one round your mind!!
Once we had unburdened ourselves of the food that we were carrying, we headed back to the Capitol Building. We had emptied our filter water bottle but were told that we weren't even allowed empty containers...huh?! We wanted to ask what sort of stupid rule was that? What exactly did he think I was going to to with an empty water bottle? But we got the feeling that the only words this guard knew were, "uh...you're not allowed that"...anything more complex would probably have blown his mind. So we had to leave it on the street and hope that it was there when we came out.
Once we had got rid of all our offending items we were given a tour of some of the rooms inside. Unfortunately we couldn't get to see any politics in progress but we went into the Rotunda which was stunning. The dome is so huge, you could fit the statue of liberty inside! We also went into a room that was once the basement but now houses the statues of several America presidents and a stone which marks the exact center of the city. Also in this room is a tomb that was intended for Washington. However, he was a modest man and believe that is he was laid to rest here it would elevate his status to that of a king. So after much deliberation he was buried in a cemetary of his families choosing and the tomb remains empty.
After this we took a nice long walk through the mall to the WW2 memorial, Washington monument, reflecting pool and the Lincoln memorial (which is freakily huge!!). We stayed until sunset before dragging our exhausted bodies back to the flat where we fell asleep almost immediately.