The bus journey from Niagara Falls to Washington DC was the longest trip on the peasant wagon yet. We left at 8AM and arrived at 11PM with only a short 20 minute lunch break. We got through the trip listening to our i-pod, eating, and people watching. I will never forget looking out the window and seeing a group of five men all wearing brown trousers, white t-shirts and trainers with their possessions in clear plastic bags, my suspicion was confirmed as they walked on the bus and started saying 'ahh the smell of sweet freedom'....'its so good to be out man'. Greeeeat. Sam and I were fairly quiet whilst they occupied the bus trying not to draw any sort of attention to ourselves. Thankfully they were only on the bus for a short amount of time. At the latter end of the day alot of students jumped on the bus which was a relief. We chatted and joked with them and learnt about where to go in Washington, one student kindly let us borrow his i-phone to check out the closest hostel to the bus terminal. This was the first time we had not pre booked any accommodation as we had planned to walk to one of the many hostels in the city once we had arrived. Unfortuantly this did not work out well for us. Every hostel we walked into was fully booked, unknown to us there were a number of events going on in the city this weekend and rooms had been booked up during the day. As midnight drew in we jumped in a cab and asked him to take us to a motel we had seen on the way in. Again fully booked. So we carried on driving. Each time I sat in the cab and Sam ran into the motel receptions asking if their was any room. It was turning into a joke as each time Sam came running back shaking his head to signal there was no room. 3rd motel and bingo! There was 1 room left at 'Budget Inn' 2 queen beds in a smoking room - we had to take it. The room smelt awful but it was a bed and roof over our head. Lesson learnt - never go into a big city blind!
After a good nights sleep we transferred to Motel 6 and once again took the last room they had available. On our first day we headed straight to the White House and Washington Monument. The security surrounding this area is incredible, you can see officers with huge guns marching on the roof, parading the ground on horse back and flying in in helicopters around the White House. We could only see the front of the White House as there was a huge event taking place in the President's back garden preventing us from walking the entire way around.
The monuments are architecturally beautiful, the lincoln memorial is enormous and by far our favourite. As you climb the stairs and look out you can see the Washington Memorial and The Mall all the way to the Capitol building which is stunning. I couldn't stop thinking about the films Forrest Gump and Independence Day both filmed in this spectacular place. It was a shame to not be able to see the lake typically below the lincoln memorial as it was undergoing renovation, but it was still amazing to see how big it is. We spent hours the following day walking around the Korean War Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr and Jefferson Memorial all of which are seperated by a huge lake. By the end of the day our feet and legs ached. Being constantly on the go and walking big distances everyday is very tiring and was starting to catch up on us. We did consider renting bikes but found that they were expensive and with time on our side we'd rather sight see for free! On our final day we chilled and went to the Zoo because it was fun and free. We were absolutely delighted to see so many different animals such as pandas, gorillas, huge dragon lizards, armadillos and crocodiles. All the 'tax' we have been paying on top of our purchases was starting to pay off with all the lovely things you can do for free in this beautiful city.