“The Nation’s Capital” (Part 1)

[The first weekend Rosie was visiting we went to Washington D.C. although sadly it has taken until now for me to find time to blog about the trip.]

Our trip got off to an inauspicious start as, after rushing home from work on Friday night and back to Penn station, our train was about 45 mins late arriving from Boston and it then took quite a while to find any free seats. Fortunately, our hotel, The Carlyle Suites, turned out to be very nice, and arriving just before midnight, we decided to save our first exploration for Saturday morning.

We started the next morning with a delicious brunch at the Luna Grill & Diner (the Rough Guide’s restaurant eatery recommendations being spot-on once again), and then wandered down to explore the downtown area. Washington is is extremely spacious compared to New York, and it has a variety of beautiful architecture. Unfortunately, the large distances and heat also makes exploring quite tiring, and so after visiting the Old Post Office, taking photos of the White House (much smaller than I expected) and the Capitol, seeing the house where Lincoln died (and the theatre where he was shot) and dodging huge numbers of tourists, we decided to take refuge in the air-conditioned coolness of the National Archives. This had a fantastic exhibition displaying documents related to famous moments and people in American history, but original copies of the Magna Carta, the American Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were—despite the hordes of people trying to view them—the centrepiece of the public display.

At this point we had planned to walk down the Mall (a large, and very open public space that runs from Capitol Hill to the Lincoln Memorial) to see the various memorials, but about half way down we decided it was getting too late in the day and headed home. Being used to the formal gardens of Cambridge, it was fun to watch the various games being played by the locals as we walked past: everything from (touch) American Football and baseball (softball?) to some very strange game called “kickball” (and I only know it was called the because all the participants had it written on their t-shirts!) which looked like baseball but with a large bouncy ball being kicked instead of a small ball being hit. While it was nice that this area was being used, it did make it look rather scruffy—not the meticulously maintained and beautiful surroundings I associate with national monuments.

We had heard downtown was rather quiet during the evening and so made the Georgetown area our destination, about a 25 minute walk from our hotel. With a large student population, the place was buzzing, and there were so many nice looking restaurants to choose from, actually picking one was really tough! We eventually decided on an atmospheric Mexican cantina with some outdoor tables on a quieter side street: as my Australian friends pointed out, no Brit believes they are really on holiday unless they get to sit outside to eat dinner! After all our walking we were both really hungry, but not even we could finish the ENORMOUS “combo platter” of delicious food they produced: spare ribs, prawns, steak, chicken…. plus all the usual fajita-bits, washed down with tasty sangria.

(To be continued…)

3 thoughts on ““The Nation’s Capital” (Part 1)”

  1. Yes, kickball is definitely an American game! You have described the rules almost perfectly — it is basically like baseball but with a large rubber ball that one kicks. I played it a lot in Elementary School (our equivalent of Primary School) but must admit that I do not think I have done so since the age of about 10. Anyway, it was good fun then and clearly some peoples still find it fun now!

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