Sunday, 16 June 2013

This is the house of the President....... and other stories :-)

Washington DC

One of the most recognisable images from Washington DC would have to be the White House. It is an image that almost everyone in the world could name in less than 5 seconds and the building that in this season's round of movies is the most destroyed and taken over building in Washington! Lol :-) So when Ash and I were planning our trip, we decided that it would be really cool to take a tour of the White House, see inside and hear all about the history and politics that have taken place inside (and I wanted to see The West Wing live of course!!) That idea however was poopoo-ed as no foreign citizens are permitted to take tours of the most symbolic building in the Western World - despite Australia being such good friends with the US we are not on the list. So this was as close as we got our first day in town:

A great camera position in front of the White House.

The vegetable garden is just to the left of the camera view.

Arlington National Cemetery

Before we stopped at the President's house though, we arrived in town from Annapolis and drove to Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families. Arlington is an active cemetery and conducts between 27 and 30 funerals each week day and between six and eight services on Saturdays - almost 7,000 services per year. More than 3 million people visit Arlington each year to pay their respects. Despite the rain that began as we started walking around, it was still a beautiful place to pay respects. We managed to view the Kennedy gravesites and the Unknown Soldier before the rain forced us to head back to the car and somewhere dry........ photos of what I saw are below:

President John F Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy,
their son Patrick and their unnamed stillborn daughter.
An eternal flame, lit by Jacqueline Kennedy at JFK's funeral, burns behind them.

Tomb of the Unknowns - here lies remains of US soldiers
from WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam.
(In 1998 the Vietnam soldier's remains were exhumed and identified by DNA testing.
It was decided the crypt that contained the remains of the Vietnam soldier would remain empty.)

One of the many views of the white tombstones
lying in stately rows on rolling green hills.
The National Mall

The National Mall is a rectangular open area national park that sits right in the middle of 'downtown' Washington DC. The Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial are situated on each end of the park area with the Washington Monument sitting in the middle. Ashlee and I spent a gorgeous hot morning in the sun walking one half of this area, looking at all the war memorials that Washington does so well. So different from when I was here eight years ago in March - I remember freezing in the cold wind and wearing my thick coat, scarf and gloves with not many people around. On this day it was in the low 30s (degrees Celsius - about 88 degrees Fahrenheit) and the sun had full show with no clouds. Humidity was high as well and I was sweating in my shorts and singlet - very different weather to my first visit!

The Washington Monument.
When I first saw this I had a little laugh as I just saw a new movie out ('Olympus Has Fallen')
where a plane crashes through the top half of this. Seeing it in real life gave me a nice link back to the movie :-)
In actual fact, the monument is being renovated and fixed after earthquake damage caused in 2011.

The Lincoln Memorial
There were heaps of school groups on excursions and people visiting this memorial.
A very busy place - inside was a huge crowd of people taking pictures of the statue of Lincoln (below).

The Korean War Memorial.
The soldiers are very lifelike as they stand (walking) through the paddy.

World War II Memorial.
Panoramic view showing the detail of the memorial.
Vietnam War Memorial.

Natural History Museum

One place that was a must visit was the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. It has a huge range of different exhibits that were really interesting to see - mammals, fossils, gems and mummies were some of the cool things to explore and learn about!

Smithsonian Castle - this is the information centre for all the Smithsonian Museums
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Looking down at the atrium entrance - and the giant elephant that greets you!
  The Mammals Exhibit had lots of taxidermy set up throughout the area........

This little guy just looked so funny!

Above our heads were these two...... took you by surprise!

Ashlee and the massive hippopotamus

The ever-Australian kangaroo :-)


Hello Blinky Bill :-)

Dingoes can be scary!!

In the Amazon Rainforest area, this guy was just hanging out......

The Ocean area was filled with information and a few live exhibits while the fossils are always cool to look at! They even had some pictures of galaxies taken with satellites.......

The coral reef - hello Dory and Nemo!!

T-Rex roars.....

Very cool picture of a far away galaxy!

And another!

The Hope Diamond....... the most famous diamond in the world!
45.5 carats of deep blue colour.

Standing in front of Tentkhonsu.......

There were these two other actual mummies in the museum as well!

 Other short photo memories of Washington DC

Standing in front of the Capitol Building (the reflection pool actually)
It is a very imposing building, even from this far away!!

Of course I had to find out where the Australian Embassy was located,
particularly as we were staying in 'Embassy Row'! It was only
four blocks away from our hotel. Not as pretty as some of
the other embassies housed in old style buildings, but
I suppose it does the job! :-)

We also visited the Old Post Office Building and went to the top floor to see the views of the city (since we couldn't go to the top of the Washington Monument as I had planned........(I'm finding this photo for you! I'll update when I do).

And with all that, we completed our Washington visit! From here we headed north east towards Boston - there would be an overnight somewhere along the way though........

More to come! Keep smiling,
Candice :-)

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