Washington DC, the capital of the United States was on the itinerary of my third day of my mini vacation. Though we were reluctant to wake up early to leave for DC because of the two tiring days in NYC, we were able to leave by 8 am. We drove on the Turnpike, a toll highway and managed 200 miles in around 4 hours. Washington is a well-planned city, the places we visited were all located in the National Mall and a lot of walking needed to be done.
The iconic dome of the parliament is visible from a distance, guiding you through the traffic to reach there. You enter the building after a security check and head to the visitor center for our tour of the building. These tours are free and leave every 15 minutes so you may have to book your passes well in advance. My uncle was able to get online passes for a tour on the previous day and being a weekend it was super busy. They sort the crowd according to the time of the tour and start by sending you in an auditorium for a short video about the history of the Capitol Hill. The rest of the tour is guided and they provide headphones so that we hear our guide even from a distance and the guide doesn’t have to shout.
The Smithsonian is an institution renowned for its museums belonging to diverse fields, from art and design to spaceflight and culture history. Of the 19 total museums, 17 are located in Washington DC. We visited the American Museum of Natural History partly because we wanted to go to one of the popular museums and partly because we were hungry and wanted to go to other places as well. This museum was the primary shooting location for the movie “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”. The exhibits here are fascinating and well preserved and kids will definitely have fun throughout. You can also catch a 30-minute short entertaining movie nature in IMAX at the museum.
It is a giant sculpture of the 16th President of the United States seated on a chair. The memorial is in the form of a Greek temple and has famous speeches inscribed on the walls of the temple. From the top of the memorial, you can see the Needle and the Capitol Hill in a straight line.
The prominent White House is located a few blocks down the Lincoln Memorial. It doesn’t look as grand or busy as the movies and was calm mostly because it was a weekend and the residents were not at home. Despite the vacancy, guards are always manning the compound keeping an eye for troublemakers. You can click pictures and enjoy the White House in all its glory.
P.S: Interesting Incident
When we finished our visit to the White House, we googled for Indian restaurants nearby. We found one but were disappointed to find that they were booked for the night. An elderly couple who had just finished dining at the restaurant started talking to us just outside the restaurant. The man was of Indian origin and the lady was Italian. The lady initially tried getting us a table but since it would take considerable time, they offered to take us to another Indian restaurant nearby. We were confused as to why they would do that so we were reluctant at first, but they seemed sweet and we obliged. On the way, they drove us past the embassies of several countries and the vice president’s house and dropped us off at the restaurant. They told us very interesting stories about them and their visits to India. Pleased by their courteous behaviour we thanked them for the sweet gesture. These things are uncommon and new to me and gave a valuable lesson about people here.