Washington DC In A Nutshell – Part 2
Let’s get going with some historical facts. Washington DC has tons of free museums. One need not bother with those that charge admission fees except if duly needed. It is pertinent to mention that The Smithsonian has 19 museums and there is every likelihood that one will never see all of them if on a short trip where only a few days will be spent. However, ideally, it is a good idea to prioritize the most popular places. Some of the best, for both adults and children which I’d recommend, is the Air and Space Museum for those with technical inclinations. The Natural History Museum; American History Museum, and the Archives. These are popular attractions for a reason which you should find out.
I started my day in DC with a breakfast at one of the Panera Bread outlets. I had a simple breakfast of toast and omelette with a glass of orange juice. That would suffice until lunch time. It was a cosy place with a few individuals who typed away at their keyboard as they ate their breakfast. It was comfortable to lounge here while working on the PC but all I wanted this morning was to put something in my belly to give me all the energy I needed to face the long day before me. Oh yes, I was going to check out this capital city. I hurried with my delicious Breakfast, gave some tips to the waiter for their exceptional service before dashing off. Tips are a part of the American culture that is strictly monitored. No joking with this one while in the US.
The National Mall is in the heart of the city in Downtown DC. Here you will find some incredible sights comprised of legendary structures and monuments. This is where most of the iconic monuments and museums are located. The Capitol Hill and the White House are to be found at this location too. The entire Western National Mall is the heartbeat of Washington DC and was top-notch for me. Here, you got to see the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the White House, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Roosevelt Memorial, Martin Luther King (MLK) Memorial, Tidal Basin, and Jefferson Memorial.
Evidently, I started off with a tour of the monuments. Breathtaking views and one could have a glaring panorama of the Potomac River from this position. Once lunch-time approached, it was ideal to find a good place to fill our bellies and we decided to do Mexican and a quick stop at Chipotle Mexican Grill in the Alexandria Virginia axis was the preferred choice. I enjoy eating the chipotle bowl. I love the variants of veggies that go with my rice. One thing I still cannot muster love for is the Guacamole (mashed avocado pear with red onions and lime). I find it too squishy, squashy and mushy to eat. Although the atmosphere in any chipotle outlet is always interesting, I’d say it’s a place for the youths as the queue for food was high-jacked by young people. The chipotle bowl comes handy too with just a few dollars to part with.
One can find other decent and posh restaurants to have Lunch/Dinner in DC at Logan Circle, DuPont Circle, Eastern Market, and Union Market but ensure that reservations are made before you arrive. This is highly recommended in DC to avoid unnecessary waiting time or outright disappointment if no table is available. Georgetown is another place to go for food at least to peek at the historic attractive environment.
I kind of wondered what really makes Washington DC a city sought after by many. I think it is the persona it has inherited over the years as the political power hub of the world or could there be other reasons? Could it be the neo-classical monuments and buildings? Well, the beautiful city is named in honour of the first president and founding father of the United States of America, George Washington. The City was established by the Constitution of the country to serve as the nation’s capital. In 1970 a land area of 100 square miles ceded from the neighbouring states of Maryland and Virginia were designated to this new district.
The Washington Monument is a huge admiration for me. This is a charismatic construction built in memory of George Washington. It is the world’s tallest freestanding stone structure with two colours tones but I will not go into details here. Moreso, the monument region is a base for other beautiful attractions. It faces another gigantic structure – The Lincoln Memorial.
The Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool is at present considered one of the most significant landmarks on America’s Front Lawn – the National Mall. The memorial built in honour of Abraham Lincoln provides residence to a 19-foot statue of this great personality that has made an admirable impact on American history. For those who may not be familiar, Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. Through an Emancipation Proclamation, he completely abolished slavery within the Confederacy in 1863.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial: This memorial is dedicated to the soldiers who fought during the Vietnam War that took place between North and South of the country from 1955 to 1975. In this battle, the United States supported the South Vietnamese army along with their anti-communist allies such as South Korea, Australia and Thailand. The North Vietnamese army also made allies with the Soviet Union and China. The memorial is of three folds, one the famous three soldier figure statue, women’s memorial and veteran’s wall.
Korean War Veterans Memorial: The memorial is dedicated to 5.8 million Americans who served in the US military during one of the toughest battles of the past from the year 1950 to 1953. Although it was a comparatively brief battle of three years, many lives were lost. What a sorrowful plight. The inscription on the pool of the memorial states, “Our nation honours her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met”.
The memorial is of four parts.
As you gravitate towards the site, you would first see the nineteen life-like steel statues of soldiers designed by Frank Gaylord, representing the American squad patrolling the rough Korean terrain during battle. Immerse yourself in this surreal work of art, as you try to comprehend how America as a nation always stood up to assist another nation, during their time of need, even at the cost of the lives of their own soldiers.
Besides the statues, you will then witness the forty-one panelled mural wall, with photographs of the military personnel and support units etched onto it in a manner, they appear to be staring straight into the eyes of 19 soldier statues.
Then to The Pool of Remembrance which is a reflective pool encircled by a walkway. If you wish to rest your feet, sit on the benches located by the side of the walkway. I spent some time here, relaxing and seeping in the breezy summer wind. There is also the United Nations listing to the left of the mural wall with names of the 22 member nations that responded to the Korean War.
Still, I haven’t seen all of Washington DC.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the concluding part of this series.
Thank you for reading.
Peace and Love!
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