Day 10 and 11 – The Sights of Washington DC

Hi there…we decided to combine 2 days of blogging because on the second day, we weren’t able to get many pictures, more on that later.

On day 10, the alarm clock went off at 6 am, I know alarm clock on vacation, not cool! We caught a Grey Lines tour bus in the park at 6:55. This bus took us into Union Station in DC. Union Station had some construction going on, but it was still a beautiful old building, built around the turn of the 20th century. The station services multiple train and bus lines it was busy at 8 am in the morning.
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The first tour bus left union station at 9, so we had an hour to kill. We walked around the area and found a nice park to hang out in. We learned on the tour that DC has the most variety of planted trees, shrubs, and flowers of any nations capital in the World!
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We found Louisiana Avenue close by too..
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The tour bus finally pulled up. These tour buses are cool, they’re a double stack bus. You have the option to sit inside the cold AC or sit on top and see the sights and sounds…we decided the top was for us because we’ve never ridden on a double decker bus, cool!
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We had a great tour guide on the bus, he was a local student at Georgetown and was very knowledgable about DC. Of to the tour..
First stop was the capitol building. It is actually the tallest building in the mall area. It was designed like this on purpose, lady freedom (who weighs 15,000 lbs) resides on top of the dome. She looks down on everything, so nothing “will overcome liberty”..
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Across the capital building is a lake, you can see the Washington Monument in the distance..
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Next area we toured by bus was the Smithsonian museums. A total of 500 million dollars was willed to America by Mr. Smithson to stimulate arts and science. There is a dozen or so Smithsonian museums, way to many visit over 2 days. The pic below is of the Smithsonian Castle, Mr. Smithson is buried there..
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Next stop was the Washington Monument. It was actually under repair from a small magnitude earthquake that occurred last year. Even with the scaffolding around it, it was still pretty amazing up close..
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We drove around the mall and saw the Jefferson Monument. Jefferson had a ton of influence on the building and construction of Washington DC.
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We drove a bit and stopped in front of the White House, this was as close as we got to the White House. Tours are actually on hold because of the government debt problems. I visited Washington DC in eighth grade and we were able to tour the White House. I felt bad for all the other children tour groups that weren’t able to tour because of our politicians lack of fiscal responsiblity. Ok, Im done, Im off my soap box..
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We passed by Ford’s Theater, the place President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth..
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We got off of the tour bus, it’s a hop on hop off bus and toured the war memorial area on foot. Our first stop was the World War II memorial.
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There was a display in the memorial where stars were mounted for every 100 lives lost in the war..
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The columns around memorial had each of the states. This represented the home state of military personnel…here’s Louisiana..
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Next memorial was the Korean Memorial. This memorial consisted of statues of soldiers walking through the memorial. On the marble walls, actual pictures were etched into the wall..

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Next stop was the Lincoln Memorial. It’s huge. Lincoln sits approximately 19ft tall. Inside of the memorial is some of his most famous speeches..

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Next, we stopped at the Vietnam Memorial. The memorial consisted of statues and the names of the fallen soldiers etched in marble.

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We decided to get back on the tour bus to take it to other monuments. While waiting, we found the Einstein Statue. There’s a saying that if you rub his nose, you inherent intelligence. I made my lovely wife rub it 😀

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We returned to the tour bus and first stop was Arlington Cemetery. The Cemetery did a great job at remembering our fallen. We walked through the cemetery and observed the Changing of the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The respect that is payed to the unknown soldiers is amazing. The tomb says “Here lies in honored glory an American Soldier known but to God”, very powerful..

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We boarded the bus again and headed to the pentagon. On the way, we saw the Airforce memorial. It symbolizes fighter jets flying vertically out of a pattern. Those that have seen the Blue Angels should be able to relate..

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We couldn’t take pictures of the pentagon. Since 9/11, they’ve constructed a memorial consisting of benches. Each bench represents a person who died. Benches facing the pentagon represent the people who were in the pentagon that day and benches facing the southwest represent the people that aboard the plane that crashed into the pentagon.
We decided we wanted more foot touring so we decided to explore the Smithsonian American History Museum. This museum was very cool, it had alot of memorabilia from the olden (and newer) days…even Archie Bunker’s chair!

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The next part of the museum was the develop of food technology from 1950 to 2000s. They even had Julia Childs full kitchen..

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The next section was dedicated to automobile transportation. Plenty of old cars and even an old Camper!

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The main section contained a dedication to the American Flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner. Due to the delicate flag, it was over 200 years old, we couldn’t take pictures. The exhibit walked through each of the parts of the song and how and where Francis Scott Key. It was actually written about a battle that took place near Baltimore..

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That concludes Day 10. It was a long day and we were wore out. Our pedometers actually recorded over 17,000 steps for the day. We took the tour bus back to the campground and ate left overs and had a quiet night.

On Day 11, we had planned to check out the National Holocaust, Natural History, and Air & Space Museum. Like most plans, all of those museums didn’t happen. We were captivated with the National Holocaust Museum and spent the day there. We took a subway into the city which was both Aimee’s and my first subway ride..

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After a short walk, we arrived a half hour early to the Holocaust Museum. There was already a line halfway around the block. We had read reviews warning about the lines and to get there early.

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Photography wasn’t allowed inside of the museum and I can understand why. The exhibit took place over four floors and flowed very well. It told the story about the rise to power of the Nazis and the holocaust story of the Jews and other persecuted people. It was a very powerful exhibit and parts of it raised emotions in both of us. It was very detailed and gave personal accounts of both survivors and those who died. The Holocaust Museum was actually Aimee’s and my favorite part of DC, we highly recommend a visit if you travel to DC. At the start of the exhibit, you receive a passport, you actually become a person who persecuted during the Holocaust. My person actually was able to escape to America and join the military in fighting against the Germans. Aimee’s person unfortunately perished in the concentration camps.

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After completing the Holocaust Museum, Aimee and I were both physically and emotionally drained, we decided to take it back early to the RV park and chill out and catch up on our Blogs. I apologize for being so long, but we hoped you enjoyed our DC trip. One side note, the great thing about DC is that all of the attractions are free of charge thanks to our tax dollars, so take advantage of as much as you can. It was a very cool experience learning again about our Nation’s Capital, we wish we had more time to look at everthing. We both hope to bring our “future” kids here so they can experience it. Until tomorrow, Bon Soir!

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