I arrived in Washington on a late September evening after a grueling drive from New York, a drive that was sprinkled with many stops to visit everything we could, including Philadelphia (which I wrote about in the New York article).
You should know that Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States of America, taking its name from the first American president, George Washington, and the site of all the country’s governing institutions. Among the best known are the White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Pentagon.
The first three are contained within the National Mall, which is the focal point of sightseeing in Washington, DC.
Surprisingly, I didn’t expect to find such a quiet, skyscraper-free city that, compared to New York, seemed like a deserted city. I figured it was because of the very late hour and I was going to see exactly the next day if it kept the same vibe.
The next day, I woke up full of energy and took off for the grand buildings I really wanted to see: the Capitol (which is home to the House of Representatives and the Senate) and the White House, where the President of the United States officially resides…
To visit the White House you needed an appointment in advance, which I didn’t have, so I was content to just see it from the outside. To my misfortune, at the time the fence was undergoing maintenance work and you couldn’t see it very well, but even so I managed to get a few photos next to it. I visited America in 2019, when Donald Trump was president and his picture was everywhere at the souvenir kiosk, where you could find mugs, globes, caps, t-shirts, in a word, his face was printed on every souvenir. This amused me quite a bit, as he has a very funny face 🙂
One of the world’s most famous symbols of democracy is the Capitol, built in neoclassical style and where, this time, I was lucky enough to get in and visit it, without an appointment. I was allowed access after being checked and scanned all over.
Inside, you are surprised to see that it is full of frescoes, reliefs and paintings, especially the rotunda under the large cast-iron dome with a painting by Constantino Brumidi and many other huge paintings of various scenes from American history. In addition to this is the former House of Representatives chamber, with statues, depicting leading historical figures. The rotunda leads into the small chamber of the Old Senate, where it met until 1859 and then the Supreme Court until 1935.
After I finished seeing all that was allowed there, I headed to the Washington Monument, which is represented by the world’s tallest obelisk (170 metres), having been built in memory of the first American president. On the same axis, which leaves the Capitol behind, is this monument, and if you keep walking, you reach the Lincoln Memorial, built in memory of the 16th American president, Abraham Lincoln.
Being a confirmed cinephile, whenever I look at the pool that stretches between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, I’m reminded of Forrest Gump giving a speech there, getting caught up in an anti-Vietnam demonstration, then seeing Jenny, at which point he forgets about everyone and runs to her across the pool, finding himself many years later.
So too, after so much US history, I felt the need to run to the nearest place where I could get something to eat, as I was starving. And what could I choose but the Hard Rock Cafe? 🙂 I was obviously curious how their ribs were here too. Huge portion, and of course, expensive.
It’s the only place I’ve seen on their menu burger with 24kt gold leaf on top, priced at $25.95. It’s dizzyingly close to the Nurs-et in NYC, where it was $30 a burger, but didn’t have the gold included 🙂
On my last day in Washington, I chose to visit the Pentagon, which is the headquarters of the US Department of Defense and the largest administrative building in the world, and at the time of its construction the largest built-up area in the world, 14 hectares.
For those who don’t know, on September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, deliberately crashing in the direction of the Pentagon, where part of the building was destroyed and 184 people lost their lives. A year later, a memorial was erected in their honor, which can be visited and where on a 1.93-acre plot of land, apx. 85 trees, including 184 benches, with the names of the victims engraved on each. Quite an energetic place, which saddens even the most cheerful man.
However, to cheer myself up after this visit, what could I have chosen better than a shopping session? Macy’s just came my way and I couldn’t resist :)) To make sure I went to bed in a very good mood, I also made a run to the Tanger Outlet to end the day on a high note.
I highly recommend this outlet and it’s found near every city in America. I’ve definitely walked into at least 5 of these outlets. It’s impossible not to find something nice and convenient for the money.
Washington is airy, looks like a European city, doesn’t have very tall buildings, is full of history and art. As a result, if you’re coming to New York, make a run here too, where you should stay at least one night, to have time to visit at least some of the established places.
I stayed for three days and feel I didn’t see enough and that there are still many interesting places waiting to be discovered. If you know of such places, please let me know. I am open to recommendations.
I hope you enjoyed my story about my first trip to Washington. If so, please share it so other people find out about TravelWithMada.
Until next time,