Saturday, April 14, 2012

Washington DC travel part 1

Originally, we planned to see Washington DC this early April for the cherry blossoms, but as our strange weather would have it this year, all the blossoms were gone by the time we arrived. Save for a few blossoming trees (not cherry ones) that I was able to muster in my photographs:
 But at least they still have beautiful tulips and spring flowers planted everywhere!
The US Capitol building area is breathtaking. The building itself is currently being renovated, so I didn't take many photos. Another bummer about traveling this April, was that a lot of the buildings are undergoing construction.
More construction. Makes me want to come back to see the end-result.
The Washington Monument is so simple, yet so beautiful!
The walk from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial was so long! Reminds me, my lifestyle has been too sedentary.
I was enamored by the interesting skylight ceiling above the statue.
Lots of tourists at the Lincoln Memorial! The reflecting pool is undergoing renovations as well.
WWII Memorial: 
Gosh there's so many memorials and buildings we wanted to see, but not enough energy, especially for the aching feet. I didn't realize I was such in bad shape, haha.
 The Library of Congress is definitely the coolest! Most intricate and ornate building I've ever seen.
Beware, there are lots of weird naked murals in the building, haha.
Every corner, nook, ceiling, and flooring has some flourishing details. Even their restrooms were pretty!
We went 2 days in Washington DC and it definitely was not enough. But I have learned some tips for the next time:
  • Wear comfortable shoes. I made a mistake of wearing my 2-inch high heel slip-in clogs for the whole trip. The balls of my feet were blistering like crazy. Washington DC buildings, monuments, and museums are gigantic! Lots of walking to see everything and lots of stairs. Buildings are also spaced farther apart than one thinks. I wished I had brought tennis shoes and thicker socks.
  • Hop-On-Hop-Off Tour Bus (with open-top double-decker) is probably the best touristy way to get around to all the main sight-seeing areas throughout the day, and to relieve ones feet from all the walking. You see this bus everywhere. You pay once for a ticket and can use that ticket to hop on any of their buses (on the route that you bought) throughout the day. The ticket we bought expires in 24 hours. However, we made a mistake of buying the cheaper $30 yellow route. We had a hard time finding the bus stop for the yellow route and they hardly stop at the stop, so we ended up being inpatient waiting around for it and walked instead. If you use this tour bus, the more expensive ~$45 red-route is the better way to go. Red route runs more frequently to all the major spots. But it was confusing to figure which bus is red route, yellow route, blue route at first. They only have a small card in the front bus window to designate which bus route it takes. Also, they give you this flimsy receipt paper as your bus ticket, which one can lose easily. If you know a better way to get around the Washington DC tourist areas, please share! 
  • We arrived to Washington DC using Amtrak train, which was very comfortable. I highly recommend using Amtrak to the Union Station if it's convenient to where you live. Union Station in itself is an interesting building to photograph and is a good place to start and end the whole tour. Unfortunately, it is also undergoing renovations when we were there.  
I definitely would want to come back to Washington DC, especially when the renovations are done. I especially love that all the museums there (like my beloved Smithsonian) are free! The area is so beautiful and full of history. Fashionable tourists as well as people who work in the area are also fun to watch. There's so many interesting places I didn't get to see due to time constraint, exhaustion, and hurting feet. But more next time!


Cardigan Fiend Phoebe said...

Isn't DC great? I lived there for 2 yrs and miss it.
Hopefully you'll have a chance to visit again soon. And yes, comfy shoes is a must. :)

Olyvia said...

CFP, that's so cool that you've worked there! I wished I was more prepared about all the walking, haha.

Cee said...

Olyvia, I'm so glad you enjoyed your stay in DC! I've lived in the area pretty much my entire life and I've yet to visit all the places you went to, haha.

I see the tour buses a lot when I go into the city but don't really know where they take people. I think another way of seeing the city is renting bikes (there might be a bike tour too?) and biking around to see the sights. That might be less tiresome than walking ;) I've also seen segway tours, kinda dorky but could be fun.

I hope you get a chance to come back soon!

Olyvia said...

Cee, I can't believe you've never been to these touristy areas! Surely you must have had school field trips there, no? haha, I did not see the segway tours, but sounds enticing :) Next time, I'll be more prepared with better shoes, and tandem biking sounds like an idea!