Washington DC surprised me in many ways. It was more casual, less grandeur, more touching and less pompous than I imagined. It was both amusing and comforting. The city had more warmth than I expected and less traffic than I anticipated. Some of its monuments were quite touching while some of its museums were less impressive. Some of its buildings and monuments were old while some of them were huge and grand. The city looked as beautiful at night as it was during the day. I enjoyed staring at the White House and surrounding buildings in their dazzling lights at night. I loved that it is so walk-able, that there were no long lines and that most of it is free. Overall, it is a city in the US one must visit and I am glad I did. If I have a chance to visit again, I would do it in spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
For all the surveillance this country is infamous for, I was surprised by the casual vibe at the U.S. Capitol. I was amused that I could just sit on the steps of what seemed to be 'the most important building in the country' to casually watch people, apply sunscreen, take pictures and stroll around. I also went on a free guided tour of the Capitol (which I reserved in advance online) and admired the fresco paintings, several statues and the dome from inside.
After the Capitol tour, I proceeded to visit the Library of Congress through the pedestrian tunnel that connects both these buildings. It is perhaps the most beautiful building in DC. Books are my favorite things in the world but the art and architecture inside the building is even more impressive. I loved Thomas Jefferson's library and wish to have one like that in my house some day.
|Part of a beautiful oval shaped library that displayed Jefferson's books|
|The Supreme Court in DC|
Another thing that caught me by surprise was how huge the Arlington National Cemetery was. I did not know that it spread across 624 acres when I casually started walking one evening. It is a great reminder that "Freedom is not Free" and it costs more lives than we imagine. I also visited the Women's Memorial, the JFK Eternal Flame, the tomb of the unknown soldier where I saw the changing of the guard and the impressive Memorial Amphitheater. The Memorial Amphitheater that hosts state funerals and Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies did look quite ceremonial.
|The Memorial Amphitheater|
|Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier|
|Fresco painting in the rotunda below the dome of the U.S. Capitol|
|Thomas Jefferson Memorial|
|On the banks of Potomac River overlooking the Jefferson Memorial|