Well, anyone who knows my husband won’t be at all surprised to learn that we left home at 4.30am on our trip to the nation’s capital. We stopped at the IHOP for breakfast (where randomly they were playing Take That – I didn’t think they were even famous over here?) and I had a large bucket of coffee and some hash browns. Wowee. PROPER hash browns. Those little things from McDonald’s will never seem the same again. I was also schooled in the art of egg-ordering and can now confidently say that my choice is “over medium” – that’s “fried with a runnyish yolk” as I described it. I still took the easy route with the bewildering choice of bread for my toast – as usual I just went for the last one on the waitress’ extensive list.
We arrived in Washington bright and early and amazingly found our hotel almost immediately, despite the satnav trying to send us down a non-existent road. We hopped straight onto the sightseeing bus and out to Arlington Cemetery. The highlight (if you can call it that) was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, which is guarded by soldiers 24 hours a day. We saw the changing of the guard, which is taken very seriously and would have been even more impressive if their identical appearance (including matching sunglasses) didn’t totally remind me of the baddies from The Matrix.
While out in Arlington we also visited the Iwo Jima Memorial which has the wow factor for its sheer size if nothing else. Definitely one I would recommend people to go and see.
We hopped back on the bus and back into the city centre to look around the rest of the notable memorials. Having first seen the Washington Monument from the motorway on the way in, we soon started to get a bit sick of it as you can see it from absolutely everywhere. It is cool though, and a useful marker for how far away you are. There were hordes of TV cameras around the Washington Monument. We thought it was just to celebrate our arrival, but in fact it was exactly one year since an earthquake hit the city and damaged the monument, which is currently closed for repairs. I may well have spotted the US equivalent of Eamonn Holmes or Lorraine Kelly, but quite frankly if I did then I have absolutely no knowledge of it.
Washington is full of monuments and I quickly ran out of different adjectives for “impressive”. We thought the Jefferson Memorial was the best thing ever, in a totally stunning setting. But then we got to the Lincoln Memorial. Which totally blew the rest out of the water. I did have to resist the major urge to run through the Reflecting Pool shouting “FORREST GUMP!”. Fortunately the pool is currently closed off for renovations. Or maybe just because they knew I was coming.
The day was incredibly hot so we made the most of the air con on the tour bus as we saw the rest of Washington including Union Station and the Capitol Building (I still think the Houses of Parliament are architecturally more pleasing. The husband disagrees). Back at our hotel we were pleased to find a hot tub and a pool which made a good end to a tiring but enjoyable day.