We find ourselves in some disbelief that we’re in ‘DC’. You know, the city that holds the official residence of the President, the US Capitol building that was stormed by crazy Trump followers just months ago, the Lincoln memorial, plenty of well-known US government agencies, and of course, endless movie footage over the years. And as a bonus, we discovered Arlington County.

Like Philadelphia, we’ve enjoyed 3 nights and 2 full days here so let’s take a closer look at Washington starting with some trivia.

Observe a modern-day car license plate for a DC resident.

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There are two interesting parts to the slogan “End Taxation Without Representation” and this first one will surprise you: Despite being the capital city of the United States and the major hub where all serious governmental business occurs, Washington residents are not allowed to vote in the Presidential elections! Saaaay what!?

As Washington is not a state, but rather a federal district, they pay the same taxes as other states but do not get a say in who their next President will be. Take a moment over that one, I certainly did.

The slogan itself dates back over a couple of hundred years as it reflected the resentment of American colonists at being taxed by a British Parliament back in 1760’s but having no elected representatives for what they’ve paid for.

At least we can now understand and empathise with the distributed slogan on their car license plates.


Washington DC

Take a look at this innocent-looking building. You won’t believe what it is…

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Cool, huh.

I have to admit, despite knowing what buildings and landmarks would be in close proximity to The National Mall, this had no less of an impact when it came to actually see it. Behind me was the Lincoln memorial, in the distance the Washington Monument and in between, the large stretch of water apparently simply known as the “reflecting pool”.

If you don’t know all the above by name, you will through visual as they’re all part of the iconic image of Washington.

Here is the viewpoint from opposite ends of the reflecting pool: The Lincoln Memorial and the Washington monument (the obelisk).

It’s a nice walk along the National Mall. At some point, you’re inevitably flanked by museums, typically Smithsonian museums, each and everyone closed to us. We did visit one museum though as it wasn’t going to be one we would want to miss. In fact, feel free to have a guess to yourself what kind of museum you think would gather enough interest from both of us independently. I’ll reveal shortly.

This really was one of the most memorable walks I’ve ever taken – as you can appreciate from all the above and there’s more to come! Before you know it, you’re at the Washington monument and beyond that in the distance, The US Capitol building.

Oh, and there’s still that house that is white somewhere close by. Mustn’t miss that.

The White House is easily accessible from the National Mall and walkable but we were so exhausted from our full day out that we visited it on the second day whilst visiting Arlington Cemetery.

Arlington County is actually where we’re residing and therefore the state of Virginia (rather than DC itself) as it’s more affordable and is only across the Potomac River to reach the capital and all the ‘attractions’. A 20 pounds three-day unlimited card will see us good, transportation-wise back and forth on this underground network.

The Pentagon

Reaching the Pentagon is more accessible than you might first think. I mean, there’s even a metro stop appropriately named ‘Pentagon Station’.

We didn’t know what to expect getting here but just being in the presence of this building was worth it. I had a couple of chats with the heavily armed guards and got told off a couple of times for taking photos, standard. You guys know I’m gonna run the risk of being chased by crazy American military to bring you this fresh, up-to-date news feed 🙂

And after all that, all I can bring you are these two simple pictures:

Not much to show, huh? Sadly. That said, did you read the small text on the image above? Do we all remember what happened?

There’s a memorial site here that was currently closed, so we had to pay our respects and bow our heads from a distance.

This site, unlike most historic sites steeped in so much history that we can’t possibly comprehend, is one most of us can relate to, time-wise. This one happened, of course, on September 11, 2001, following the downed flight of United Airlines Flight 77.

Everyone onboard the plane were killed but over 125 people were killed within the building itself! Talk about personal.

I’ve re-discovered something online that will have you deep in thought for a moment or two.

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Arlington National Cemetery:

This is one huge, huge burial site that will have certainly made an appearance in a movie or two over the years. Security was heavy getting in, which we found odd, only to then understand that it’s a military cemetery.

A normally vocal Vivian silenced by the sheer scale of an alleged 400,000 graves as far as the eye could see.

There’s clearly plenty of history here beyond my understanding, including Arlington house itself which you’ll see in the photos. This was closed to us due to major refurbishment plans.

John F Kennedy is buried here; as is his brother Robert Kennedy but not on the same gravesite.

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Watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was fascinating. I’ve seen a few before over the years but this was definitely something to behold. To give you an idea, The Tomb Guard marches exactly 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process.

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And that’s a wrap covering two full days in Washington. Another city, another adventure, another ten of miles exploration covered.

You’ll have seen that we have really enjoyed our time in Philly and Washington and look forward to finally, after so many years absent, visiting that well-known place where so many of you have been and I (or her) haven’t so it’s over to you for any suggestions, tips or tricks you may have.

I happened to have a birthday mid-week so will look forward to showing you where and what we’ve covered in NYC before the end of the week.

Oh, and that museum was a mighty impressive SPY museum. I’d tell you more but you know the drill, we’d have to kill you.

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If this beefy post hasn’t taken up too much of your time, here’s a four minute video combining Philly and Washington DC.

5 Responses

  1. Hi you two,
    Very interesting blog on Philadelphia and Washington. Dad would love Washington with all its interesting buildings, war memorial etc.
    Really looking forward to your blog on New York. It will bring some happy memories of my 40th to think that you will be there for your 40th. Have a wonderful time. xxxxx

    • So glad you enjoyed the last two posts.

      Yes, Dad would very much enjoy it here. I really think you guys should try a 2-week trip out here when you can. You can see it’ll be well worth it and I can help tailor your requirements. (I sound like a travel agency) 🙂

      Ah yes, NYC. Will be interesting to see how much has changed from your memoires over the years. X

  2. Hi Sami

    Just worked out how to use this (thanks to Sarah).

    We missed wishing you a very Happy Birthday – I will get you drunk when we get together next 🙂

    Hope to see you soon and keep having a great time together.

    Love from us all xxxxxx

    • Well this is a nice surprise. Yes, it was the big one for me, birthday wise. No worries on forgetting mate, you’ve been so generous over the years, not a problem. Did you see the Philly post? Made sure I sent a pic to Uncle Pete RE Rocky statue lol.

      Yes, beers, food and indeed seeing your guys sounds great. Hopefully not too much longer. X

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