An Eternal Tourist in Washington DC

I’d spent most of the morning travelling to DC and by the time I set off after brunch it was already noon.  I had a lot of touring to do in one afternoon so you’ll have to forgive me if most of what I did see was traditional tourist sites.  Oh, by the way, “travelling” is spelt with two elles in UK English!

If you look at Washington, DC on a map, it looks deceptively small and it looks as if you’ll be able to navigate all of the most important sites on foot with relative ease.  I mean, look! This was taken right in the middle and you can see the Capitol a the other end!

Freedom Plaza
Freedom Plaza

Well, I can confirm that it can be done but that I would never choose to walk it all in one day again nor would I do so in 33°c heat.  My day trip to DC was one of the most amazing, rewarding days of my life but it was also one of the hottest, longest and most tiring!

Willard InterContinental

Willard InterContinental Pershing Park
The Willard InterContinental Hotel // Pershing Park

I walked across Western Plaza which was renamed Freedom Plaza in honour of Martin Luther King, Jr.  The Willard InterContinental is where he wrote his famous “I Have A Dream” speech which he delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  I can’t begin to describe the feeling I felt in looking at the hotel and thinking, “there walked a man who was taken from us far too early”.  You can read or listen to his “I Have A Dream” speech here.  The beautiful Pershing Park is adjacent to Freedom Plaza and across the road from the Willard InterContinental.

I continued up E Street NW to the White House. 

The White House

Isn’t it pretty?  I must say, it felt a little bit surreal standing there.  You’re pretty far away and it would almost feel like it were on television if it weren’t for the security agents all over the place!

Washington Monument // National World War II Memorial with the Lincoln Memorial in the distance

I took several photos of the Washington Monument.  I couldn’t stop!!  In fact, I took so many more photos than I actually landed up keeping because they got repetitive even for me!  The second photo above was taken from the foot of the Washington Monument.  I can’t begin to express how hard it was to walk up there in the searing heat and how hot it was.  Seriously! I am an African who seeks hot and sunny weather but I don’t know if I’ve been that affected by heat before!

The fountain at the National World War II Memorial

Naturally the fountain at the National World War II Memorial proved too much for me to resist.  We weren’t actually allowed to swim in it but I came pretty close as I sat at the edge and submerged my legs. 

National World War II Memorial

Flagpole at the National World War II MemorialFlagpole at the National World War II Memorial
Americans came to liberate, not to conquer; to restore freedom and to end tyranny

I really love war memorials and this has to be the most beautiful, the most well designed memorial I have ever seen.  The southern side of the memorial is dedicated to American forces in the Pacific theater and the northern side is dedicated to those in the Atlantic theater.

The Pacific Side The Pacific side
Under the arch on the Pacific side

The states involved in Pacific theater

Finally, I managed to tear myself away from the memorial and I made my way towards the Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial as seen over the Reflecting Pool

I could sit and stare at my photos of the reflecting pool for hours and hours.  It really was a beautiful place.

17 comments on "An Eternal Tourist in Washington DC"
  1. Once again a great series of photographs Emm! Can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeve.

  2. I just went to DC for the first time myself and loved it. It WAS surreal to see everything in person. I too walked it all and it was not too bad but I definitely needed a nap (and shower) in the afternoons. haha.

    By the way...did you see the World War I monument? We were told by a local to find it. If you are walking towards the Lincoln Memorial, it is to the left of the reflecting pool. It's small and hidden, but worth definitely checking it out.

  3. You really did a lot of walking! I can personally vouch for how far it is from the Washington to the Lincoln Memorial. I thought I'd just zip over from one to the other one time and almost had to hail a cab to get back--my legs were dead tired.

    I'm glad you liked the WWII Memorial. My mother was a (very small) contributor to it and was quite proud of that.

    I wish you hadn't had to rush so much--maybe you can go back someday?! I love that I get to go there to meetings regularly and thus can return and see some of these neat sights again and again. Thanks for sharing your pictures and comments!

  4. I grew up in DC it's 69 square miles. The Old Ebbitt is a great place near the White House hope you made it there.

  5. I love your photos. DC is my most favorite US city. I live within 2 hours by car, and used to take my son there several times a summer when he was little. I'm glad you saw what you did, but there is much, much more to love!!
    And you're right about the heat in DC; it's very humid and doesn't get much air, so it's oppressive at times.

    I do hope you get back to see the Zoo, Viet Nam memorial, Smithsonian(s), Holocaust museum, Supreme Court, Building Museum, Georgetown Arlington Nat'l Cemetery, and so much more. I love showing people around, so email me if you're going back!! I would totally give you the tour of our favorites!

  6. Emm great post and photographs. Very appropriate since I have just read Dan Browns new thriller, "The Lost Symbol," which is set in Washington DC.

    Looks great and since I won't be heading there in the near future thanks for sharing.

  7. It was great to see your photos.

  8. Another one of my favourite cities! We lived in the Falls Church, VA area for six months ages ago and we really enjoyed DC. It can be quite hot and humid there in the summertime.

    Glad you had a chance to visit, even briefly :-)

  9. @ Phoenix: Thanks so much! I'm off to do some much needed catching up on your blog now!

    @ Christinamg: Ph no! I didn't see it. Is it this one: That looks so pretty. I'm glad that you enjoyed DC too and that you got to take showers!!

    @ Kathy: Ha! I really should have given in and taken some form of public transport but I was just too hot and proud to do so! Tell your mother I said thanks so much!!! Every little bit counts and it really is a beautiful place. I don't mind that everything was rushed - I knew it would be a squeeze to go to DC and back in one day and I am so glad that I did it. I would definitely like to go back. I'd like to sit by the Vietnam War Memorial in winter.

    @ Harrison: Oh no! I didn't make it to the Old Ebbitt but it looks great! Next time maybe... Sixty-nine square miles is huge - how big do you think the strip from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is?

    @ Erin P: Oh, there was SO much I didn't get to see. The saddest omission for me was the cemetery. I do hope to go back soon though - maybe winter 2010? And then I'd definitely appreciate a tour guide!!!

    @ Mike: Oh - was the book good? I see that it was set all around DC!

    @ Gaelikaa: Thanks m'dear!

    @ JaPRA: It is such a lovely place though, isn't it? You've certainly moved around!

  10. haha, yeah, DC and Vegas are both dangerous in that you can see everything, so you assume you can walk there easily. So completely not true. Glad you had a good time! I love DC:)

  11. Your photos are absolutely stunning! I feel for you about the walking, but it's been so worth it in the end.

  12. While seeing your grogeous photos, I remind of the movie "Forrest Gump"! hahaha, the photos in D.C. almost feel like just being on television or movies!

  13. I have never been to DC Emm so I just love your photographs. The Lincoln Memorial has been featured in so many movies, I almost feel like I've seen it before.

  14. Thanks for sharing, nice photography. Well done. I'm trying to conjure up a few vacation ideas. I'll put this place on the list.

  15. I've never been to Washington D.C. and I'm afraid that I'll never get a chance to go. You're fortunate.

  16. Wow, I really loved your walk you gave us here. Having never been to DC but wanting to see it, I feel I have a better understanding of where everything is now. It strikes me her as so clean, at least this part--that was something I noticed with Boston too.

  17. @ CJ: Oh! Thanks for the heads up! I will keep that in mind when i do eventually visit Vegas!

    @ Sheila: It was definitely worth it!! Not sure if I could repeat such a week though!

    @ Chen Yin Tzu: Oh yes!! It was great seeing the Reflecting Pool after seeing it on Forrest Gump!

    @ Lauren: :o) I promise you though, nothing can prepare you for standing right at the Lincoln Memorial. It is breathtaking.

    @ Mike: I actually need to do a list on here with vacation ideas as so many people recommend good ideas to me all the time!

    @ Sixmats: Oh no! Are you in Japan for the long run then? Are you not eventually going back Stateside?

    @ ...mmm...: Oh, yes! DC was spotlessly clean! I think I should eventually scan in my map and show people the route I took - thanks for giving me the idea!


Comments are welcome!

All comments are moderated and will be published once approved

Hint: Comment using Name / URL so that I can follow you back to your blog