We made it to the capital of the US. We get out of the metro and the first thing we see is the White House, also called the Executive Mansion. This is the home of our beloved Mr Trump. There’s a swimming pool, a tennis court, a billard room, a bowling alley… and the famous oval office. All presidents except George Washington resided in the White house. As the first president, he was in Philadelphia while the federal city was being built. The interior has been decorated by Jacqueline Kennedy after the whole building was renovated under Truman. Unfortunately we can’t get in, reservations are 6 months in advance.
We walk down Pennsylvania avenue, also called the main street of America, linking the White House to the Capitol. It’s where all presidential parades happen. On the way we stop by the National archives to have a look at the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the founding documents of America.
Just behind the Capitol is the Congress library, the largest book collection in the world. The interior is sumptuous and the main reading room is under the dome of the building.
When wanting to get in the Capitol we’re advised that no food is allowed, so we eat everything we have before going there. We get a free tour including a patriotic video, the Rotunda and the Statuary Hall (the old House of Representatives, now used for events like the presidential inauguration luncheon.
We now walk along the Mall or “the front yard of America”, going from the Capitol to the Lincoln memorial. We stop at the natural history museum before heading to the Washington monument. The giant obelisk was dedicated in 1885 and was the tallest (169m) in the world before the Eiffel tower was built.
There’s a lot of memorials along the National Mall, but the most impressive is the one dedicated to Lincoln at the end of the Mall. Finished in 1922, the Greek style building houses a 19 feet by 19 feet seated figure of the president. It’s on the steps at the front, facing the reflecting a pool, that Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous speech “I have a dream”.
On our second day we go up the old post office tower, now part of the Trump International Hotel. From there we get a good view of Washington including the Capitol and the Pentagon. Back to The Mall we visit the National Art Gallery to see pieces by Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne, Mondrian… unfortunately, the “Young girl reading” by Fragonard is on loan somewhere else.
After a late lunch we visit the Air and Space museum. The crowd there almost turned me agoraphobic but we got to see vehicles that made history like the original 1903 Flyer of the Wright brothers and the Spirit of Louis flown by Charles Lindbergh on the first transatlantic trip in 1927.
We end our day with a stroll under the rain in downtown Dupont Circle.