Friday, April 9, 2010

The 8-Mile Washington, D.C., Tour

Eight miles.

That's the distance Paul and I walked Saturday in Washington, monument to monument to museum to monument.

I'd been to Washington, DC, four times before, but the last time was in the summer of 1999. (I completely missed the Bush administration. Too bad.) I remembered that the main attractions were within walking distance of each other, but I forgot that going from one to the next in a single day is quite a hike.

We did it anyway.

The morning was gray and chilly, but that didn't stop us from getting up bright and early to take some photos at the White House and Washington Monument. We planned our trip waaaaaaay too late to get tickets to go inside either. No matter. We had too much planned to do anyway.

Later in the day, when the sun was actually shining.

Next up: the Lincoln Memorial. As we inched closer, I increasingly felt like I was walking into a penny.

Paul read Lincoln's addresses on the walls of the memorial while I took photos.

A few cherry blossom trees bloomed around the Washington Monument, but most of the ones we saw surrounded the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial. That meant the trek from Lincoln to Jefferson was beautiful, crowded and slow-going. The huge crowds got me thinking: Is any man (or, yes, woman) really worthy of such huge statues in such ornate buildings -- works of art, really? I mean, these are people we're talking about, not gods. And is such propaganda-in-marble really needed to keep alive the memory, the dream, of the founding fathers? I don't have an answer, but I can appreciate the architecture nonetheless.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at a couple of Smithsonian museums and taking a peek at the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights at the National Archives. But we made it to the Capitol Building in time to watch the sun set over the distant Washington Monument. It had been a long, lovely day.

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