Exploring The Capital
After a busy week in New York City we booked tickets for the Amtrak to Washington, D.C. The official capital of the United States and our escape from the city that never sleeps. The journey lasts around three hours passing through Philadelphia and Baltimore before reaching Union Station.
The first thing you see as you step onto the pavement outside is The Capitol Building towering above the trees opposite, immediately welcoming you to a very different kind of city. Different sights, sounds and smells to what we had been used to during our stay in New York. In just a few hours it felt like we had arrived in a completely different world! A world of museums, memorials and political movements that have shaped the way the world works today.
We had three nights booked before heading further south to Miami, Florida. It wasn't nearly enough time to see or learn everything, but here are some of my highlights!
Head to the comment section at the bottom of the page and let me know which photo was your favourite!
P.S. Click on any image to find it in store.
The White House
The President's House was our first stop, being just a few minutes walk from our hotel. Unfortunately, we couldn't walk up to the gates on either side due to the new blockades and security put in place after the recent terrorist attacks. From the distance we now had to stand, the building itself wasn't quite as breathtaking as some of the other buildings in the district, though probably the most famous and recognised of them all. One to tick off the bucket list either way!
Most of the many Monuments and Museums can be found on or around the National Mall.
Spoiler alert: The National Mall is in fact not a mall but a landscaped park spanning nearly two miles from the Capitol steps to the Lincoln Memorial.
By simply walking through the park between those two buildings you'll get a view of the World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument, the White House, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and most of the Smithsonian Museums.
If you're not in the city for long this is one of the best ways to get the most out of your stay. Or at least how we did!
The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument is an obelisk built to commemorate George Washington, the first President of the United States.
As you walk up to the obelisk and look to your left you'll spot the beautiful Capitol Building in the distance. To your right, the World War II and Lincoln Memorial.
The Lincoln Memorial
We were fortunate enough to reach the Lincoln Memorial just in time for sunset. As the sky turned yellow and the wind died down, we took a seat at the end of the Reflecting Pool and watched as the light faded. It was one of the most peaceful evenings so far. Thought probably because we were this end of the pool and not the other. If you look closely at the photos you can see the crowded steps of the Memorial opposite us!
P.S. wait for the lights to turn on!
As we walked back towards our hotel, we passed by another beautiful view of The Capitol Building ahead of us. It was framed by the fifty American flags, one for each state, that fly 24 hours a day around a large circle centred on the Washington Monument.
Big Bus Tours
The next morning we headed out early and hopped on the sight seeing bus tours that run circuits around the city. Simply hop on and hop off all day, ticking off all of the iconic places dotted around the map. Find out more and book tickets here.
The only downside of cruising around in a bus is that it makes it a little tricky to get great photos. A very busy day with very little photos to show for it! Thankfully we made it back to the Lincoln Memorial for an incredibly stunning golden hour and sunset.
How I wish every day ended!
For our final morning, we woke up before dawn and headed back to the Lincoln Memorial. This spot had definitely become our favourite! We finally made our way to the other side of the Reflecting Pool to see the inside of the Memorial and a close-up of Mr Lincoln.
The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
As the first signs of a new day started to appear, it marked the end of our adventure in Washington, D.C. We sat on the steps outside the Memorial and watched the beautiful reflection of the Washington Monument centred perfectly in the Reflecting Pool. The last of the stars shone in the sky above us as the regular early risers started jogging past, warming up for the day ahead. A beautiful end to the trip.