Not counting the numerous times we drove through or around Washington, D.C., during our previous trips, as tourists my wife and I have been to the city twice, with an interval of five years. The first occasion took place in 2008, in the company of two of my old school friends. Our trip was rather spontaneous, with no particular agenda or predetermined duration of stay.
We arrived to the capital at night and spent a good chunk of time leisurely roaming around the very memorial city center. We plodded across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial, then on to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, proceeding along the (Lincoln Memorial) Reflective Pool right to the World War II Memorial, until finally completing our loop back to the Virginia side after crossing the Arlington Memorial Bridge in the opposite direction. (I should mention here that the photo camera we had at the time was not a quality one.)
The following day we concentrated our exploratory efforts much around the same area, but greatly expanded our reach. We saw the Arlington Cemetery, swung by the Washington Monument, stood by the gates of the White House, strolled down the Constitution Avenue towards the Capitol building, and went for a tour at the Air and Space Museum.
We surely visited a few other places that day, but I hardly remember what they were. And, unfortunately, too few pictures were taken to bolster my powers of recollection.
The second time in D.C. was a lot more in the key of most of our travels in the recent years: prompt, well-arranged, and plenty tiring. And, I will add with a degree of complacency, quite successful, for we managed to see ten different places within one day.
The opening item in our list was the Library of Congress, a building of great renown, mighty stature, and august interior.
With its multimillion item collection, the Library’s archives are more than a match to its architectural grandeur.
Overlooking the Library is an even more colossal structure, as it surely must be the case with the Capitol building.
Realizing full well that the Capitol is the heart and soul of American law-making, I suppose we showed a rather apolitical spirit in contenting ourselves with a mere picture or two before galloping to our next stop, the Chinatown.
To say the truth, we did not have much business in the Chinatown either; the ornamental arch was pretty much what allured us there. But since we are no strangers to the Chinese cuisine, we used the opportunity to fortify ourselves with a hearty meal before the rest of the day’s bustle.
On the way to the next spot, the Smithsonian Institution Building, we caught a glimpse of the Washington Memorial in all its scaffolding beauty, and glazed at some of the better-looking sites of the National Mall Park.
We had no intention of dawdling inside the Smithsonian Institution Building, so a few pictures later we were moving along.
Seeking asylum from the ruthless meridian sun among the neighboring museum buildings—of which some were under repair while others seemed hopelessly boring—we opted for the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, whose Asian art collection was quite promising.
Having cooled off somewhat, we dared a swift walk back to our vehicle, in whose air-conditioned cabin we then comfortably traveled to the banks of the Tidal Basin… and on, for the giant reservoir was hardly a scenic sight.
Fortunately, the next site happened to be a more attractive one, and we ungrudgingly bummed around the streets of Georgetown for quite some time.
With nothing outstanding in particular, but exceedingly charming as a whole, Georgetown is deservedly known as one of D.C.’s finest neighborhoods.
As is the case elsewhere in the country, nothing illuminates a downtown better than the flavor of antiquity and seamless confluence of architectural styles.
The day rushing by, we had to get back in motion to secure enough time to perambulate our next destination, the Phillips Collection art museum.
With names like Cézanne and Renoir, the Phillips Collection is a sure find for art connoisseurs of every level of sophistication.
Before calling it a day we decided to spend more time in Georgetown, meaning to take a few photographs in the cool of a neat shady alley we had spotted earlier. But first we made a few quick stops: one at the Washington National Cathedral,
and the other at a wee (private?) art gallery, perhaps in the vicinity of the Rock Creek Park.
Thereupon we succeeded in finding the above-mentioned alley (in the middle of an alleged Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park) and indulged in a brief moment of idleness, until it was finally time to set off for home.