Day two in Washington DC and jetlag raised its ugly head. Rather than lay awake, staring at the ceiling for a few hours, we decided to ‘carpe diem’ and visit Lincoln Memorial before the crowds set in. So, at 7.30am we found ourselves alone (except for a cleaner) with Abe.
It was a freezing morning but eerily beautiful, calm and extremely quiet. Everyone is familiar with this enormous memorial: we’ve all seen it in films and on TV. We were both therefore surprised by just how impressive and powerful we found it to be, once face-to-face with all 60ft of President Lincoln. To be there all alone, with the 16th President of the United States looking knowingly down at you, one giant hand clenched and the other relaxed, was a special moment. Surrounded by the words of Abraham himself and the site where Martin Luther King delivered his ‘I Have A Dream Speech’, you understand why this memorial is thought to be so special. It is most definitely a poignant place to see and one best visited as the sun is rising.
After some time taking it in, we braved the biting cold and visited the Vietnam Memorial and then onto the WW2 memorial. This is a beautiful part of DC and well worth 1-2 hours to have a good look around. The Vietnam memorial itself is particularly beautiful, with the faces of fallen soldiers delicately etched into the black, beautifully reflective gabbro walls. Flown in from Bangalore, India, this dark stone is extremely delicate and gives the impression of faces appearing and disappearing as you walk the length of the wall.
In the afternoon we set off to have a wander around some of the famous museums that fill Washington. After much deliberation we decided on the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History. Both of these museums are located on the National Mall, which is crowded with museums, all of which are free to enter. The only museum that charges is the Newseum (we’re hoping to go to this towards the end of the week) that is located slightly off the Mall. Both museums were great and are well worth a trip.
We ended the day by going to see the National Christmas tree, which is located just down from The White House. It was a very sweet little set-up with the tree in the centre and toy trains circling it, as they sped through small, toy towns filled with miniature cheerleaders and soldiers. Small trees, one for every US State also surrounded the main tree, making for quite an impressive light show! It was very festive place with The White House twinkling away behind it. We were also very excited as Prince William was visiting DC. We did quietly call his name in the hope he’d come and visit his fellow countrymen but we don’t think he heard us.
Tomorrow, we’re off to New York for two days (hurray) before coming back to DC to explore Virginia and the surrounding areas. We can’t wait!