[England] [Quick Escapes]          

Washington DC

Red Sea .........Barcelona




Washington DC, June 2003:

[Scotland]   [The White House, Washington DC]    
[Quick Escapes]      




^ On the first day spent sightseeing, Mike and I strolled (correction - everyone knowing the way I walk - trotted) through the streets trying to get a basic orientation of downtown DC. As we neared the black fence which marks the boundaries of the White House, we were disappointed to see the walkway across the end of its grounds was barricaded off. We were told that it wasn't going to be accessible for the rest of the afternoon. Disappointed we walked on, but curiousity got the better of Mike and he went and asked a policeman standing nearby why it was barricaded. Apparently the president was having a swim. Mike and I wondered if he was possibly swimming in the nude, explaining for the expanded distance? An Amercian tourist I came across later in the week said that was highly unlikely, she was sure, that he was the type to probably swim fully clothed. After further investigation we found out that the pool wasn't out the front where he might be seen, nor the back but inside the building. Now that's what I call security....

This photo was later taken in the second week of a two week trip to Washington to catch up with Mike who was filling in at the SKY bureau for 7 or so weeks. The President was obviously not having a swim that afternoon. I was surprised to find how small the grounds were surrounding the White House. Just beyond those trees to either side of the White House, buildings that form the rest of Downtown DC start.


      [Union Station]    
      [Magnolia flower]  

^ Less than a minute's walk from the hotel, was DC's transport hub - Union Station. Here you could catch the Metro, wait for buses, board overland trains, shop, eat in a massive food court or catch a movie. It's a beautiful building with loads of marble and limestone.

< The flower at left, is from my favourite tree, the Magnolia grandiflora. These are one of the most prolific trees in the area. Fortunately I was visiting while they were flowering. Flowers when fully open are about the size of a dinner plate. DC was built on a low-lying swamp and the vegetation is incredibly large, green and lush. The humidity and massive amount of rain the city gets (we experienced it first hand) contributes to this.

      [Capitol, DC]    
      [Washington National Cathedral]  

^ The U.S. Capitol building, at one end of the large park, known as 'the Mall'. Mike's hotel and work was only about three minutes walk away. In fact I could see the dome daily on my way out and about. Government law states that no building in Washington can be built higher than the top of the dome. Hence a fairly low profiled city.

< A metro, bus and walk saw us at the Washington National Cathedral. It had been highly recommended in my research for things to see and do in DC and views from the towers are meant to be great but unfortunately we arrived close on dusk and the towers were closed to the public. The cathedral is huge - one of the largest in the world. Part of its attraction, along with all the gargoyles, beautiful stone sculpting and ornate stained glass windows, is the whiteness of the sandstone. I was surprised to find out that the cathedral is in fact not even a century old. That explains the purity of the stone, pollution hasn't had long enough to darken it yet.

V Mike's museum, of choice in DC was the National Air and Space Museum, where we saw many exhibits from the Apollo moon expeditions, early rockets, space suits etc. Also saw a 3D film in the IMAX theatre about the international space station, which was excellent and then Mike almost had me throwing up in a fighter jet simulator!


  [Mike in National Air and Space Museum]    
    Back to top   Washington DC 2