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Trip Report 3 Days in Washington D.C

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Finally getting around to writing my trip report about my 3 days (well 2.5 days) in Washington D.C.

Arrived about 3.30pm on November 17th at Union Station on Amtrak from NYC after a rather pleasant 3.5 hour train journey - very impressed with the Amtrak trains. Was staying at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill so was an easy 5 minute walk from the station. Had a Grayline Night Tour booked that night so didn't really get up to too much at that point.

Walked back to Union Station to get on my tour - for the record, it's not very user friendly signage.. you have to go up towards the car park - it is the level below the car park. I had an e-ticket but wasn't aware that I had to check in and exchange it for an actual ticket - nothing was mention on the paperwork. Also it was rather chilly and they made you stand outside for a good 30-40 minutes before the tour began - not very impressed.

Anyway, we finally got under way and took off. Drove past the US Capitol, which unfortunately was not lit up at that stage despite it being nearly 7.30pm. Went and saw the White House, which was a lot smaller than I imagined and then were driving to the Lincoln Memorial when the bus broke down. We were just near the Martin Luther King Memorial so the driver gave us a bout 20 minutes there whilst another bus came. Then we got to the Lincoln Memorial. I didn't go and see the Vietnam Wall but did check out the Korean War Memorial as my dad served in the New Zealand Navy during the Korean War so it was a little more close to home for me. Walked up the 58 steps to the Lincoln Memorial.. despite having a bad knee, it was completely worth the pain!

We then drove to the Iwo Jima Memorial, which was huge! We saw a little bit of Arlington, which I discovered more of the next day... it is freaking massive!!! We then stopped at the Jefferson Memorial. It doesn't sound like it was a long tour but we got back to Union Station about 10,30pm.

I was up and back at Union Station the next morning for my day tour to Mount Vernon and Arlington. It was a Sunday morning and we were one of the first lot of people through the doors at Mount Vernon - in fact, I was the first person to walk through the house that day... definitely go on a Sunday morning - it was a great time of day to visit. Ok, so I loved Mount Vernon, really, really loved it! It was mid November so Autumn and the colours of the trees etc where just the perfect backdrop for this beautiful estate. I also loved that when you went through the house, they had a person in each room telling you about the room and a bit about George Washington's life. We had about 3-3.5 hours at Mount Vernon which for me was a good time but I could see some people could spend all day there just wandering around. One the way back we did a bit of a tiki tour through Alexandria. I would love to go back and just wander the streets of this town - it was just so picture perfect!

On the way to Arlington, we stopped again at Iwo Jima - which was actually quite cool. It was good to see this memorial during the day as well as at night. We got to Arlington where we got on the trolley and on the way to the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, we stopped at the JFK gravesite. The Changing of the Guard was just that.. it was one guy stepping in for another guy... I know I should be more respectful but that's all it was. We headed back to the bus after that.. Ok so I know they use these things for mass transit but the trolleys at Arlington are not disabled friendly. I would imagine that there are quite a few elderly people who come and I can't see them using these trolleys easily.

On the way back to Union Station we again stopped at the Lincoln Memorial. I didn't brave the steps this time but saw the Korean War Memorial again and got a bite to eat. We got back to Union Station about 4-4.30pm and I headed back to the hotel. Because I don't really like going out in strange cities at night on my own, I stayed in that night.

Day 3 and I was on my own - no tour, just me... I ended up walked from my hotel to the US Capitol and then down to the White House. I visited the National Archives & saw the Constitution & the Declaration of Independence. I went on the free tour of the Old Post Office tower for a birds eye view of D.C (a highlight!!) and wandered down to the White House for a view of it at day time. I ended up getting a cab back to the hotel and then I found out that I had actually walked about 3 km (not including when I was in attractions - that is just purely the distance between my hotel & the White House).. which for me is pretty impressive since I had torn a ligament in my knee months before and am still not quite right. Had a VERY early start the next morning to catch my Amtrak train to Philly....

All in all I had a great time in D.C. Not being American, the city and monuments mean different things to me than they would to an American. I have always wanted to see D.C and I am so glad that I did. After spending a week in NYC before hand and not being a huge fan of that city, I was so pleased when I got to D.C and loved it straight away. I love the fact that no building is taller than the US Capitol - which is a stunning building. It gives the whole city a real open air kind of feeling.

Highlights for me: Mount Vernon - definitely a favourite! Old Post Office. Lincoln Memorial and the US Capitol building.

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