Sunday, September 25, 2011

US Holiday - Day 14 - Washington DC - Day 4

Day 14 - Thursday 22nd September

Gees the days are flying past over here at the moment. This will be my last full day in DC so need to make it count. First item to cover off is the visit to the National Archives building which contains the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution. I got to the building at around 10.30am and there were only a small number of people in the line to get through security. Once through the checkpoint it was on to view the documents.

The layout is very simply, very large room and along one side you have a mural (or Muriel) with the documents in a very secure cases. The light is kept quite low to protect the documents. The writing on the documents are very faded but you can still make out the detail.

Next item to cover off is the Arlington National Cemetry. I decided to give the Washington subway a try and found it to be quite easy to use. Like with most underground train systems they use colour schemes to point people in the right direction. Only had to wait about 10 minutes before my train came along. From there it was probably a 15-20 minute journey stopping at around 5-6 stations along the way.

After getting out I then headed for the visitor centre and grabbed a map. The first and most easiest tomb to get to was JFK's. From there I walked up the hill to a house lived in my one of the General's Robert E Lee. This has vast views across of the Mall taking in the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Washington Monument and Capital Buildings.

As I looked down on the mall I noticed two helicopters heading towards the Whitehouse that looked like Marine One, the president's helicopter. It then proceeded to land at the Whitehouse. But on checking the Obama schedule he was not in it at that point but instead the helicopter was going there to pick him up.

The next grave I wanted to visit was that of the Unknown Soldier so headed off in that direction. Along the way there were some memorials to the two lost space shuttles and the failed Iran hostage rescue mission. It was just on 1pm by the time I got to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier so had the chance to watch the changing of the guard. A very nice ceremony. So walked down off the hill along the roads that snake their way through the cemetry. So many graves here, just rows and rows of head stones.

Caught the subway back over to the Mall and had some lunch out on one of the many park benches. The final place to tick off was the National History Musuem. Certainly a large building with some great displays.

From there it was back to the hotel to spend my final night in DC. There has been so much to see and do and only having the limited days here certainly constricts what you can see. But it has been very enjoyable non the less with many highlights and little or non disappointments.

Tomorrow I will by flying out to San Francisco.

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