Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Washington, DC

I'm back, although I am still feeling jet-lagged and tired from all of the walking that we did. Hubby and I had a wonderful time and were able to see just about everything that we set out to see. Washington DC is a beautiful place, even during the winter. With so many grand and ornate buildings, it often made us feel as if we were back in Europe again. We saw so much in the short time that we were there.

The one thing that I have to say is that it was very alarming to see so many barrier's and policemen in place throughout the city. We were told that it has been this way ever since the Oklahoma City bombings, and not after 9-11 as many people believe. Either way, it was both very sad and scary at the same time.

The following is just a few of the places that we visited. I hope that I don't bore you with it.

I can't believe that we forgot to take pictures of our first hotel, The Liaison Capitol Hill. It is a very chic and modern boutique hotel with the most comfortable down featherbeds imaginable. This hotel attracts the very hip Capitol Hill execs, and they were there every evening like clockwork, socializing over cocktails. We were there for 4 nights. (We chose 2 hotels, one on each side of the National Mall which made our touring much easier).

The second hotel that we stayed in was The Willard Intercontinental. We were there for 6 nights. It is a very beautiful hotel and is often referred to as the "Jewel of Pennsylvania Ave." Presidents and dignitaries often stay here when they visit DC. Luckily, it was very quiet while we were there. There were no secret service agents roaming around, at least as far as we could tell. A couple of nights before we left, The Willard hosted a formal function for Governor's (evidently, Hawaii's included). I tried not to stare so I didn't get to see who was in the crowd as we passed by the reception table on our way back from dinner.

In the lobby of The Willard. Very old world in decor and oh so grand!

We visited the majority of the memorials while we were there. Seeing the war memorials were especially difficult, many times having to hold back tears because of the overwhelming and stark in-your-face realization of just how many human sacrifices were made.

This is the Korean War Memorial by day. Nineteen statues, each over 7 feet tall, all facing the American Flag.

This is the Korean War Memorial by night. Eerily haunting.

Hubby at the Vietnam War Memorial. Being a Vietnam Vet, this was very special to him. We had the honor of visiting the traveling memorial when it was displayed at Pearl Harbor many years ago, but seeing the actual memorial was quite overwhelming. Sadly, the names of some of his soldier friends are here.

The towering Lincoln Memorial Statue. What a sight to behold.

Inside the Lincoln Memorial.

A beautiful brass sculpture of Franklin D. Roosevelt in his wheelchair at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Evidently, he never allowed pictures taken of him while seated in his wheelchair. At the time, it made me wonder why they thought it befitting to display him in his wheelchair at his memorial. After a little research, I found out that this statue wasn't part of the original plan but was put there after numerous protests from people with disabilities.

The World War II Memorial. Every state is represented. Of course, we had to have a picture by the Hawaii portion of the memorial.

The Washington Monument, towering high above the city. It was completed in 2 stages due to the lack of finances. If you look closely, you will see the difference in the color of the stone that was used. By the time that the second phase was started, the stone was taken from deeper within the quarry and was slightly different in tone.

Standing in front of the U.S. Botanical Gardens. I'm so glad that we decided to stop here. It was a wonderful treat to see so many flowers and plants, many of which we do not have in the islands.

Aside from real plants, there are some really pretty metal plant sculptures.

We found a bit of Hawaii in there.

Strolling through the Hawaii area. It was humid, green, and lush, just like home.

The piece de resistance, The White House. Evidently there was something going on during the time that we decided to visit. The entire area in front, including half of the park, was blocked off by the Capitol Police. A helicopter was circling and sharp shooters were on the rooftop. It took a while for all of the hoopla to end, but we patiently waited and were finally able to get close enough to take some pictures.

Look who we found in the U.S. Capitol building...King Kamehameha! Of course we had to take a picture with him with our distinctive Hawaii "shaka" hand sign.

Our feet in the center of the Capitol Rotunda which is the exact center of Washington DC. Washington DC was built in four quadrants radiating from this point.

An actual space capsule on display at the Air & Space Museum. Pretty amazing and actually, pretty tiny too.

The Hope Diamond, a 45.52 carat grayish blue diamond on display in the Natural History Museum. One of my favorite places to be in this museum was the mineral and stone display area. What truly amazing and brilliant work produced by our earth.

As crazy as it may seem to some, this display was very interesting to me. This was a display at the Natural History Museum of soils from around the nation. Although this snapshot is a bit blurry and out of focus, I wanted to show you the rich volcanic soil taken from Hilo on Hawaii Island. Another little bit of Hawaii in Washington DC!

The George Washington's Day parade in Old Town Alexandria. I watched in utter excitement as the costumed participants paraded past me. To tell you the truth, I really thought that I'd see Andy Griffith and Barney Fife at any moment. It was so small-town quaint and I loved every moment of it. The whole town of Alexandria is old and historic and a must see.

These men shot off their guns every so often, creating such a large boom, it scared both the people and the horses in the parade shitless. I thought it was kind of amusing, but sad at the same time, especially for the horses and the little kids.

Another scene from the parade. I thought their costumes were wonderful.

More from the parade. We stayed and watched the several hour parade until it's completion.

Let me sum up this post by saying that Washington DC is a very lovely place to visit and everyone should do it at least once in their lifetime. I would also say, do it while you are young enough and are able to walk great distances as this is definitely a walking town. The Metro, the Olde Time Trolley, Gray Line Tours, and the taxi cabs were a great asset and I doubt that we could have enjoyed the experience without them. The cold weather (it snowed only for a short period one morning), was pretty exciting to experience. A huge thank you to everyone who so generously offered me advice. We were prepared for the cold and had the right clothing and accessories all because of you. This definitely made our trip much more pleasurable.

With that said, it is nice to be home again.

Take care, everyone!



sweetiepie said...

Lettie, I am so glad you had such a wonderful trip. I thought about you often. Every morning I would check the weather report for Washington DC, and wonder if you were freezing your buns off.

Although I have never been there, just reading your account and looking at all your great pictures makes me feel like I made the trip with you.

Thanks for sharing

Tudy said...

What a wonderful trip you had. I have never been to Washington D.C. and I live in Ohio. Not really that far away. I loved all your pictures too.

Suze said...

Thank you for sharing about your trip. It sounds like you had a wonderful time.

Anonymous said...

You have given us a wonderful online tour of DC. I've been there a few times because my brother lives there. I haven't seen all the sights that you highlighted but have seen some plus some others. I'm so glad to read how much you enjoyed the trip and also that you were not hampered by the cold weather.

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

The trip sounds wonderful; thank you for sharing all the pictures.

Laila said...

Hei. Thanks for sharing your trip. I wish I could be able to go to USA sometime. It was great to read about all places you visit. But it is god to have you safe in your home.

SG said...

It's good to have you back! What a great time you had!

Lorraine said...

Thanks for sharing your trip pics - so glad you had a good time. Nice to have you back!

Stephanie D said...

Hi, Lettie, welcome back! Thanks for the pictures, too! Funny, but there you are living in Hawaii and you've been to Washington, DC more than I have--and I grew up in Alabama and now live in NC!

We really need to get out there!

Carrie P. said...

Thanks for sharing your trip. Looks like you had a great time. I don't live that far but still have not been there.

Clare said...

It looks as if you had a wonderful trip. Washington is one city I would love to visit.