My eyes opened as my head lay on its side facing the open window, the blue sky and bright Sun immediately made me cheerful and jolted me out of bed. I knew instantly that today was going to be so much better than yesterday! After a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and maple syrup I was on my way on foot to the Capitol building to take some photos in blue skies and sun to replace the dreary grey ones from yesterday.
The Capitol is a magnificent building with a huge amount of history that shaped this country. I entered the visitor’s centre where they conducted free tours of the Crypt, the rotunda and the original senate meeting chamber where Abraham Lincoln sat and debated. I was also allowed to visit the current senate chamber gallery, the place that I had seen so often on TV news.
The weather was beautifully warm today, although with a little white cloud cover. I started walking along the National Mall taking photos as I went West from the Capital building, the Washington memorial, the World War II memorial and right the way along to the Lincoln memorial. The photos were amazing and the walk along the Mall in the centre of the most important city in the modem world that shapes world events today gave me a sense of connection with the story and history of the world. It took me about 2 hours to traverse the whole Mall. The sun was beating down on my face and arms and I could feel my skin burning so I put some sun cream on, probably a bit too late. I walked back to the WWII memorial on my way to the white house, my next destination. As I sat by the fountains cooling off I heard somebody shouting anti-war statements, I eventually saw some police officers arrive and chased him, he seemed a little crazy or drunk and he tried to resist and run but the police caught him and dragged him to the ground. There where three officers pinning him down as they cuffed him and took him away. It was exciting to see Washington metro police in action it was like being in a movie!
I arrived amongst the crowds taking photos of the rear of the white house and joined them by sticking my camera lens through the railings to snap the image that is always in the news or the movies. I didn’t stay long as it was very busy and I needed a drink. I walked along passed the US Treasury to the magnificent Willard hotel and sat with a nice cold beer outside in the occidental café watching people and cars pass by.
Time was racing by so after a rest and a drink, I made my way to the front of the white house for more photos from the other side. It was strange to think that this house is the home of the most powerful man on Earth. It was even stranger to realise that such power existed in one man. Thankfully, the US rule of law, democracy and freedom ensures that the President rules fairly and not as a dictator tyrant unlike some others in the world!
It was now around 6 pm and I still had not decided on a restaurant for dinner yet. I was only 5 blocks away from Dupont circle with all its fashionable restaurants and shops. Within 15 minutes I was walking around Dupont Circle seeking a place for dinner. I really fancied ribs but could not find a place that served them, I guess ribs aren’t fashionable today. I even looked at the famous Ruth’s Chris steakhouse but even they had no ribs on the menu. At this point I was going to settle for a good old American hamburger I finally found Smith and Wollensky’s. I sat outside in the warmth of the evening air and ordered a nice hamburger and a glass of red wine; an Argentinian Malbec. I sat on 19th street near M street. And watched the people and cars pass by. It was about 7.30pm when I paid and started my long walk back to my hotel. It was about 19 blocks but I was back by 9 pm!
After one more glass of Malbec in the hotel bar I was ready for bed.