Washington, D.C. – Around The Mall

Day 4 – from Brnachville, NJ, to Washington, D.C., and 4 km by foot through Washington, D.C.

(comments in Italic by Daniel)

With a lot of sightseeing stops on our list, ready to be crossed out, we got off at the Smithsonian and just wandered around a bit, after spending almost five hours in the car, driving down here.

Because we wanted to visit the Capitol, we checked out the opening times during the week. When we arrived there, it was closed, but this was no surprise on a Sunday. We’d come back tomorrow, then.

It’s incredible that each of the Smithsonian museums gathered around The Mall offer free admission, and so would be the entrance to the Capitol tomorrow. They would even offer a free tour. Awesome! You’d never have that in Europe, let alone in Germany… There are few exceptions for underage people, pupils or seniors, but mostly you’d have to pay. I do also like the places that give you a chance to decide for yourself how much your visit is worth, by donating an amount of your choice. I’m pretty sure museums would receive an equal amount of money (think of recommending a fair amount) in the end because most people are willing to pay, and if they’re not it’s probably a large family or those in need who get education for free… Not a bad thing.

So we started our sightseeing tour by visiting the Botanical Garden on the south-western corner of the Capitol. It’s a nice and well-temperated place (although sunny, it was a bit chilly outside) with different sectors for all kinds of plants and flowers, and even a second floor to see the plants from above or at least from a higher point of view.


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Next stop: Museum of Native American History, as we only had one hour left until all museums close we were just in to visit the third floor which was dedicated to the Inkas. We learned a lot about their culture, architecture and cities. As we are planning to visit Cusco in our last week of vacation, the Cusco part of the exhibition was especially interesting – the town had been planned to be the capitol of the Inka empire. I’m also really curious how it will be like to be back there and experience Machu Picchu again, hiking there instead of going by train and by bus, this time.

After the museum closed we were heading towards the Obelisk, and I realized how big this building is. The White House was just down the road so we quickly stopped by to take some great photos of Julia showing her opinion of the current administration (none of which are going to be published…). Afterwards we drove to Georgetown to get some drinks until we had a reservation at the famous Old Ebbitt Grill right next to the White House. We had very delicious food there in a cozy atmosphere. Rumor has it that John F. Kennedy sneaked out of the White House during his presidency just to have a bowl of their chili. Whether this is true or not, the antique decoration is stylish enough and the food tasty enough to pay this place a visit. Be sure to make a reservation in advance (OpenTable works quite well) because queuing, half-starving, is nothing you want to do after a long day.

As we had more than enough food we decided to take a walk to the Lincoln Memorial to take some night-time pictures. It was hugely impressive to stand at the exact spot where Martin Luther King gave his famous speech “I have a Dream” and to overlook the Reflecting Pool, seeing the lit Obelisk and the Capitol from the Distance. Having finished that we returned to our hotel to get some sleep and to get ready for the next day.

// Dinner is served: Old Ebbitt Grill


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