A Monumental DayNovember 21, 2017 in the United States
We awoke to a beautiful sunny day. We headed off for breakfast, and then down to the Washington Memorial, with the intention of getting tickets to take the elevator up to the observation deck. We got there to find it was closed because of structural problems resulting from an earthquake in 2011 (magnitude 7.6). Some repairs were undertaken and it re-opened last year, but the elevator kept breaking down and now it is closed indefinitely. So, after taking photos towards the Capital and the Lincoln Memorial - located at either end of the National Mall - we then headed to the Smithsonian precinct to visit a number of museums.
We started with the Museum of Natural History, where we particularly enjoyed the mammal exhibition, and one on Human Origins, and I was impressed with the Hope Diamond. We then went to the American History Museum, where we found out about the Star Spangled Banner (flag and song). It only became the National Anthem in 1931. There was also an interesting exhibition on the Presidents.
After lunch, we went to the Museum of African American History, which was only opened about a year ago. It is a wonderful modern building, and the exhibition is outstanding. It starts with the History Galleries that take you through Slavery and Freedom (1400 - 1877), then Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: The Era of Segregation (1876 - 1968), and the last history gallery - A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond. The exhibits were very graphic and it was quite emotional to read about the history of the African Americans, especially the personal accounts. There were a further three galleries that cover culture, community and heritage, but we ran out of time, and were feeling quite drained after completing the first three galleries.
We then headed down the National Mall towards the WW2 Memorial, the reflection pool and the Lincoln Memorial. After this we walked through the parks back towards the White House, and our hotel. The foliage is stunning at the moment, especially against the backdrop of a beautiful blue sky.
We did see POTUS depart from the White House in his helicopter, with two other helicopters escorting him, and they basically shut down the surrounding streets. We also spotted some secret service staff on the roof of one of the federal buildings. As we walked past the White House the police were clearing Lafayette Park - we're not sure why, they don’t give any explanation. By the time we got back to the hotel we had clocked up 18,218 steps, and felt a bit knackered.
After a bit of a rest and freshening up we headed out for dinner to Bidwell, a restaurant that we had read about in the Age travel section. It was located in the Florida Avenue Farmers Market. It was recently awarded a Bib Gormand from Michelen for great food at reasonable prices. The meal was delicious and enjoyed by all three of us.Read more