Monday, March 30, 2009

Washington, D.C. Trip

Last week was my spring break, so I decided to go on a trip to Washington. I had never been there before since my 8th grade class went to Toronto instead. I booked a hotel room Wednesday in Silver Springs, MD (8 miles north of D.C.) and left that morning. It was about a 5.5 hour drive and traffic only got heavy for about 10 minutes near Silver Springs.

I arrived at around 3 PM and got on the subway to look around for a bit. I checked out the Washington Monument and the Lincoln, WWII and Korean War Memorials.

On Thursday, I woke up early to get tickets at 8:30 to go up the Washington Monument. The view at the top was amazing. There are 2 windows on each side of the tower. I also went to the Engraving & Printing Department where the U.S. currency is made. It was unbelievable how much money was in the place. They had a stack of $20 sheets and a sign above that read "$30 million in stack." The tour guide told us that 95% of the money printed is used to replace old bills while only 5% adds to existing amounts. A funny sign by the printing machines read "Just think how I feel, I just printed my lifetime salary in a few minutes."

After that, I went to the Holocaust, Art, and Air & Space Museums. I then took a tour of the Supreme Court and the U.S. Capitol. The Rotunda was breathtaking looking up at. It was also cool to see the different department buildings of the government such as the Treasury, FBI, and the IRS.

On Friday, I took a tour of Ford's Theater where Lincoln was assassinated. I also visited the house across the street where he died. Afterwards, I took the Subway to Arlington Cemetery seeing Kennedy's grave, the eternal flame, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Seeing all the white tombstones flowing across the hills at Arlington was sad knowing that each one was a man or woman that died for our country. Below is a video of the Changing of the Guards.

After, I took the subway to the Pentagon to see the 9/11 Memorial. It was a little eerie being so close to where the plane had hit.

I then went back to Washington and visited the National Archives. This place seemed to always have a long line and I saw why when I went in. Inside they have the original Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution, Articles of Confederation and many other documents. It was cool seeing the actual documents that you've read about in school.

As I was walking to the Vietnam Memorial, I saw a helicopter flying really low and towards the White House vicinity. I saw people running over there so I headed over. A large crowd of people were looking at the president's helicopter that had just landed in the front lawn. I waited for awhile and then took this video of it taking off.

Finally, I visited the FDR and Jefferson Memorials which were a long walk, but definitely worth seeing. I ended up leaving on the subway back to Silver Springs at around 9 PM. Washington at night is beautiful. The monuments lit up and the Washington Monument reflecting off of the water are something everyone should see at some point.

Needless to say, my legs were really tired after this trip. I ended up walking everywhere and found out that the National Mall is a pretty large stretch of land. I didn't have the time or energy to get in a run, but I'm going to pick up my training this week.

Click here to see all the pictures from my trip.


Clara said...

Wow- way to take advantage of some time off! Sounds like an interesting trip.

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