Friday, October 05, 2007

2007 Trip: Monuments

When I got to Washington, D.C., I decided to follow the itinerary because I didn't know what else to do. For the first full day, Friday 9/22/07, I walked from the hotel which was located about two blocks from the National Gallery on the Mall towards Union Station so I could take my hop-on-hop-off bus tour. It became immediately apparent that I'd brought the wrong sandals so when I got to Union Station I bought a pair of those ugly sneaker sandals. I wore them for the entire trip. They are wonderful.

The weather in DC was in the upper 80s and something like 90% humidity. Miss Turtle is not used to such sweltering heat. To give you an idea of the contrast, it was about 63 degrees today here in SF with 74% humidity. When we have humidity here, it's usually fog or mist related. It feels a half a world from the kind of humidity in DC. I was sweating bullets by the time I got to the train station.

While at the train station, I canceled the Boston leg of the my trip and booked a first class train ticket to NYC for later in the week, then I got on the tour bus. Here's a picture of the Library of Congress.

I didn't take as many pictures as you might have thought on this trip. My camera is pretty heavy and I got tired of hefting in around. On that same Friday, I took a night tour of the DC monuments. The tour kicked my ass, but it was GREAT! I highly recommend it to anyone.

Our Nation's Capital, of course.

Night shot.

These bus tours are fun. I used to think they were really cheesy, but I took one when we went to London and it was really valuable. They give you the lay of the land, tell you lots of history and trivia of the area, allow you to see parts of the city you won't have time to see later and get you oriented. It rained a little while I was sitting on top of the bus. Everyone else went downstairs, but since I was prepared with my umbrella I stayed where I was. The rain was warm and had a sweet, gentle quality.

The monuments in DC at night are so beautiful. The night was warm and friendly and there were lots of people around, lots of other bus tours all doing the same thing.

The Lincoln Memorial is overwhelming. Sure, we've all seen pictures of it, but when you are standing a few feet a way from where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I have a dream" speech, it was all I could do to keep myself from crying.

Korean Vets Memorial.

All of the monuments I saw were beautiful and moving, but none of them hit me like the Korean Vets Memorial. A bunch of life size bronze men are trudging through the difficult terrain, weighed down by their gear. They look all around, watching for enemy fire. Their faces are gaunt and exhausted. Their faces are beautiful. I tried in vain to get a face shot, but it was too dark.

I overheard a woman saying she's been to this memorial while it's been raining and that makes it even more realistic. She said she couldn't stop crying that night.

The last time I was here, I had time to see only one memorial so I picked the Vietnam Vets Memorial. It's amazing and so sad. Since the Wall is black and it was nighttime, I elected to not try to see that one this time around. Instead, I spent the rest of the time sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking out at the Washington Monument and enjoying all the people and the beautiful night.

1 comment:

anne said...

MT, I am really enjoying this series.

I visited DC just once, for about 36 hours, in the company of the guy I dated for six years. He fancied himself a photographer, and since we arrived into DC relatively late, he wanted to go shoot all the monuments in the dark.

I thought he was nuts, until I realized all of the monutments were lit up for that very purpose. We must have walked 6 or 8 miles that night, taking pictures... and then we got up the next morning and did it all over again in the daylight.

Someday I would like to go back; your pictures reminded me of that east coast vacation nearly 20 years ago!