Friday, April 20, 2012

Mr Smith... oops I mean... Ms Stewart goes to Washington

I go to Washington DC for meetings on a regular basis, or really I should say I go to the DC area as the meetings are held in Alexandria,Virginia. I've been going to the meetings about 2 or 3 times a year for the past three years and until this trip had never made it into DC.

This time the meeting ended at noon and our flights out were not until 8 pm so my colleague and I decided we would head into DC and take a walk on the National Mall.  It was a bit of planning involved in figuring out how long we would actually have knowing what time we had to be at the airport, the hotel shuttle timings and the time needed for the DC Metro as we wanted to make sure it was actually worthwhile. After we figured all this into the equation, we ended up with a little over two hours to spend in DC.

We took the DC Metro to L'Enfant Plaza station where we had about a one block walk to get to the Mall. It was hard to tell when we arrived as there was a bunch of construction on the Mall going toward the Capitol Building. They were putting in all new drainage and sprinkler systems and were going to be putting in new turf.

We decided to head towards the Washington Monument which was plainly visible. It's currently closed right now because of damage that was suffered when an earthquake hit the area a year or so ago. In any case, we wouldn't have had the time to go in.

Can't match the photos up here but you get the idea. It would be really neat to see the view from the top.

Next up, after finally finding a map of the National Mall, we decided to continue on to the Lincoln Memorial. I hadn't realized that the National Mall was so huge. They always seem to show the monuments in collages so I had the impression they would be closer together.  It was quite a hike to the Lincoln Memorial. I took this photo of an old tree near the Washington Memorial, some of the branches were being held to the center with cable.

Still on our way to the Lincoln Memorial, we stopped at the World War II memorial for Naval actions in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

There is a pillar for each vessel that took part in naval operations during the war.

After quick break, we began walking again toward the Lincoln Memorial which was still a distance away. But now having reached the point just past the World War II memorial, I could see that the reflecting pond was also drained and closed for major repair and that was the view to the Lincoln Memorial I had hoped to get. Chain link fence blocked off the reflecting pool and marred the view of the memorial.

Now we were getting close, but boy were my legs getting tired and we still had the stairs to go and the walk back.

Gettysburg Address

I wish I had more time at the Lincoln Memorial. It is very impressive even in it's simplicity; I guess that's the sheer size of the statue and the memorial; it made me feel humble.

View of the Washington Monument and Capitol Building 

Now we began the long trip back. On the way to the Lincoln Memorial, we had seen what we thought was the Vietnam Memorial, so we decided to take a quick side trip. It turned out to be the Korean War Memorial, a wall with faces etched into it, a low fence with all the Nations that fought alongside the US Forces and statues of an infantry patrol. I was told the all the pictures on the wall are from photos of veterans of the Korean War.

Was I disappointed that so much of the Mall was under renovation, not in the least; it is very interesting place and I'm sure I'll be back to spend more time on a future occasion. Now I know I will need a few days a least to explore the area and it's places of interest.

We got back to the hotel just after 4:30pm and were able to catch the next shuttle at 5pm arriving at the airport just before 6pm which gave us time to eat and relax before boarding our flight home. Next time, I need to see the Capitol Building and the White House amongst other things

If you are tentatively planning a trip to Washington this year, I think I would wait a year. All of the rejuvenation of the Mall is supposed to be completed this year. If your trip is already booked you won't be disappointed; there is still so much to see and do but your perfect shot might have some construction equipment in it.


  1. very very neat ... I have driven through Washington on my way to Annapolis but never stopped :)

  2. WHat a bummer that there was so much construction going on. The reflecting pool is quite amazing.

    I remember everything in Washington seemed 20 times bigger than it looked in photo graphs.

  3. I hope I could visit this city one day! It's too far from my world and I'm really scared of long haul flights.

    1. I wish I could visit your part of the world. I have an uncle in Thailand so maybe one day. :-)

  4. Wow, a lot of history there, definitely deserving a second look with more time. Glad you were able to check it out, finally.


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