Washington DC is the stereotypical tourist destination with its list of museums, monuments and a well-defined to-do list. It does not require a lot of figuring out or planning. As explained by my host from the terrace of his apartment, “It is basically an ellipse with the Washington Monument at its center, the Capitol and Lincoln Memorial at the vertex (along the major axis) and the White House and Jefferson Memorial at the co-vertex (along the minor axis).” That my host was a civil engineer by training and architect by profession did not come as a surprise to me!
Very different in its architecture and spirit from NYC, DC is an ideal weekend getaway from NYC. The best time to visit would undoubtedly be during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Also one needs to be prepared for some serious walking if enjoying the city is on the agenda. Prioritizing on the museums that one wishes to see is a painful task that needs to be undertaken if time is a limiting factor.
Here is a pictorial journey of my day at DC (divided into laps courtesy the walking involved!):
Lap 1: White House-Washington Monument-World War II Memorial-Lincoln Memorial…
Lap 2: Cherry Blossom Festival-Jefferson Memorial
Lap 3: Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle)-Air & Space Museum-U.S.Capitol
While most of the things to do or to see in DC can be gauged from a tourist map, my favorite spot is a hidden gem across the Potomac in Virginia. The place is called Gravelly Point. Sitting there on the banks of the Potomac watching flights land (or take-off, depending on wind direction) at the Raegan Airport is a surreal experience; what with the amazing setting of a runway ahead of you and the Potomac leisurely making its way to its eventual destination by your side. My two evenings at DC were spent at this place, enjoying the landings on one (which is way better) and the take-offs on the other day while the sun went down and the stars came up.