Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Washington D.C. - Saturday

Saturday morning we left Fairfax, and then we went to The Mall in Washington DC. The Mall is like a gigantic corridor that goes from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial. It is about 3km from one side to the other, and at the sides there are nothing less than 6 Smithsonian Museums (National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art, National Museum of the American Indian, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of African Art), there are other art galleries too, the United States Botanic Garden, and a lot of amazing monuments. Needless to say that is impossible to visit everything around there in just two days. In the middle of the Mall, between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial, is the Washington Monument, that huge Obelisk, that I never thought was so huge, but it is almost 170m high, and you can actually go inside it, and then see the city from above.

Our first stop was near the Washington Monument, to get the tickets (free) to go inside it later, and after that I had to go to the National Air and Space Museum. My friend did not like the idea of going there, but as she had never been there, she went with me. Even, she being an astrophysicist and all, she thought those things were just boring. But those are the kind of things that make my eyes shine with glee (totally nerd stuff). Inside the Museum there are many replicas, and real pieces of equipment used in space missions, and also from a lot of airplanes. The replicas are most of the time, REAL size replicas. There is a real size Hubble Space Telescope Replica there, and I never thought the Hubble was that huge. After seeing that I started to think about the size of the Space Shuttle, that could carry the HST in one piece to its orbit. There is also a real size replica of the SkyLab, the first US space station, and you can actually go inside that. Some real planes scattered throughout the Museum, even a true Boeing 747. The place was simply amazing. I was awed inside that place.

When we enter the astronomy gallery, a place full of telescopes, and telling the history of astronomical observations, there was a guy pointing the a small telescope to a place in the wall, where there is a small image of the moon. I barely payed any attention to that, but my friend (also an astrophysicist), decided to look at that, and then the man decided to explain how a telescope works to her. The man asked some "rethorical" questions while explaining it, and she was answering every one correctly to him, but the guy only insisted that she was interested and kept going. I was not there, she told me she was having some fun, and decided not to tell him that she was an astronomer. :P

After that we kept walking through the Museum, I was awed and she bored. I will have to compensate her for that some day. We stop in the museum gift shop, and I had to buy a lot of stuff, but unfortunately I did not have much money to spend with that. If I had I would keep buying and buying... It is worth to note that she was so bored inside there that she was almost fainting from boredom!! Hehehehe... (Right, Lica?)

After that we took a walk to the Capitol building, and wow... I want to have a place like that to live one day. We did not go inside, unfortunately, so I don't have an idea yet, about how my place is going to look like from the inside. But I don't care, I will use the outside as just a model for that, and the inside I can create based on the outside architecture, with a lot of rooms, secret rooms, secret passages, and things like that.

From the Capitol building to the Washington Monument. We went inside the Monument, and then we went up by elevator. There is a staircase inside with more tha 900 steps, but I guess it is closed to the public. The view from that place was awesome. It is the highest "building" in the city, and so we could see most of the city from that height. Inside the Monument, in the walls following the staircase, are the Memorial Stones, huge blocks of stones, each a gift from an US State or from an foreign country, US cities, US groups, or Masons (Actually each one is made from a different material, like silver, gold, jade, wood, cooper, etc... And every one beautifully crafted.) Unfortunately we could not see them properly, we just could see a few of them, while the elevator was going down, and a guy was explaining about these stones to us inside the elevator.

Around 17h the Sun was already setting, and we continued our way to the Lincoln Memorial, but in the way there are other Memorials. The World War II Memorial is a huge fountain surrounded by pillars, and each pillar representing one US State. Very beautiful. Then we went to the Vietnan War Memorial, a colossal wall, covered by a black reflecting stone, with the names of ALL the soldiers that died during the conflict. Gloomy. Also, near, was the Korean War Memorial, a lot of life-like real-size soldier statues, positioned as if they were walking through a battlefield.

When we reached the Lincoln Memorial it was already dark. There is not too much to say about it. Inside there is this giant Lincoln Statue sitting in something like a throne, and wondering about something. It was beautiful, flawless. Around the wall there are some writings, and some drawings, and sculptures. We spent some time there, to rest a little bit, and the we started walk back to the subway station and to get back home.
When we got home we were totally broken, we just ate something, and rested for the rest of the night.

I have not gone to the White House, but I could see it when I was inside the Washington Monument sighting deck. I could also see the Pentagon Building from there.

This day was worth my trip to Washington DC, and I have to return there someday to visit the other museums. But the trip was not over yet.

1 comment:

khris said...

i love dc. :)
glad you liked it as well :)