I used to wonder how big United States really is, although it appears that the cultural diversity amazes me more. I came from Indonesia where there are vast diversity in ethnicity, religion and cultural yet we became one. I’ve been to several States and I couldn’t say the same, at least not until I visited Washington D.C.
The vibe I got right when I saw Washington Monument and The Capitol was just breathtaking. We booked the tour a couple of months prior and it brought us to a few rooms where the Congress used to gather.
The highlight of the tour is the Rotunda.
The Capitol is located at the east end of The National Mall in the heart of Washington D.C.. My thoughts were, what, a mall? Nope! It was a complex of Museums forming a rectangle with The Capitol at its East side and The Washington Monument on its West side.
This is the view of Washington Monument from Lincoln Memorial, which is located on further east side. You can walk from The Capitol through all the museums, botanical gardens, etc. towards Washington Monument, and then to Lincoln Memorial if you wish. I went to Lincoln Memorial the next day, though, as I went to Library of Congress straight from The Capitol through the tunnels.
We haven’t got time for the Tour, but it is a must if you can as you would be allowed to see the inside of the library from the above. Would be absolutely stunning! I, on the other hand, decided to went home early to prepare for a fine dining Chinese food dinner at The Source. They offered a prix fixe menu for the whole table, offering an awesome Peking Duck, among others. Book for Saturday mornings way ahead for its famous (supposedly most delicious) dim sum in the area.
The journey continues the next day, starting with lunch at The Founding Farmers which used to be quite famous. Unfortunately, our relative said their quality has decreased over the year and service was a big disappointment, although food are still pretty good. We ordered Bacon Lollies for appetizer and my Chicken and Waffles tastes awesome. Super soft waffles.
From there we went to The Phillips Collection where they happen to exhibit some of Van Gogh’s collection, among others. Sadly the entrance time for Van Gogh was too long to wait.
Next destination was National Art Gallery, house to some of the finest paintings, sculpture, graphic arts from the Middle Ages. It was located on the National Mall as well, so we went to Smithsonian Museum of Natural History which was located right next to it. The only downside of going there on holiday season was the crowd. Especially on the Natural History Museum where children of all ages running around looking at different animals exhibition, among others like stone and diamonds exhibit. It’s a must visit!
We took Metro from the Smithsonians to Dupont Circle, which was well known for cool hang out spots. My fav cousin who happens to live there told me about her favorite bookstore, The Kraamerbooks. It reminded me of The City Lights Bookstore in San Fransisco, except this one has its own cafe on the back.
The following day was a combined trip to several Monuments, and my cousin is not kidding when she said “There’s going a to be a lot of walk!” The scenery was enough to compromise the walking, especially if it wasn’t so cold.
Public transport in Washington D.C. is not pleasant at all, especially compared to NYC. The wait is long to a point where it’s not worth the time anymore. We’re so lucky my cousin drive us to some of the places, especially when she just dropped us off The White House and we only need to walk a couple of blocks where she can park and wait.
She stopped by a coffee shop called M.E. Swings who’s been serving coffee since 1916. This one was located on the corner of 17th & G Street so it’s very walkable from The White House ;D Their café au lait is heaven! With a perfect cup of coffee on hand, we strode the street to Georgetown, which, of course was really packed during this holiday time.
Georgetown has a very unique shopping area, a typical outdoor American shopping center with a more upscale vendors like Tory Burch, Kate Spade, Brooks Brothers, even some cute furniture store. On the contrary, there’s another outdoor shopping center with a more boho style stores I visited that night for dinner. It was at Old Town Alexandria, where we had a fine dining dinner at Vermillion. The place was known for its seasonal menu depending on what the Chef offers. Great conversation, good food and wine. What more life could offer.
The next morning we went for a tour at The Pentagon, home to U.S. Department of Defense, which has been booked months before. It was about 30-45 minutes long tour where they took us passed by a shopping section, Military branches hallways with their own historic showcases and wall of fame of some sort, with the highlight being the 9/11 Chapel. From there we took Metro to reach Arlington Cemetery, which is only 1 station away.
The highlight was Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with a guard standing and walking before the tomb, and people gathered and waited for a change of guard ceremony which took place every hour. On the second picture, Pierre L’enfant was the designer of Washington D.C. so it was just stunning how they placed his tomb right on the hill overlooking the city.
We went to Fashion Center at Pentagon City, a big mall, to shop for some outfit for that night’s New Year’s Eve celebration afterwards. Our chosen restaurant for NYE’s dinner was Rasika. A fine dining Indian cuisine. My appetizer was Shrimp Bezule, spicy fried shrimp, followed by super delicate and buttery cod for my entree. Everyone got the dessert sampler but my cousin and I loved their Rose Crème Brûlée. Delicate.
We head to The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts after that, getting ready for the 8 pm Ray, Motown, and Beyond performance from Ellis Hall and members of National Symphony Orchestra. It was super fun! People gathered at the Concert Hall’s foyer afterwards and wait for the countdown. Could be your NYE celebration next year! 🙂
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