A Day of Museums and Memorials

We’re really lucky (along with the fact I wanted a night flight for this very reason) we aren’t jet lagged. But despite being in another country, I still have issues unwinding and getting to sleep. That’s where I-dread-to-think-what’s-in-them ‘American’ sleeping tablets come in.

Two of those, and I was out within 10 minutes. Completely out. Seven hours later, I woke feeling like, “let’s do this!” Mentally anyway. My poor ankles (and for some reason the bridge of my left foot too) are in so much pain from all the walking the day before. My body is rubbish. I’ve had to ice my ankles twice to help with the swelling.

But first. It was Easter Sunday! And I bought some hot cross buns, which were covered what I thought was a lemon curd. Of course they weren’t. Lemon curd is far too natural tasting. It was some lemon cream topping, which was nice, but oh-so much. I had five squares with some Arizona ice tea (still a friggin nightmare to find anywhere that sells hot tea other than Starbucks). I did buy a yogurt to have for breakfast too, bought the previous night in the supermarket that sold fruit, but in my excitement I forgot to pick up a plastic spoon and I didn’t want to be that guy who phones down to the hotel reception, demanding a spoon. Bread mixed with all sorts for breakfast it was.

We were really excited to head to The Mall. It’s like quintessentially Washington. I’d seen so many photos and scenes from movies around this stretch of grass. Being a complete geek too, I was well up for it.

Walking towards The Mall, past the Capitol building, we saw a church group singing in one of the parks. All happy and clapping, totally loving life. It was really lovely actually; I am an atheist, but I can still appreciate that other people have faiths. Am a human after all 🙄 These people loved the fact they were together in their community, clapping and singing away. And it was a beautiful day for it.

We left our hotel around 9:30am and we could feel the sun beaming down on it. Good job we chose Sunday to wander around the museums otherwise Emily would’ve got really sunburnt for sure (I a bit tanned, but do now have lines on my legs from where my shorts were!).

We were really shocked at how empty The Mall was. A few joggers and a handful of tourists, but that was really it! We guessed that with it being Easter Sunday, locals were in church or with their families. Washington definitely doesn’t seem to be a place where English tourists go, as we haven’t bumped into a single one so far.

I really wanted to go to the National Gallery, but it was closed. Boooo. I got a good photo of me sat on the steps anyway. I’m tiny!

We walked along a bit more and went into the National Museum of National History. All the museums are free by the way, all administered by the Smithsonian Institute. We wandered around the mammals section, and then the geology bit. We saw the Hope Diamond, which is the biggest blue diamond in the world.

There was a section on the human evolution, and we had the opportunity to see what we would’ve looked like back in the day. This is me:

Pretty beaut. This is a Homo Floresiensis, living more than 50,000 years ago on an island which is now in modern Asia. They were very small, with a brain only about a third of the size of us modern humans. Isn’t evolution fantastic?! Despite the small size, they were able to make tools and hunt a variety of animals. The small stature helped them survive on an island with limited resources. I think that’s pretty amazing.
I also bought a little gemstone tree, of rose quartz in the shape of a cherry blossom. It’s really pretty and will look lovely in my flat back home. My donation to the museum too 😉

Our next stop was Starbucks. All the options here amuse me so. It’s just so American. Sat outside the Trump International hotel, which is also next door to the IRS (lol), I enjoyed this iced cinnamon almond milk macchiato. I totally had to write that down in advance to remember.

We moved on to National Museum of American History, which on reflection, was my favourite. Not only because I made myself look ridiculous in public, but I just learnt so much.

I didn’t know that America had concentrate camps for those from Japanese backgrounds. Americans, who were born and raised in the country, imprisoned in camps for years, all because of their family history. It made me really sad. I had no clue this happened, and how horrid for all these families, that they were torn from their life with no notice, to live and work in horrendous conditions.

The victims got some justice, eventually. With the government admitting their wrong doings and giving redress payments and letters of apologies. This didn’t happen until the 1990s though, and the gentleman pictured below was 107 when he received his payment. It’s just not okay.

We then moved on to the First Ladies section, which had a gallery of dresses from the women of the White House over the years. I LOVED this section (and I thought of you Mum, you would’ve loved it too!). It was hard taking photos because of the reflective glass.

These two below were worn by Hillary Clinton (left) and Laura Bush (right) at their respective husband’s inauguration parties.

Also saw Michelle Obama’s, and the diamonds that went with it.

The next stop was the Monument! Finally. We had been walking towards it for hours.

It was closed so we couldn’t go up to the top, which was a shame. On top of the hill where it stood, it was really windy too. My hair was just getting completely battered!

We looked out towards where the White House should’ve been and saw a white-usually roof, but as we walked towards it, we realised that wasn’t the White House at all. Nestled behind that building, was a tiny little uber-white structure that was a bit, “is that it?!” <insert standard smutty Ayla joke – you know>

I took a photo of it anyway, but honestly. It’s no biggie whatsoever.

By this time it was nearing on 3pm and Ayla was getting hungry. Hot dog stands were everywhere, so we didn’t have much of a choice! I overloaded mine with my favourites, and it was really tasty. 

We also tried a snow cone, which was equally underwhelming as the White House. It was only 35 calories, and you could tell. It was flavourless and I wanted e-numbers, dammit!

We wandered back along The Mall, to the next memorial on our list, the World War 2 Memorial. It was huge, and beautiful. This photo below is a very small part of it.

We still hadn’t completed even half of The Mall and it was about 3pm! Time to power on to the Lincoln Memorial which towered over us. It was huge! And to put it into perspective, about twice the size of the White House.

From the top of the steps at the Lincoln Memorial, gave a fantastic view of The Mall.

Heading back down the way we came (we still had the other side of The Mall), we saw the Korean War Memorial. I found it really tasteful. It highlighted the fact that many nationalities came together to fight a war.

We then went into the Smithonian Castle, and final stop, National Air and Space Museum. We saw a show in the Einstein Planetarium, called Journey to the Stars, narrated by Whoppi Goldberg.

Even the ticket is immensely cool!

The museum was full of planes suspending from the ceiling.

And jump suits to buy. I had no shame trying it on. Was totally inappropriate.

We ended our day on The Mall with a sunset walk back to the hotel. This was taken around 7pm and I was feeling very pleased we managed to see mostly everything.

After a shower and ankle ice-ing, we went out for dinner. We went into a place called Fuddruckers, which is a fast food American-food restaurant. I really needed some protein, so ordered a 1/2 pound beef burger topped with bacon. I could help myself to salad fillings, so went a bit crazy on the gherkins and pickles. And yay for salad!

We ended the night by going for a short walk to the Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln was shot. Opposite, is the house that he died in. It’s now a museum.

Total walked: 12 miles / 30,541 steps. Boom.


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