Senators and politicians
Washington Travel Blog› entry 13 of 13 › view all entries
Tried to book a private double room at a centrally located Hostel for 5 nights but the first night is unavailable so we make that booking at a Motel 6. The taxi ride costs us about $16 but the motel room is cheaper than the hostel and it has it's own bathroom (shared at the hostel) and TV in the room. There is a good washing machine and dryer plus a microwave and free coffee in the morning.
On our arrival at Washington Union Station in the evening we collect our suitcase that we sent on by Amtrak when we were leaving Los Angeles. The guy doesn't charge us anything and we had been expecting $1.50 per day so we were really happy. It would have been so much harder lugging a second large suitcase across the continent.
I ask the desk if there is luggage storage as we have paid a taxi to come all the way in and dont want to pay another to take the stuff all the way back then get another to begin site seeing. There is but it is down fights of stairs and costs us $8 for two lockers. We drag the stuff down and a new clerk asks if she can help us. I tell her that our booking has now taken over an hour, is not what we booked for, has cost us a taxi fare to get in and is going to cost us another to get back and we are not at all impressed. She tells us that we do indeed have a double private room reserved for us and it is neither of the two we were shown.
It is a beautiful sunny (yes, you lucky Washington DC ers, the Smarts are in town with their lucky weather) Saturday and we walk past the White House. Spring is starting to appear with blossoms and bulbs showing their stuff. Once again many squirrels delight my eye. We take in the Washington Monument, the WWII memorial, the Reflecting Pool. Overhear a white American woman who was slightly pink and was rolling up her trouser legs saying "Hold on folks, I am suffering from heat exhaustion,.
Over the next few days we fit in a visit to the Capitol. You need to get a ticket for entry at the tent for this. It is free, and our 10.30am arrival gave us a 3.30pm admission. Read the prohibited list carefully. If you are carrying a packed lunch or drinks you will not be able to take them in with you. Eat & drink your fruit and water and dispose of the bottles as they are not allowed in either. If you want to see the galleries or chambers you need to visit your local senators office to get an invite issued for that section. If you are from overseas you will need to show your passport at the ticket issuing tent to get a pass.
On visiting the toilets in the Science and Technologies Museum we noticed through the front doors a parade was going past.
Those riding on the floats throw sweets or metalic coloured strings of beads mostly green, to the crowds. The beads are the same sort of things that they throw at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Tantrums occasionally break out in the younger age groups when they consistently fail to add to their bootee! After the parade we walk to an Irish Pub and have some Guiness and listen to some mediocre live music.
Next day we continue exploring the National Museum of Space and Flight, the American Indian Museum, the National Art Gallery. We see paintings by major masters like Goya, Degas, Turner, Constable, Van Gough, Davinci and an exhibition of works by Cezanne. We find the Metro has a station close to the Motel and pre-purchase a day ticket for it. If one travels after 9.30am and before 3.30 pm or after about 7pm the fare is cheaper. Our ticket costs us about $2.70 each day. On our walk back from the Metro to the Motel one evening we ask at a bottle shop if there are internet facilities nearby. The Indian owner said there wasn't but I could use his for 10 minutes. He was so sweet and I had to come in round the counter and use the computer there. I got a long e-mail from my London friend with instructions on how to find her house from Heathrow if our flight was delayed. The bottle shop owner had piles of banknotes counted under the counter as he seemed to be getting the banking ready so although he wasn't standing over me he trusted me and we chatted about London and India and he gave us useful tips about both countries.
Our final day in North America. We packed up for travel by air, putting our cutlery and sharps in our bags to be checked in. With a little research we found that we could get the Metro to a choice of two stations, then wait for a 5A Express bus to Dulles Airport for a cost of $3. This was preferable to the $60 taxi fare we had been quoted! The Express bus needed a luggage space but otherwise it was popular and very efficient. We were very early for our check in but had no alternative we could think of with 2 suitcases and 3 backpacks. On checking in with British Airways the clerk told us the flight was overful and she would give us an upgrade! Probably the only time we will ever fly anything other than Economy so we were delighted!!! I am very excited as we are going to my homeland and it is only the second time I have been back in 36 years.
England here we come!