4 Hours in Washington DC

Washington Travel Blog

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Hundreds of Flags that were planted to represent oil independence.

Washington DC is very close to where I've lived my entire life and I still haven't seen everything there is to do there. I decided that I would do some solo traveling for the very first time and see as much as I could for the short four hours that I was there. The plan was to see as many monuments as possible and stay outdoors since it was only 80 degrees F! Lately it's been around 95 so it was a huge advantage for all the walking I was about to do.

Washington DC is impossible to park there for the day as all the "suits" are working during the day and parking is expensive in parking garages. This is why many commuters use the Metro which is a subway that takes you from Virginia to DC and to Maryland. I was dropped off at the Vienna Metro stop (so that I wouldn't have to pay the parking fee) and bought an all day Metro ride pass.

Typical DC street
It was $9.00 and was the cheapest option there was.

I jumped on the metro and waiting for it to take off. I had to make sure that I didn't sit backwards for the fear of getting nauseous. Unfortunately the train took off and I was facing backwards. What a great start! All the seats were taken and I could have stood up but after 2 stops I finally managed to grab a seat and off I was on my solo adventure.

I got off at the Smithsonian stop and immediately saw the very tip of the Washington Monument peaking out from above the tall office buildings. I decided to head off in that direction. For those of you not familiar with DC the Washington Monument is right in the center of all the monuments. As I walked up towards the monument I was amazed at the massive size of it.
WWII Memorial
I had never realized how large it was and tall.

From the Washington Monument you can see from afar distance the White House, Capital, WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial. Although the WWII Memorial is a couple years old I've never seen it so I headed off towards it and the Lincoln Memorial.

As I approached it I could already tell that I liked it with its fountains spraying high in the air and columns representing every state (along with some territories which I found very cool). At first glance the memorial seems very simple but you can spend awhile there as you discover the little details that were everywhere. There were about 20 different wall sculptures displaying different phases of the war including soldiers about to jump out of a plane, storming normandy, and being welcomed back home from loved ones.
WWII memorial


The two different sides of the oval represented the Pacific and Atlantic theaters or campaigns and different fountains had carvings of the different places such as Okinawa and Japan. The fountains were nice as a little mist from the wind cooled me off as I headed towards the Lincoln Memorial.

Unfortunately there was a giant chain linked fence surrounding the reflecting pool so no one could enter. Usually this is open for people to walk right near it but they were setting up for the big 4th of July celebration that takes place at the mall in Washington DC. I had to take a different route and as I was walking there was a long line of people that looked like they were peaking through this dark fence.
Lincoln Memorial
I thought to myself that they must be having some wildlife from the national zoo there or something. I would later find out just how clueless I really was.

I finally had made it to the Lincoln Memorial and the first thought again was.... WOW this is huge too! I could not believe the size I didn't remember it being so dominating and it reminded me of the old temples of Zeus. I wondered to myself at what the size comparison the Lincoln Memorial would have on those old Athens temples. The view from the Lincoln Memorial is incredible and you can look down the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument and in the very back a speck of the Capitol. I stood at the top and thought about what it must have been like for Martin Luther King Jr to have the entire reflecting pool area crammed with people giving his speech.
Steps of the Lincoln Memorial


Inside the Lincoln memorial everyone was waiting to take pictures with the giant statue of Abraham Lincoln but I decided to walk to the far sides. I was amazed to find carved into the unbelievably tall walls writings of his speeches and addresses. Another part that most people would miss. As I walked out of the building down the steps I could hear the exact words that I had been thinking to myself when looking over the reflection pool, "I have a dream that one day this nation shall rise up." On the steps there was what looked like a tour-guide with a boom box playing the famous speech. Most people for some reason were staring at the boom box but I turned around and faced the reflecting pool as it played. It was a very cool moment.

At this point it was about 1:15 pm and I got a call from my younger brother who has an intern job in the city to have lunch with him during his lunch break.
Vietnam Memorial
He wanted to meet at 2 and I knew I'd have to really hurry to make it all the way to the office building area of the city again. So this time I walked as quickly as possible until I came to the group of people who I thought were looking through a fence at something. Stupid me then realized it was the Vietnam Memorial and I headed in the direction again. I had always seen the reflective wall but never thought it was as reflective as it appeared in photographs. I was wrong! I quickly went through it and felt bad for not taking more time.

I walked back to the Washington Monument, headed up 14th Street and walked in the true city part of DC. I felt really out of place as all the tourist with their backpacks had vanished and I was in a sea of all suits and very professional business attire.
city street looking at the Capitol
Not a single person had anything else on. It was a hike up to his office and he described where to stop as "Keep walking until you see weird colorful fat people dancing statues." Sure enough I eventually found them and they couldn't have been described better.

We ate lunch at Italian Gourmet Subs I think it was called and ordered up a special called the "Ben Franklin." The Ben Franklin was a turkey sub with bacon, lettuce, tomatoe, and mayo. The reason for the turkey association with Benjamin Franklin (for those unaware of USA history) he wanted the national animal to be a turkey and not the bald eagle. We had his 30 minute lunch break and then parted ways for my hike back to the Mall.

At this point my legs were tired of all the walking and I thought about visiting a museum but instead looked on a map and saw a Botanical sculpure garden.
Smithsonian
I figured it would be a nice place to relax and sit down. Little did I know that it was so far away I wouldn't even have a chance to sit. I walked towards the Capitol where the sculpture garden was supposed to be and there were tents set up and a stage being constructed for the 4th of July festivities. I could only imagine the amount of people that would be sitting on the lawn of the Mall in just a few days.

I finally walked towards the Smithsonian Building which was right next to the sculpture garden. The building is one of my favorites because of the red-ish stone that is used in it's construction and the architecture is very unique, almost like a cathedral. I snapped a few shots and entered the sculpture garden. The building in the center is a very large circular building which is shaped like a donut.
Sculpture Garden donut shaped building
The big hole in the middle lets in plenty of light and a large fountain cooled me off yet again with the breeze. The sculpture garden was a big disappointment as there were only about 5 total statues.

I had to rush back to the Metro to meet up again with my brother to ride home so it was a long hike back to near his office building and I was so tired. I had seen a lot of things in such a short period of time. I know that I even forgot to mention so many areas that I had skimmed by and it was truly difficult to keep walking back and forth. If you plan on visiting Washington DC make sure that you spend more than a day here I didn't even go into the many museums that are all free of admission. I hope to make another trip to experience everything I missed within the month! Thanks for taking the time to read my travel and if you have any questions or if this was helpful let me know.
Sculpture Garden


I apologize for the darkness of the photographs but for some reason my camera on my phone made it look like it was about to rain. It was a beautiful day, however, and I'll put up more pictures later!!

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Hundreds of Flags that were plante…
Hundreds of Flags that were plant…
Typical DC street
Typical DC street
WWII Memorial
WWII Memorial
WWII memorial
WWII memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Steps of the Lincoln Memorial
Steps of the Lincoln Memorial
Vietnam Memorial
Vietnam Memorial
city street looking at the Capitol
city street looking at the Capitol
Smithsonian
Smithsonian
Sculpture Garden donut shaped buil…
Sculpture Garden donut shaped bui…
Sculpture Garden
Sculpture Garden
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
WWII memorial
WWII memorial
Old post office building (I think)
Old post office building (I think)
Smithsonian
Smithsonian
Smithsonian
Smithsonian
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photo by: b93sp