We've only had one and a bit days in DC and already have walked a total of about 15 miles (or 24km) around the city! Unlike New York the subway system isn't as extensive or conveniently close to our hotel, so we've been deciding to just walk everywhere, with pretty tiring consequences... but it's all grist for the mill, especially as Yosemite isn't far away now.
Last night when we arrived from New York it was already about 7pm, as soon as we got into the room it was a relief to see that the lack of space restriction meant we could actually walk around without tripping over ourselves! And finally some free in-room wifi too. Unfortunately laundry service prices were still astronomical (US$3 for a pair of socks, US$8 for one pair of pants) so this morning we had to find another laundromat, but that worked out okay.
Dinner was at a tapas bar called Jaleo which was packed, we had to wait for a table but it was worth it because everything was delicious! Afterwards we decided to take a look at some of the monuments in the dark, first we went up to Capitol Hill, and then all the way down to the Washington Monument, which was actually quite a walk... we also intended to have a look at the White House at night but it was so well hidden behind the trees (and we didn't really know at the time where to look) that we missed it entirely. By the time we got back to the hotel it was about midnight and we were exhausted, little did we know how much further we would walk the following day...
The following day (today) first thing we did was drop off the laundry, and also grab some breakfast - I tried cheese and grits for the first time, which to be honest was a bit bland by itself, but I'm still glad I got to try it... it was raining pretty miserably the entire time, so we headed into the Smithsonian's Air & Space museum. It was packed (especially with school groups) but still worth the visit, it was funny to see how they had hastily corrected all the Pluto references in the Solar System exhibition, everything was in need of a bit of an update really! But probably the coolest thing was seeing things like the actual propeller from the first Wright brothers' plane, actual things used by astronauts in the Apollo mission, and I also touched an actual rock from the moon (worn smooth by many visitors past)!
After we finished we were pleasantly surprised that it'd cleared up outside, and was actually quite balmy. It was time to collect our laundry so we did that, dropped it back off at the hotel, and then headed back out with better directions to find the White House. We managed to snap photos from both the rear and the front, and then went to look at the Lincoln, FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and Jefferson Memorials.
Overall, I've been very impressed by how well the neo-classical architecture (as James informed me) has been executed in DC, the wide expanses and grand monuments are a complete contrast from NY, and reminds me a lot of Vienna. Also, it was cool to see the famous speeches from the various presidents carved into their monuments, even though we weren't American, a lot of it is still universally relevant, especially seeing FDR's quotes and today's wars and economic crisis.
Tomorrow we'll look at the Natural History part of the Smithsonian and probably just take it a bit easier, given how much we've already done in DC.