I am checking in to start writing this morning as I wanted to share with you the pretty view that we woke to - snow! See photos above, not too much that it stopped us from moving about, but enough to cover the ground, it truly was a pretty sight. It seems we are leaving New York City in time before the snow storms kick in, they are anticipating -11 degree Celsius temperatures, high winds and snow storms! So while I did wish for snow, I am glad we only got sprinklings of it as it really would have affected us getting around and seeing the sights.
I am writing to you on our Amtrack train journey from NYC to Washington DC, at the moment we are going through Edison, New Jersey and watching the pretty pale blue, pink and green clap board houses as we travel by that remind me yet again that we are in the United States of America!
I am not sure how we will go in Washington though, tomorrow we they are also expecting minus crazy temperatures (-11 or 12 I think), we will be checking out of our hotel at 10am and not flying out until 4.30pm so I am hoping that we can hide in the National Air and Space or other museum and that it isn't too hard to get around. Also that flights aren't affected - as San Francisco will seem like a tropical paradise compared to what we have had thus far.
James, the owner of our San Francisco apartment just emailed me this: "Weather here is absolutely ideal for this time of year. We are in one of those periodic California droughts. We get them every seven years or so. We have had almost no rain since April and the forecast from here again is for clear days over the next week. It's mild, sunny and beautiful... so your timing is perfect. In fact, the garden still has many plants blooming that don't normally bloom this late in the season!"
So that sounds pretty enticing to me!
Update you later on seeing the White House and bumping into Barack Obama at Bens chilli bowl! Am very excited......
I LOVE WASHINGTON DC!
We arrived at Washington station and a red cap (Amtrack baggage help) helped us navigate the station, found us a cab and helped with our luggage - it was worth every penny of our $10 tip (amount our choice). Then we stepped out if the gorgeous and huge station. We were greeted with a view of the the Capitol building and other pretty sights it was glorious - and quiet compared to NYC. The tween said - no beeping horns!
It is a very different city to NYC, the streets are wider, the buildings range from old to modern, the old buildings are gigantic! it is quite georgian in some places, there are many pretty areas.
We checked into our hotel - the Holiday Inn - Washington Capitol - C street (see photo above bottom right of our view) had a quick bite and then went to explore. First stop, the White House!
Now we are in a new city we needed to get our bearings and location and find out where to go...... thank goodness for google maps! We walked to the metro and caught NY's equivalent of the subway to the nearest stop to the White House and headed our destination...... we only made a couple of wrong turns, we have learnt when Hubby says go this way we probably should walk in the opposite direction.
As we walked up to the fence it began to rain ice..... no kidding it wasn't rain or snow, it was ice, but not hail.... small ice drops. There we were standing in front of the White House in Washington DC - are you kidding me! We walked around the block to see the back where the oval office is, while it was all fenced off you could see it fine. Then it began to snow, soft wafting snow flakes, could this picture be more perfect!
I did look for the first family, but they must have been inside out of the ice/rain/snow.
The national monument was across a park and parallel to the back of the White House, so we walked across the large park area to the monument, this was going to be our last stop as a mix of rain/ice/snow kicked in again. But, then we saw the Lincoln memorial.
The sun was setting, but this glowing, large imposing building, with the reflecting pool running along the length of the grounds - was across the way and we just had to see it up close (cue whinging child.......The tween was cold). But we pushed on. We had a toilet stop in a nearby building, It was the Organisations of American States, we were the only ones in this grand building, the security guard was keen for us to wander through and we are glad we did, it had some great history and we could get warm. See photo's below.
As we got closer, the statue of Abraham Lincoln became larger and more impressive.
We arrived at the top of the stairs and it began to snow heavily, it was magical. Now those of you who know me know how much I love the Sydney Opera House, it holds a special place in my heart and there isn't much else that makes my heart sing like being at and around the Opera House. Well I now have another place that caused the same reaction, this place was beautiful, the lighting was magical and the statue itself is an amazing piece of art, what a brilliant structure.
We took the elevator to the lower level where there was a museum that gave the story of Lincoln and shared information about Martin Luther King and his I have a dream speech. Now I feel very passionately about MLK and what he did to challenge apartheid, to support equality despite race, this was also a teenage obsession of mine. Being in the area where he gave this life changing speech for so many was pretty special, but while we were in the museum, we became aware that the steps were inscribed where he stood when he gave his speech, we missed it in the snow. So back out we went and found it, I have to say, what a moment to stand in that spot, some emotion certainly stirred for me. The tween did a project on MLK and he too was keen to stand on that very spot, he also proudly informed his brothers of the significant role MLK had in history.
As we stood there the snow fell heavier, I am pretty sure we were the only ones joyous about this.......... we walked to find a cab, it was chilly and wet and the metro was looking further away than we hoped.
Off to Ben's Chilli Bowl, an iconic food joint in DC, many key people and celebrities past and current have eaten here, Bill Cosby, Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and many many more. I read about this place and not long after saw it on Man vs Food, since then Teen 2 has been counting down the days to eat there. We had chilli cheese fries, smoky chilli hot dogs, chilli subs, pina colada, pineapple, vanilla and banana milkshakes. Man it was spicy and not much was left over.
Back to the hotel by taxi, by this point snow was covering cars, parks, trees and plants. We feel so lucky right now.
Tomorrow , the Capitol building, if time Arlington cemetary and the National Air and space museum, before we move on to San Francisco.