The Desperate Housewife actually ‘does’ Washington
The funny thing about living in the ‘burbs is that, whilst I’ve been to Washington, I’d not yet actually ‘done’ Washington in the tourism sense, but that was rectified this fine Spring Break/Easter weekend.
When you go anywhere here everyone (Brits and Americans) tells you enthusiastically where they think you should go and check out, and it’s all extremely welcome, but I knew that I definitely, absolutely, above all, and in the most shallow way possible, wanted to see the bit from Forrest Gump when Jenny runs across the Reflecting Pool to him as he’s giving his speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
Yep, that’s what I wanted to see (and possibly re-enact with the help of my other half, but he was having none of it).
So, what did I make of Washington?
1. I like cities and cultural stuff
This visit certainly confirmed for me that I get a kick out of being in a city. I like that there is lots of stuff to do and see and lots of people to people-watch.
And we saw all types of tourists and Americans on our trail round the nation’s capital. From trendy loafer-wearing, Gucci bag holding lovelies, to masses of hippy families picnicking with hummus and a dog on a string (they were not having these two things together, you understand – I imagine they would have been vegetarian and therefore using breadsticks or cucumber as a dipper, not the dog).
The capital was buzzing and the atmosphere rocked. It was kind of like being at a festival 🙂
2. Everything looks so much nicer when the sun shines
I’m not really into trees and stuff, but everyone had gone on about the cherry blossom and yes, I confess, it looks mighty pretty.
The sun shining on a Spring day is what made Washington sparkle for us. The annual Kite Festival happened to be on this very weekend, so we were treated to a spectacle in the air. It was bloomin’ marvellous to see.
3. The political stuff was hard to stomach
I was delighted to see political protesters outside the Capitol Building – what would they be protesting about I wondered with glee? But, to be honest I found it pretty hard to get my head round, especially given that they were using kids to get their message across, and some of the visual stuff was fairly graphic (you have been warned).
Make your own judgements….
4. The White House is not where I thought it would be
For some reason, I thought it would be elsewhere in the city, and not kind of plonked where it is, which is in between two roads and a car park. I think I need to go back and have another look, and perhaps go round the back and knock on the door, because I didn’t really get as good as a nose at it as I had hoped. Michelle had obviously been busy all day setting up for the Easter Egg thing they do every year:
“On Monday April 1, 2013, the First Family will host the 135th annual White House Easter Egg Roll. This year, more than 35,000 people from all 50 states will be joining us on the South Lawn for games, stories, and, of course, the traditional egg roll.
In addition to all the fun and games, the day’s activities — which will include sports courts and cooking demonstrations — will help educate families on smart ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise choices into their daily routines, which are key pillars of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative.”
Hoorah for the FLOTUS!
5. 50 topless men running definitely gets my attention
What with all the kites and stuff to look at, I was delightfully distracted by this random group of shirtless men running through the park. I have no idea who they were, but it was an awesome, magical sight that has in no way increased my overall enjoyment of Washington…. 😉
And so on to Alexandria. Again, I’d heard good things. The historic centre of Alexandria is known as Old Town. With its plethora of boutiques, restaurants, antique shops and theaters, it is a major draw for tourists just like little old me.
And I liked it an awful lot. It is very different from where I live, and this made me acknowledge that I do, in fact, only know such a small part of America in my current neighbourhood and there is so, so much more to see. With cobbled streets, amusing street theatre and al fresco eating, Alexandria struck a chord with me. I will be back for more.
FYI, if you come to visit me, I will be taking you to Alexandria, so be prepared.
The only thing is….how many friggin’ Irish bars?
That said, we enjoyed an Easter champagne brunch in one of them, and very smart it was too. In fact, everyone here is very, very smart I thought to myself as I chowed down on a fried egg and scone (yes, really). Then it dawned on me…Easter Sunday ….. church…. Sunday best…….
Oh well, another glass of fizzy pop please! 🙂