Washington D.C.September 9th to 12th, 2014
Pierre Charles L'Enfant - artist, engineer, architect, Freemason, soldier, designer of cities. A Parisian who at the age of 23 abandoned his studies at the Louvre and embarked upon a sea journey in 1777 to join General Lafayette on the side of the rebels in the American Civil War.
His design of the capitol city was basically followed, but changed by later, less visionary, architect Andrew Ellicott. Nevertheless, the layout is the best by far of any US city that we have visited, and there is definite French influence in the buildings closer to Georgetown.
|Somewhere close to Georgetown, near or on Pennsylvania Avenue|
Occult Conspiracy TheoryThere's always going to be someone out there with nothing better to do....
|No really - an upside down pentagon? Its only a man-made drawing, all the idiots out there!|
Of Heights and skiesD.C. (the name is District of Columbia, and was nicknamed Washington DC when Georgetown was merged with it in 1871). Because there is a height restriction on buildings to the height of a fire truck ladder (about 1894), there are no skyscrapers....very very nice!
So you do see lots of sky, and open spaces.
Of Monuments and Statues, Museums and Memorials
|Seen from the boat trip on the Potomac...lots of memorials, statues and monuments adorn the city.|
Moving AboutWe stayed at the Avenue Suites, which are large, open plan suites that have a kitchenette and a sitting room. They are on Pennsylvania Avenue, close to Georgetown, and so one can walk to the White House.
There is a Big Bus stop nearby so we bought a two day ticket with a night tour and a boat trip thrown in.
|Russ enjoying the boat trip - cool on a hot day|
The DC Big Bus, hop-on hop-off, is a good option, having extensive routes and lots of stops that take in the major areas for monuments, museums, galleries, notable buildings, etc.
|Waiting for a change of bus at Union Station (which is also a good place to visit, with an attractive interior), I found myself doodling a decorative concrete eagle on a ledge on the building.|
|Cafe du Parc is close to the White House|
|100, Constitution Avenue - the Capitol Building is where the US Congress meets.|
1963...."I have a Dream"Martin Luther King, Jr made his speech from the Lincoln Memorial. The memorial was built only in the early 20th century, by the way.
|French was a very well known American sculptor, and this is an impressive work.|
The view from the Lincoln Memorial across the reflecting pool towards the Washington Monument is rather lovely, and of course is only too well known.
|Perhaps not the greatest sketch - I tried to show the memorial to WW2 below where the two large flags are flying....one for the Pacific and one for the European theatre of war.|
|The Jefferson Memorial|
The Anniversary of 9/11
We went to Arlington Cemetery, and it was a pretty hot day - hoping to see the silent drill that the marines did last time we were there. Unfortunately despite a long and very hot trek to the monument there was only the changing of the guard and some kids laying a wreath. The silent drill is done elsewhere these days.
We did hear rifle shots and a Last Post, however. Did you know that there are ladies called the Arlington Ladies, about 65 of them, who ensure (since the Vietnam War) that no member of the Armed Forces is ever buried alone.
At one of our bus stop waits, I did this sketch of the Monument, with all the surrounding flags at half mast.
We walked to the Museum of the American Indian, which was not very crowded at all, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
|Having met wolves in Colorado, I can see why they are so highly regarded...|
one learns not from Wolf, but from Spirit Wolf
|The bus stop was right outside, and we waited to carry on and connect with the night tour - |
once again a sketch opportunity.
|The night tour guide - as with most US guides, whenever the words "famous" or "celebrity" are mentioned, a film star or film celebrity's name will follow...even in Washington DC!|
We started with the White House at night.
|And here I am, looking surprised at the protests? Oddly enough we were not invited in for a drink, but Barack was probably busy thinking about ISIS.|
|The Korean Memorial, showing army, air force and navy statues in a sort of jungly setting.|
Of course this included South Africa (the Flying Cheetahs, who flew P51 Mustangs attached to the USAF Fighter-Bomber wing, and earned the US Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary service despite severe losses).
Nevertheless, the UN would possibly not have got involved if the USA had not sent arms and also navy and air support...in 1950 the US was very powerful indeed, so soon after WW2.
Well you can hardly tell Americans that they had been the aggressor and in contradiction of the UN charter, can you? And how about the fact that the war is not over? No peace was ever signed. Hmmm!
The night tour included a great many more memorials such as the Roosevelt one, Martin Luther King Jr, Vietnam, and so on.
It was a very worthwhile tour, I thought.
Lunch with Crissy & Going HomeWe were by now very very pleased to be packing for our return journey home, after five weeks away.
We were all packed up and had arranged to meet Carolyn's daughter Crissy for an early lunch. It was a lovely lunch and Crissy is a delightful person - warm, intelligent and caring. After lunch she drove us to the airport - Dulles, which is about 45 minutes from where we were - and then we simply relaxed till our flight was called and we boarded for Johannesburg.
Once again Dakar was a challenge. The Captain advised that we would have a slight delay as one of the tyres was reading lower than regulation pressure, so the ground engineers (or whatever passes for them in Dakar) were bringing up nitrogen cylinders to restore acceptable pressures.
After a somewhat lengthy pause, the Captain, sounding a bit too mirthful for my liking, announced that the nitrogen cylinders having been found to have less nitrogen in them than the tyres, more nitrogen cylinders were being requisitioned with great urgency from the suppliers.
We eventually took off, and somehow the crew made up the lost time....I suppose they're used to it.
Flying east is worse for jet lag. We arrived, John met us, and we enjoyed a good ol' braai before going to bed and sleeping till morning. We drove home to White River and an ecstatic Vixie, my wire fox terrier.
Home again.....time to start sketching again, and to get my wildlife creative ideas stimulated once again. Unlike statues and buildings, wildlife does not wait for one......